The financial statements of not-for-profit organizations will soon undergo a significant transformation, courtesy of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). As part of its response to stakeholder feedback to improve usefulness and clarity for the not-for-profit reporting model, FASB published Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities, in August 2016. The ASU adjusts financial reporting requirements across a variety of categories to improve consistency and comprehension of the entities that rely on this data, such as grantors, donors and creditors.
This update, which is effective for fiscal years starting after December 15, 2017, contains a broad spectrum of changes. To give nonprofit leaders a better sense of what’s ahead and how they should prepare, we have been breaking out the changes by category in separate blog posts for detailed examination. Previously, we looked at the impact on investment returns and expense reporting, followed by a deep dive into the efforts to simplify net asset classification and reporting. Today, we conclude this blog series by examining how this ASU affects disclosure of liquidity and cash flows.
New disclosures on liquidity and availability of resources
ASU 2016-14 expands the quantity and quality of required information related to a nonprofit’s liquid financial resources. This additional information can help readers of the financial statements understand the limits on how, and during what time frame, the organization’s resources can be used.
In the footnotes of the financial statements, nonprofits must provide qualitative information that communicates how the organization manages its liquid resources available to meet cash needs for general expenditures within one year of the statement of financial position date. Nonprofits can choose to include the quantitative information required by this ASU either on the face of the financials or in the footnotes. Either way, this quantitative data must communicate the availability of financial assets at the statement of financial position date to meet cash needs for general expenditure within one year of the statement of financial position date.
This disclosure must also explain how net asset restrictions affect the availability of financial assets at the date of the statement of financial position to meet short-term financial obligations. Availability may be affected by the nature of the assets, internal limits imposed by the governing board or external limits imposed by donors, grantors, laws and contracts with others.
For example, an organization could comply with this new requirement by explaining in the footnotes that it maintains liquidity by managing its working capital and having available a line of credit with a bank. To support this statement, the organization could include a table (also in the footnotes or as a reference to the face of the financials) that reflects its financial assets as of the statement of financial position dates, reduced by amounts not available for general use due to contractual or donor-imposed restrictions within one year of the statement of financial position date.
Options for statement of cash flows
Nonprofits may continue to choose either the direct or indirect method to report the net amount for operating cash flows on the face of the financial statements. For nonprofits using the direct method, this ASU frees them from the requirement to disclose indirect method reconciliation for operating cash flows. This change in reporting requirement is a small but valuable simplification of data presentation.
Even though this ASU improves and streamlines nonprofit reporting, it still represents a considerable shift from current practice. Ahead of the effective date, nonprofits should invest the time to review and familiarize themselves with this update and how it will impact their current procedures.
RKL’s dedicated team of professionals serving the nonprofit sector are here to help organizations prepare for adoption. Contact Douglas L. Berman, CPA, Not-for-Profit Industry Group Leader, with any questions or for more information.