Based on the title of today’s AICPA Not-for-Profit Conference session – Poll the CFOs – it promised to be educational and entertaining. And, it certainly delivered on that promise.

One of the most interesting questions asked by an audience member was, “What will CFOs be spending their time doing in the next year?” Here’s a quick-and-dirty synopsis of panel members’ answers …

“We’re going global. So, what will it mean when we get there? We’re in 69 countries now – moving into places like China and Indonesia, where all the laws around nonprofits are changing right now – so globalization is consuming a lot of our energy.

“We’re also spending a lot of time on investment management in what will likely be a very volatile year.

“And, we’re focused on diversity. Specifically, we’re very interested in capturing the younger demographic.”

Steve Howell, The Nature Conservancy

“We are on the cusp of major updates on standards that govern nonprofit accounting. We will see significant change in presentation formats, among other things, and will have our hands full dealing with it all.

“We’re also in a constant tug of war, managing and balancing how we allocate resources against the needs of the organization.

“On the diversity front: We still have work to do in terms of composition of the workforce. I see two sides to this: the recruitment side and retention side. You can recruit a diverse workforce, but I’m hearing from many people in the sector who are having experiences that leave them feeling less than included. So, once you a have a diverse workforce, you need to consider, ‘How do we create a climate that makes everyone feel included?’”

Michael Forster, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

“The cost of providing higher education to students – whether you’re a public or private institution – is under constant attack. Many believe if you have an endowment, why on earth are you charging tuition? So, cost containment is going to engulf us for the next few years.

“And, any organization that has children or young adults under their care, it’s a big, big deal. We take Title IX very seriously. We’re constantly trying to identify risks and work hard to mitigate those risks.”

John Kroll, The University of Chicago