Finances matter

by Jini Stolk

The deficit has become our artistic director, according to one Creative Trust member from the early days of Working Capital for the Arts: dictating choice of play, number of actors, design decisions, weeks of rehearsal and more. And for many of us, “Cash flow…cash flow…cash flow!”, co-founder (and former Tapestry Music Theatre General Manager and Producer) Claire Hopkinson’s cry from the heart when asked about why Creative Trust was necessary, resonated deeply.

Creative Trust companies have come a long way since then, having developed their financial skills, eliminated deficits and built working capital reserve funds. But we should all cheer the launch of a made-in-Canada website on financial matters and management in the arts. Heather Young of Young Associates (and Creative Trust’s Finance Manager) draws upon her extensive experience with doing the books for music, theatre and dance companies for her new website

Among the highlights, all offered with Heather’s typical generosity and thoroughness, are the Tips of the Day, an extensive Glossary of financial terms and some great Tip Sheets on Financial Management, Bookkeeping, and Database Management. Current Tip Sheets include:

Ten Tips for Analysing Your Organization’s Operating Statements
Ten Tips for Drafting Your Annual Budget
Ten Tips for Better Financial Planning
Ten Tips for Analysing Your Organization’s Balance Sheet
Ten Tips for Managing Your Bookkeeper
Ten Tips on Being a Better Bookkeeper for Smaller Organizations
Summary of a Simple Bookkeeping System
Ten Tips for Making Clear Connections Between your Database and Financial Software

A Discussion Board offers space for venting, sharing and asking questions on topics such as the controversial Charity Intelligence article in the Nov. 15 Toronto Star, and Policies and Procedures on Gift Certificate Programs.

What a great resource, and I dare you to try to find anything as useful and interesting on the topic from anywhere else in the world.

Just in from TechSoup Canada: They now have QuickBooks Premier 2012,  and Sage Simply Accounting Premium 2012 available for qualified nonprofits and charities.

And don’t forget Finance for the Arts in Canada by Heather C. Young – a unique Canadian reference guide, self-study resource and textbook for the accounting and financial management functions in not-for-profit cultural organizations, available through

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