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Turning to Strategy after the Audit: A Calendar of Activities

Andrew Schwalm Andrew Schwalm

When audit season comes around for your nonprofit, the focus on fiscal compliance can consume lots of energy and attention. But after the audit is as good a time as any to sit down and review the other year-round processes that deserve your attention. These processes can make the next audit smoother, but, more importantly, they’re central to successfully executing your organization’s strategy and delivering on the promise of your mission.

It can, of course, be difficult to pivot from a compliance mindset to engaging in fiscal planning and strategy. But the consequences of failing to do so can be dire. To help nonprofits make that shift, FMA staff huddled together and distilled our collective experience into a streamlined and easily accessible calendar for keeping track of your critical fiscal management activities throughout the year. This free Excel workbook can be downloaded from and customized with your organization’s fiscal year via the drop-down list in the upper right corner.

The first tab in the workbook explains how to use the calendar, while the second tab gathers all of the details from each of the critical areas you’ll want to take note of: Internal Reporting, External Reporting, Preparing for the Annual Audit, and Developing a Budget. If your fiscal year ended December 31st, for example, now is the time to prepare and circulate your first quarter operating results to the Finance/Audit committee of your board.

The calendar also answers such questions as:

  • When should I be engaging the audit firm for next year?
  • When should senior management see a draft budget?
  • When is my Form 990 due?
  • When is the right time to review my annual insurance coverage?

Download the Fiscal Management Activities calendar and take a look at where your organization should be right now and what’s coming up in the next quarter. It’s just one of more than 60 incredibly useful tools and guides for nonprofits collected at

The preceding is a guest post by Andrew Schwalm, who leads Marketing and Communications for FMA. FMA, a new GuideStar Exchange benefits partner, provides fiscal consulting, outsourcing and professional development training to nonprofits and their staff nationwide. Learn more at

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