Helping nonprofits stay financially strong

Chris Carmona has built his business on helping nonprofit organizations with their accounting needs. Along the way, he’s developed a passion for serving San Antonio nonprofits as a board member and is now giving back as an SVPSA partner.

Carmona is a CPA and the co-owner of Schriver Carmona, an accounting and advisory firm. He and his partner Derek Schriver began the business when they teamed up to acquire a tax and bookkeeping practice in 2010.

In addition to working with businesses, one of their specialties is providing audits for nonprofit organizations. Initially, focusing on nonprofits was a way to grow the auditing side of the firm’s practice.

“It was really a way to start building a name for ourselves in the audit space, because I knew that as a small firm, we could offer a price point that made sense for nonprofits,” Carmona said.

Since then, the firm has developed a reputation in the nonprofit world for both accounting expertise and a passion for service. A few years ago, Carmona was the only person at the firm that served on a board. Today, several team members volunteer on local nonprofit boards.

“It’s what we thrive on,” Carmona said. “It really has become such an area of focus for us that our team members have bought into serving those that serve.” 

While he had volunteered for nonprofits before, Carmona’s first experience on a board was with Guide Dogs of Texas. It sparked his enthusiasm for serving causes he’s passionate about, including education.

Carmona recently became chair of the regional board of KIPP Texas, a public charter school, after serving as treasurer and on the finance committee. As chair, his goal is to grow the regional board to better focus on advocacy, community outreach and fundraising.

“Our leadership at KIPP is unbelievable. It’s second to none,” he said.

Carmona joined SVPSA last year after learning about the organization from people in his professional network. Today he serves on the finance and recruitment and retention committees.

“Just knowing all these great people that want to help nonprofits thrive and become viable in all they do, I knew I had to get involved,” he said.  

In one of his first experiences as an SVP partner, he and other experts from Schriver Carmona participated in a training session for the SVPSA Fellowship program, assisting in a cohort on capacity building for nonprofits. Carmona and his team met with nonprofit executives to look through their IRS form 990s and offer tips.

“That gave us our first opportunity as a firm to see the great work that SVP is doing,” he said. “I like SVP’s focus on building nonprofits not only by recruiting strong boards, but also by maintaining sound financials and viability for future growth.”

Carmona appreciates SVP’s emphasis on ensuring that both board members and nonprofit leaders have a strong understanding of their organization’s financial status.

“When it comes to financials it’s important to have a treasurer that understands them, but also an executive director and leadership team that understands them,” he said. “All board members should understand them. It’s not just one person who should be responsible for the financials.”

Carmona has some advice for those considering getting involved with a nonprofit organization.

“Start at the committee level,” he said. “There are a lot of wonderful organizations you can get involved with. Look at those nonprofits that have gone through SVP’s fellowship program, because when you start with an organization that’s gone through SVP, you know there’s strong leadership in place.”