Goals: My goal is two-fold–first, by January 31, 2020, I want to have 15-20 faith and/or nonprofit leaders on board with the CPA concept and second, by December 31, 2019, I want to have further refined our timeline and business plan for a CPA model.
Obstacles: The greatest obstacle to this plan is time. I (and by extension PRC, the organization I run) have the relationships necessary for these conversations. And many of these individuals know understand the need. They may even relate to us through the back office services we provide (bookkeeping, CPA-reviewed financial services, payroll, QuickBooks set-up, website design, and administrative services). But they’re all really busy and so am I.
Additionally, we have a timeline and business plan well underway. We have funders who are interested in helping to fund a pilot project. We have proof of concept because of the back office services we already offer. And we have community partners who are interested in participating. But we’re a small organization that does more than 100 events a year, runs a two-year training program, works with more than 85 churches in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Time goes quickly and balancing all of this work, and the opportunities that routinely come our way, is challenging.
Skills and Knowledge: We’re a pretty nimble and flexible organization with a great team. Breaking down big projects into manageable steps is what we do a lot. And we are an organization that relies on relationships for everything we do so we’re well versed in bringing people together. I am also very grateful for the excellent resources CPA offers as well and we will use those as we continue to work at this project as well.
People: As I’ve mentioned above, we work with over 85 member churches and connect to about 150 churches regularly. Lancaster is a small city so I also know most of the nonprofit leaders in the community and we have a good working relationship.
- Identify 60 local nonprofits to research as potential founding members;
- Perform 20 feasibility/relational interviews to determine the most impactful focus of a Lancaster co-op similar to CPA;
- Recruit 6 leaders from Lancaster nonprofits to establish a co-op Steering Team;
- Select and enroll 20 Lancaster County nonprofits as founding members of the co-op;
- Continue to refine our pitch to funders; and
- Continue to refine our business plan and rollout timeline.
RS: Thanks everyone your comments and thoughts. Apologies for the delay in responding. I had a sinus headache much of the weekend and looking at a screen was a bit overwhelming. After reading through your comments, I am wondering if I should have titled this post: “Is Kate Ready for a CPA?”
I am, but I also realize that I’m navigating an abundance of riches right now and it can be harder to navigate that than when, five years ago, I couldn’t get anyone to return my phone calls.
While I think we’re well on our way, I appreciate, Felipe, your comments about defining what sets our bookkeeping services apart. It’s a good question and one that we can articulate, but it’s helpful to remember that we should.
Paul, your comments were generous and kind and right on target. I shared them with the important people in my life and they were in full agreement. Thank you! I think a personal goal for me, after reading through your comments is to continue to build in time for Sabbath, to regroup and have the space to consider this all.