How Accounting Students Guided Social Media Breakfast to Nonprofit Status

The process of applying for nonprofit status is a long and tedious one that involves a ton of paperwork. The Governmental and Not-For-Profit Accounting class at Globe University-Madison West recently lent a hand to Social Media Breakfast Madison with helping them become an official 501c3 nonprofit organization.

The project was a perfect match. “When Emily [Olson, accounting program chair,] approached me with the idea in involving the students in this project, I thought it was a great idea because of course one of our tenets is education through networking,” said Tony Rodriguez, co-manager of Social Media Breakfast Madison.  “So if we have an opportunity to help someone learn by helping us, that’s great and we can help them in return. Since they wanted to help us out and in exchange learn something, we just thought that was a great match.”

Accounting degree

The Governmental and Not-For-Profit Accounting class, made up of accounting students (from left) Jacob Dischler, Denise Henrich and Tracy Hanson, along with Kristen Tranmal, instructor, conducted a breakdown of Social Media Breakfasts’s expenses for a year.

Social Media Breakfast Madison is a nonprofit volunteer-run organization with a focus on social media. Their networking events promote education and sharing information for all aspects of the social media field.

For their part, the students completed a balance sheet for a full year’s worth of bank transactions and completed a Form 1023. The process became a challenge when they discovered they had to reconstruct 2012 transactions.

Jacob Dischler, student in the accounting program, explained.  “[The Internal Revenue Service] wanted a full year’s balance sheet for the 1023. We only had partials for 2013, so we had to go back to 2012 [bank statements] and create that full year they wanted. We took all the transactions that happened throughout that year and built a balance sheet.”

“I think the most challenging was classifying everything,” reflected Tracy Hanson, accounting student. “Because at one point in the year, they switched treasurers, so some things we noticed started being labeled differently. There were a couple of transactions that based on the amounts we determined that the category was wrong so we changed them. Otherwise, filling out the form was easy!”

Accounting instructor Kristen Tranmal felt the project was a great learning experience for the class. “The students seemed to enjoy it and it gave them a perspective that tied what they are learning into the tax classes they’ve taken as well.”

“It was kind of a different angle of how we study in class,” Jacob added.  “In class, we studied how to create the financial statements and regulations and how to conduct an audit. This project focused on the IRS and the taxes side of it—what constitutes the non-profit to go through financial statements, IRS regulations and how they determine a non-profit organization.”

Do you have a knack for numbers? Be sure to check out our accounting program at Globe University-Madison West.