CFO Services: Ascend Business Services is your Charter School’s Full-Service Chief Financial Officer and more.
Every school needs reliable financial expertise to stay strong. Our team of specialists provides a wide array of services with the unrivaled personal care and attention to details that define our work. As a result, charter school leaders can focus on their central mission educating students and creating thriving learning communities.
Core Financial Services – Ascend provides comprehensive financial services to keep charter schools running efficiently, keeping always compliance and growth front of mind.
Budgeting, Financial Reporting and Forecasting Services
- Ascend works with partner/clients to develop realistic budgets and financial plans that help schools reach their short- and long-term strategic objectives. Once planning is complete, our ongoing financial reporting helps school make sound operational decisions and allows for effective board oversight
- Annual budget development (910B5), including attending hands-on budget-development meetings with stakeholders.
- Budget development for potential new services, such as professional development, as well as charter petition renewals or grant requests.
- Budget revisions as necessary based on approval of NM PED’s State Budget and ongoing monitoring of the state budget.
- Detailed monthly cash-flow forecast.
- Completion and submittal of all financial reporting required by charter school authorizer (including First Interim, Second Interim, Unaudited Actuals and Preliminary Budget)
- Preparation of detailed financial statements and presentation to Finance Committee & Charter School Boards (including Financial Dashboards, Cash Flow Forecast, Financial Analysis, Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flows, Check Register and General Ledger)
- Tracking and presentation of fundraising efforts.
Accounting and Bookkeeping Services
- Ascend provides a full range of valuable accounting services to ensure our partner/client schools maintain accurate, reliable financial data and to safeguard their financial assets.
- Maintenance of school chart of accounts to ensure compliance with the State Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS)
- Using AptaFund accounting system, code and enter journal voucher transactions to enable comprehensive financial reporting.
- Monthly bank statement reconciliation and quarterly reconciliation of remaining balance sheet accounts (including Prepaid Expenditures, Long-Term Deposits, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll Liability, Debt/Loans, and any Other Asset or Liability line items)
- Monthly depreciation and valuation analysis, including valuation updates for property, equipment, furniture and other assets.
- Vendor invoice processing, including payment approval verification, cash flow confirmation and resolution of any discrepancies.
- 1099 tax compliance and completion for all independent contractors.
- Revenue receipt monitoring to ensure schools receive all funds they are due, and collection activities to pursue past-due funding from government agencies.
- Complete audit preparation, including information collection, schedule preparation, assistance with 990 tax return preparation and Audit Committee meetings as needed, Ascend also serves as point of contact with auditors.
- Training of school personnel on recommended accounting and internal control procedures.
Cash Management Services
- Cash is “King” in any organization but certainly so in Charter School environments where monies are tightly disbursed and borrowing of funds are limited if not altogether impossible. Ascend helps client/partners manage cash flow actively and effectively.
- Weekly cash position report development.
- Manage and forecast with consideration to NM State Equalization Guarantee (SEG) allocation.
- Invoice payment timing
- Planning and management of outstanding debt payments
Payroll Processing and Retirement Reporting
- Administering payroll and retirement benefits is often complex. Simultaneously, it is an essential area of business management that must be handled seamlessly. Ascend will manage a wide range of payroll and retirement-related tasks, enabling schools to keep their primary focus on the classroom.
- Complete employee database maintenance, including status updates, new hires and terminations.
- Regular payroll processing for all staff, as well as related tax fillings, garnishments and W-2’s.
- Supplemental check processing for terminations, stipends and bonuses.
- Calculating and reporting of all retirement benefits in compliance with State and Federal requirements.
Compliance and Data Management Services
- Charter schools must comply with detailed and time-consuming reporting requirements to school districts and with NM PED. Ascend will support its client/partners with the burden of management of data compliance.
- Preparation and submittal of STARS school data for the 40th, 80th, 120th and End of Year attendance reports to NM PED.
- Preparation and submittal of a wide variety of funding applications (including Bi-lingual, Special Education, Title I, and other related funding sources)
- Property tax exemption filing, as well as reporting of sales and use tax.
Purchasing and Procurement Services
- Charter schools need purchasing support to keep school’s moving along without disruption. Whether purchase requests are large or small, Ascend will support its client/partners with this effort.
- Will review and submit purchase orders of student materials and supplies using AptaFund’s Web-PR module.
- Charter Schools will have access to AptaFund to create purchase orders as needed.
- Research multiple vendors for major or recurring purchases to seek out best price and terms.