PRC’s New Shared CFO

Posted by: Mary Kate Ranii on September 6, 2017

PRC has partnered with four local environmental non-profits to establish a Shared Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position, beginning in September 2017. This “resource-sharing position” will enable PRC and the other non-profits to improve organizational reporting and transparancy, as well as financial management capabilities and strategic financial planning.

“In a City where the not for profit community provides so many critical resources, it is imperative that this work takes advantage of opportunities to realize efficiencies. The shared CFO model is designed to provide significant financial expertise to a broad group of organizations and in a structure which maximizes the new resource while minimizing the cost to each organization,” Justin Stockdale, Western Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, said. “These five organizations will each become stronger as we collaborate in employment of this executive level financial resource.”

PRC, Allegheny Land Trust, Hollow Oak Land Trust, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, and Venture Outdoors have hired Karen Wood, CPA, to fill the role of Shared CFO. Wood will be working alongside each organization to manage finances and growth.

“We wanted to ensure the shared CFO could have the time and focus to be able to intimately understand each nonprofit’s mission and to align financial management capabilities in support of those goals.,” Venture Outdoors Executive Director Joey-Linn Ulrich said. “Many of us have used for-hire intermittent services or consultants that don’t quite meet our goals or strategic financial planning that we can get through this program.”

This shared CFO position was modeled after two other successful shared CFO collaboratives in Pittsburgh–The Environmental Finance Collaborative and The Arts Finance Cohort.

Wood is a Pennsylvania licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPA’s. She has worked for the past nine years with Ruzomberka Holland Renk Smith (RHRS), a full-service accounting firm based in Franklin Park. In her position with RHRS, Karen specialized in all aspects of nonprofit accounting and consulting, accounting software consulting and support, bookkeeping support and client care, and payroll and sales taxes, in addition to providing tax, accounting and attest services.

“I am honored to be part of this highly respected team of organizations, who put forth such enormous efforts every day to make our region and state a better place to live for all of us. In over 30 years of working with nonprofits, I am all too  familiar with the common paradox that small to mid-sized organizations face, of complicated finances paired with tiny administrative budgets. The result is that most of these organizations operate without the kind of support they need to be able to stay on top of a complicated web of operating finances, complex accounting rules, and agency regulations,” Wood said. “I look forward to helping each organization improve their efficiency, gain valuable insights on the costs and benefits of their programs, and access more useful information for budgeting, management and oversight.” The goals for the position are to increase the efficiency, planning, performance and reporting capabilities of each organization to ensure ongoing financial sustainability and ability to achieve mission related goals.

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