Who We Work With: Are You a Fit for the Smith + Howard Arts + Culture Team?

November 10, 2022

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If you’re a leader in an arts and culture nonprofit, you’re well aware of the importance of your organization’s financial well being. To ensure things run smoothly, it’s always best to work closely with trusted professionals. That’s true when it comes to your staff but it’s equally important with external advisors. 

From an accounting perspective, tax exempt organizations in the arts and culture industry are fairly complex entities. Your organization has numerous revenue streams that include ticket sales, pledge receivables, special events, special exhibits and much more. You may manage a significant endowment, issue bonds to fund construction projects, conduct activities domestically or internationally with foreign artists, or be a recipient of federal or private foundation funds. 

Successfully navigating all of these complexities requires an accounting firm with a proven track record that specializes in this unique nonprofit subniche. But often, such qualified CPA firms are difficult to find. 

Some arts and culture organizations work with small, local CPA firms. They quickly discover that these firms lack the domain expertise and resources to effectively handle their more complex accounting and tax issues. 

Alternatively, larger arts and culture organizations may turn to national accounting firms but find themselves feeling under-served by these firms.

By working with a well-established accounting firm that has a specialized team of experts, arts + culture organizations can unlock huge financial benefits. 

At Smith and Howard, we serve hundreds of tax exempt organizations. We also provide essential, ongoing advisory services that can elevate your operations, build trust and transparency with your board, and ensure long-term financial success.

But how do you determine if your nonprofit could benefit from working with Smith and Howard? 

In this primer, we’ll answer that question. 

Read on for an overview of a typical client for our team and an explanation of the value arts and culture organizations can realize by working with us.  

Client Profile for the Smith and Howard Arts and Culture Team

One of the great hallmarks of the arts and culture landscape is that no two organizations are the same. Each organization has a unique, meaningful mission and plays a critical role in its community. 

While every arts and cultural nonprofit submits an IRS Form 990 annually, each individual organization has a distinct set of accounting and tax needs. These are driven by a multitude of factors unique to each organization including income streams, financial stability and program activities. 

While no two arts and culture nonprofits are identical, there are some characteristics that are shared by the majority of nonprofits Smith and Howard partner with. 

Smith and Howard is based in Atlanta, GA, and works with nonprofits, including arts and culture organizations throughout the region and the United States.

In recent years, remote audit and tax services have become more common. Accordingly, our team is available to support nonprofits throughout the country.

We work with arts and cultural organizations of various sizes, ranging from $5 million in revenues to over $500 million. Our arts and culture client base includes museums, theaters, ballets, symphonies, botanical gardens, and other nonprofit institutions. 

When Do Clients Reach Out To Us?

When we onboard new clients, we frequently discover that their accounting needs have been under-served. There may be errors within their previous financial statements, missed opportunities to minimize their overall tax burden, or other issues arising from a lack of proactive advice. Leaders often understand their needs aren’t being well-served by their current accounting firm and recognize the need for a strong accounting expert who can diagnose and address complex issues. 

When accounting errors occur, they can be costly. It’s always best to be aware of a problem before it evolves into a major issue. The implications of accounting missteps aren’t just financial, they’re reputational, for both the nonprofit and the prominent individuals that sit on its board. Hiring a specialized nonprofit accounting firm gives board members, donors, and other stakeholders reassurance that the nonprofit’s finances are being managed properly.

The Importance of Specialized Arts and Culture Nonprofit Accountants

Working with an accounting firm with domain expertise in the arts and culture industry can unlock significant value for those organizations. The nonprofit accounting team at Smith and Howard has worked with hundreds of nonprofits and is composed of specialists from each of our service practice areas. This lateral view ensures every member of our team is well-versed in navigating the unique challenges arts and culture organizations face. 

If your leadership team or board has doubts about your current financial position, it’s time to bring in a fresh set of advisors. By working with Smith and Howard, you’ll get access to an expert team with in-depth knowledge of the latest issues and best practices in nonprofit accounting. We are committed to building lasting relationships with our clients and hope to serve as their trusted advisors for years to come. 

Smith and Howard is equipped to assist with a number of different nonprofit accounting needs: from producing audited financial statements, accessing internal controls to preparing annual tax filings. To learn more about working with Smith and Howard’s arts and culture accounting team, contact us today

How can we help?

If you have any questions and would like to connect with a team member please call 404-874-6244 or contact an advisor below.