When considering all the career options out there, accounting jobs can sometimes seem like they are all about managing money or helping the wealthy get wealthier.
However, accounting is also about maintaining healthy balance sheets to support jobs as well as sustain funding for society’s most challenging social issues. In addition, proper accounting and tax planning support charitable giving.
Think about this. An affordable housing developer needs to finance a new housing community for low-income families. To get enough funding, the organization must show a positive history of strong financial management and effective use of previous funding. There is an entire accounting team behind the scenes making sure that loans and grants are used effectively and reporting on those results.
As an accountant, you help to create financial narratives while supporting management and reporting to lenders, government entities and community stakeholders. That is a very important role for solving societal problems!
Financial Management for Affordable Housing
With an accounting degree, you can explore public accounting firms like LvHJ that offer industry niche services. Our firm has a long history of serving not-for-profits and affordable housing entities. In fact, some of our earliest clients have grown to be national and regional affordable housing developers and successful social and human services entities. We work with local not-for-profits, too.
As part of a niche industry team, you are working behind the scenes, but you are also stewarding the financial management of government and publicly funded projects. If you care about how government and public funds are used to help people, an accounting job can position you to make a difference. For example, you could be an auditor testing not-for-profit internal controls. You will help organizations understand best practices for financial health. As a tax professional or CPA, you may also prepare tax forms and returns to help a not-for-profit maintain its tax-exempt status. Some public accountants also serve on not-for-profit boards to guide financial ideas and goals.
Accounting Standards for Affordable Housing
When new legislation impacts (or benefits) charitable and affordable housing organizations, public accounting advisors help their clients understand the legislation. Related state and national accounting associations also advocate for audit, tax or accounting standards to support easier compliance.
For example, the recent federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2023 offers funding for renewable energy programs and reduction in greenhouse emission initiatives for low-income communities and affordable housing. Once legislation is passed, the specifics of how programs will roll out and how entities will report on their use of funds must be hammered out by policy experts. Affordable housing developers and related entities will need their public accounting advisors to support standards clarity.
In addition, if you like the idea of guiding policy and standards for environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks, then accounting offers a great future. Accounting leaders will navigate and advise on consistent ESG reporting for a variety of businesses and organizations for years to come.
Affordable Housing Advisory and Staff Training
You may be someone who doesn’t like the idea of sitting behind a desk all day. Although an accounting career has some level of home office and/or corporate office hours, schedules and roles are increasingly flexible and advisory in nature. You can spend time meeting with clients, visiting their organizations and delivering staff training on processes and procedures.
Many of the repetitive tasks of accounting are moving toward automation and artificial intelligence solutions. Accountants and auditors will analyze, monitor and guide client needs through conversations, translation of data and staff relations. Opportunities include attending open houses and celebrations for new affordable housing developments or charitable functions. This is part of the job, too!
Of course, if you like the idea of working with numbers all day, that role is still vitally important. Data mining and analytics will help entities make sense of their financial data for relevant and timely decisions and funding. This work will also be essential to protecting the reputations of effective nonprofits and affordable housing entities.
Are you ready to make a difference for the homeless and others in need? View our open CPA jobs and tax accountant jobs, and let us know if you have questions.