Quick Tips: Mountain Meetings, ASU Compliance

Meet in the Mountains

Mountain meetings: fresh air, fabulous views and fun activities. All of it helps inspire creativity and collaboration — and a beautiful destination doesn’t hurt attendance! During snow season, of course, ski-centric locations come at a premium. Off-season, however, deals abound — as do some stellar activities that don’t require a ton of accessories or added baggage in the form of cold-weather clothing. Hiking, geocaching scavenger hunts, al fresco cocktail mixers with resplendent mountain views and choice meals at the town’s best restaurants.

So, what factors go into the most sensible choices? Cost. Accessibility. Things to do.

Read on for a few choice selections!

Park City, Utah

It’s an easy jaunt from the Salt Lake City airport to Park City, about 35 minutes’ drive on a picturesque section of I-80. What’s more, once in town, savvy planners and attendees on their own can utilize Park City’s free local transit system. Biodiesel buses – hello, green meeting! – zip around town with regularity, moving between venues including Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain and Utah Olympic Park. A free trolley makes exploration of historic Main Street a breeze.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

A 33-minute drive from the airport lands your attendees at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where multiple meeting spaces within the property ensure planners all the space they need to facilitate productivity with a host of venues that allow attendees to transition from work to play without missing a beat. Case in point, Nick Wilson’s Cowboy Café at the base of the tram, can accommodate 125 people for a buffet while the Rendezvous Lodge, at the top of the Bridger Gondola, has space for up to 500. Of course, this region is known for amazing hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing and more – but Via Ferrata is the newest item on the outdoor menu. Attendees with a sense of adventure (and no fear of heights) can enjoy guided walks on suspended bridges just south of Grand Teton National Park.

Asheville, North Carolina

You don’t need the staggeringly steep mountains of the west to knock the socks off your attendees. Asheville’s location in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are rolling hills by comparison, but green and gorgeous with the same fresh air that inspires fresh thinking. Asheville is a foodie/farm-to-table Mecca, as well, with phenomenal dining venues that can double as meeting space for large groups or executive gatherings. And whether you’re flying into the national or regional airport, it’s just a half hour to magnificent properties like the iconic Biltmore (though meeting-friendly properties are numerous — from boutique offerings to inns to expansive, modern hotels). Off-site venues abound, as well. Planners can bring large and small groups for farm-to-fork outdoor dinners, musical performances, or a fun mixer in a local brewery, and those are just a handful of suggestions.

Tick Tock: Compliance with the ASU – Expenses

It’s been about a year since the Financial Accounting Standards Board revised its guidelines with the Accounting Standards Update (ASU). Intended to simplify the process by which nonprofits present their financial statements, the ASU requires improved disclosures with more relevant information about a host of factors, one of which is expenses.

While it’s important to remember that this is just an UPDATE, not a complete overhaul, the minutiae can be daunting. Hopefully, the information below will click some of the ASU puzzle pieces together.

> Simplification. Changes in this policy will reduce the net asset classifications from three to two. Unrestricted net assets will now be considered “net assets without donor restrictions.” Temporarily and permanently restricted net assets will be combined under one heading: “net assets with donor restrictions.”

> New disclosures. One of the issues nonprofits have reported in the past has been confusion regarding liquidity, so a new provision will require disclosures regarding how liquidity is managed; it’s possibly the most difficult part of the new rules and must communicate the availability of financial assets to meet cash needs for general expenditures. The focus is on financial management, and the reporting goes beyond what’s been required in the past.

> Devils in details. All nonprofits will now be required to analyze expenses in both functional and natural classifications (previously, this requirement was reserved for voluntary health and welfare entities). Functional expenses included items such as program or fundraising costs; natural would be items like salaries, employee benefits and supplies. Disclosure of methods used to allocate expenses into these categories will be mandatory as well. Footnotes and supplemental schedules will no longer suffice.

Author Amy Drew Thompson is a meetings and travel writer based in Florida.
Photo credit: Dean Fikar/Shutterstock.com

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