July 16, 2020

What are your Association’s Top financial considerations in the Post-Pandemic World, or in times of hyper-change?

Samuel Gaillard, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Center for Workforce Inclusion and A. Michael Gellman, CPA, CGMA, Faculty, Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy, Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, co-Moderated the peer-to-peer discussion among 40 Association CFO/COOs on July 16, 2020 for the Presidential Forum Roundtable via Zoom Web-conference.

Prior to the event, we conducted an optional survey about labor cost in 2021 among the registered CFO/COO attendees with the question: For planning/budget of 2021, what assumptions do you plan to use for average wage increases (%) and health insurance increases (%).  Most of the responses for 2021 wage increases were between 0% and 3%.  Regarding health insurance cost, most were budgeting 10% increase with a few indicating that there would be no increase or increases as high as 15%.

The peer-to-peer discussion was centered around CFO/COO attendee responses to four(4) main questions shown below:

  1. The 1st full-quarter results since the COVID-19 crisis are now in (April through June)….. compared to your initial expectations back in March – has your Association’s performance been better or worse?  Comment.

Most of those CFO/COOs who addressed this question during the discussion indicated that their association fared better than expected financially.  Some of the reasons were:

  • Pivoting annual conference from in-person to virtual with insurance covering losses.
  • Ability to keep sponsorships even though they went virtual; hotel releasing them of obligation
  • Some were able to get PPP loans or benefit from the Cares Act.
  • Record number of attendees on virtual event format vs. historical in-person

Those associations who fared worse than expected financially cited the following reasons:

  • Loss of revenue in all areas
  • Financial difficulty of members

Several CFOs spoke about their concern that in 2021 the safety net that was in place for 2020 (Cares Act and other) may not be there for the association or its members.

Several CFOs also spoke about communication during the COVID 19 crisis.  They cited the need for more communication with Board and committees and the need for providing more scenario planning

2. Labor has been the key expense and capacity driver – how did you react and adjust, and what are your expectations for the 3rd calendar quarter?

  • one organization mentioned that they had already received a large grant from the Dept. of Labor which helps them financially and also that they did not need PPP.
  • another association mentioned using Cares Act for employee retention credits and payroll tax deferral.
  • some mentioned not replacing headcount when someone retires or quits; instead outsource the work or re-assign internally.
  • one association mentioned that the crisis was an opportunity to restructure their workforce towards skills that are more aligned to their re-defined mission.
  • another association mentioned increased industry reliance on the association made retention of employees a key focus and are instead looking to other expenses like rent for cost recovery.
  • another association said they avoiding furloughs and layoffs as a last resort.

3. How do you see funding being impacted the rest of the calendar year based on actual results experienced since the COVID-19 crisis hit, and what actions are you taking or considering for the next 3, 6 and 12 months?

  • Mike Gellman, our co-moderator, talked about the concept of “metering out” which is the concept of utilizing operating reserves to bridge a crisis but still keeping a large portion of reserves (e.g., 60%) untouched.
  • One association is doing predictive modeling and accessing reserves temporarily to offset reduced member dues and other forms of assistance to members.
  • Overall there is a cross section of associations that is accessing reserves now, while others are trying to avoid touching reserves entirely.
  1. Are you reconsidering changes previously rejected, like work from home permanently for some or all employees, reductions in office space, reductions in expenses, changes to programs or new revenue streams?
  • several associations are looking to cut marginal programs.
  • formation of new programs to help members during crisis, now considering how to monetize this going forward.
  • one association created a Center for Creativity in order to formalize the process for new product development.
  • create more virtual events and monetize
  • phasing out dues discounts

The event sponsor and also subject-matter expert was Jennifer Eubanks, CEO of CPA Department (www.cpadept.com) which is an outsource accounting and tax preparation/planning and consulting firm based in the D. C. Metro area with clients nationwide.  In the non-profit arena one of their main areas of competence is grant accounting and compliance.  They have also helped many of their clients with Care Act benefit access and requirements.  Jennifer was nominated a Top Financial Professional by Northern Virginia Magazine in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020.  She can be reached at jeubanks@cpadept.com.  Phone: (571) 338-2115



CPE Compliance Disclosure:


The onset of COVID-19 has resulted in Associations making key decisions in a time of hyper-change.  The first full quarter post-pandemic results are in. This course will compare expectations to reality to help Financial Executives make critical decisions in a time of uncertainty.


  • Identify  key expenses and what changes you expect to make 3,6, and 12 months out
  • PPP loans and the Cares Act – how they apply to your association
  • When to use Reserves and Level of Reserves to Maintain
  • Creating new revenue streams

INSTRUCTOR(S): Samuel Gaillard, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Center for Workforce Inclusion and A. Michael Gellman, CPA, CGMA, Faculty, Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy, Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership and Jennifer Eubanks, CEO of CPA Department

DELIVERY METHOD: Group live presented online due to COVID-19


LEVEL: Intermediate


PREREQUISITES:  C-Level Management Experience

In accordance with the standards of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, CPE credits have been granted based on a 50-minute hour.

U.S Transactions Corp. (CPE Sponsor ID: 138278) is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.NASBARegistry.org.