I’m dedicating this post to all things I’ve encountered regarding not-for-profits since my arrival in Austin. Just to throw some facts and figures at you, Austin has more non-profits per capita in the Southwest U.S. Region, approximately 6,300 in 2009 (that’s about 3.82 nonprofits per 1000 people).
Earlier this semester, I had the pleasure of discovering a wonderful non-profit consulting organization based here in Austin called Greenlights for Nonprofit Success. Each Fall they host the Texas Nonprofit Summit, where members of non-profit organizations all over the state come for a weekend of seminars and spotlighted speakers. At this year’s summit, I met quite a few accountants from firms (such as Padgett Stratemann & Co and PMB Helin Donovan) that serve a large number of non-profits, as well as accountants (some that graduated from the UT Austin MPA program) who now either work for non-profits or sit on their boards.
Representatives from a ton of great organizations that provide resources for non-profits set up booths. For instance, if you’re interested in pro-bono work, you could register for AustinProBono, a start-up service that links up your professional skills with non-profits that could use your expertise.
Recently, I uncovered an issue of Accounting & Public Policy entirely devoted to governmental and not-for-profit accounting, published in 2009 and curated by one of UT’s own faculty members, Professor Granof. The various papers in the issue touch upon topics such as whether rating changes impact contributions to non-profits (as say an S&P rating would for a for-profit firm), if the quality of an audit (firm) affects a non-profit’s reputation, and the reasoning behind a a non-profit organization’s pursuit of ventures that generate taxable income (i.e. through social enterprises). There’s a field study on the subject conducted by Community Wealth Ventures, the Social Enterprise Alliance, and Duke University here if you want to read more. In the foreword of that issue of Accounting & Public Policy, Granof & Baber (co-curator) mention their hope that the articles they gathered might inspire further academic research in the government & non-profit sector. Any interest?
This is all to say, if you’re interested in non-profit or governmental accounting, there’s plenty to pursue here.