Proactive Advising Helps Nonprofit Developer Fulfill Their Community Mission

When Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) began working with Lindquist, von Husen & Joyce, LLP (LvHJ) 3 years ago, it wasn’t because they made the choice, but rather because the firm they were with retired their services and selected LvHJ to take over their clients. It’s a fortuitous situation that Karen Gansen, CFO at CCDC, has been very happy about.

“We were incredibly relieved that LvHJ was selected to take over our business,” recounts Gansen. “We were very familiar with their great reputation in the area and the way that they stepped in to provide a very high level of service without missing abeat, was beneficial to our business goals.”

The San Francisco based developer is focused on serving primarily the Chinatown neighborhood and also other areas including North Beach and the Tenderloin. They pride themselves as being not just developers, but also neighborhood advocates, organizers and planners. Their community focus means that working with a CPA firm in the community who understands the local area and people is a critical component in their ability to continue with their mission.

CCDC and Gansen had worked with LvHJ on a couple contracts in the past due to partnership requirements so there was familiarity with the firm and the level of service and advisory capabilities.

Gansen says that working with LvHJ feels like a partnership. They don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to their audits for CCDC. She feels that the CPA firm has been instrumental in keeping the nonprofit development company current on any issues and the latest accounting and tax rules.

Gansen tells of how LvHJ made big improvements in their books. “CCDC hired LvHJ auditors to review their overhead rate and indirect cost rate calculations and offer an opinion.”

CCDC received a recommendation for changing the costs allocation method which has enabled them to recover more of these costs and improve their bottom line.

When CCDC recently revised parts of their internal controls and procedures the advisors at the firm reviewed them and provided comments and recommendations for improvements. Gansen appreciates that “LvHJ is always ready to advise on best practices, even when it falls outside the scope.”

“They really do go above and beyond the call of duty when providing a service,” states Gansen. “Not only do they understand the nonprofit housing industry, they also have a pulse on the local environment and understand who the players are in the community.  Their local involvement is a real value to our organization.”

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