Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional remembrances.
Julie Floch, a leader in nonprofit accounting and finance, died on Friday after a years-long battle with cancer. Floch was the partner in charge of accounting and consulting at EisnerAmper’s Not-For-Profit-Services Group and served on the board of a wide array of local and national organizations, helping to shape nonprofit accounting and transparency.
A memorial gathering in Floch’s honor is planned for 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30 at The Princeton Club in New York City. A representative of EisnerAmper declined comment, stating that the group did not feel it appropriate to comment at this time.
Floch’s passing is already being felt within the sector, according to Karin Kunstler Goldman, deputy bureau chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau.
“In the past few days my emailbox has been full of tributes to Julie Floch,” she said. “Most striking has been acknowledgment of her dedication to the nonprofit sector and her support of charity regulators. During the many years I knew Julie I had the good fortune to work with her countless times on educational programs for the nonprofit sector. Her willingness to share her knowledge and time is legendary.”
Floch was a regular speaker at National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) conferences. Her presentations were often the annual conference’s highlight, according to Goldman. Even during her seven-year battle with cancer, Floch wouldn’t miss a meeting or a phone call and never turned down a speaking invitation. “When I saw her about a week before she died, Julie said that she would see me at NASCO this year,” Goldman said. “I’m sure she will be there in spirit.”
She was a board member at Independent Sector, recruited by then-CEO Diana Aviv. Now chief executive officer at Feeding America, Aviv described her as a kind person who will be remembered with admiration and affection. “Julie’s positive view of the world permeated the way she helped others and gave to the charitable sector to make us stronger, more accountable and more effective,” said Aviv. “No deed was too mighty or small for her to undertake.”
Floch served on Independent Sector’s board for four years and chaired the audit committee in 2016, according to current CEO Dan Cardinali. “Julie was a thoughtful and dedicated professional and colleague,” he said in a statement. “Independent Sector, its board, staff, and member constituents all benefited from her leadership and guidance. She had a deep commitment to the charitable sector and we are all lucky to have worked side by side with her.”
Many people in the sector described Floch in similarly superlative terms – noting her kind demeanor, intellect and generosity. Cheryl Olson, CGMA, director of not-for-profit consulting at Clark Nuber and former director of council financial counseling for Girl Scouts of the USA, credited Floch with helping her feel connected within the New York nonprofit community. Floch was one of the first people Olson met through the New York State Society of CPAs after moving to New York City from Portland, Ore., and the two became friends.
“She was always willing to teach, support and empower,” Olson said. “Her friendship, humor, intellect, and just plain awesomeness will be missed.”
Floch, too, made an impression on Chris Cole, senior technical manager at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s (AICPA) Not-for-Profit Section. Floch was one of the first people Cole met upon joining AICPA and “she made an immediate impression on me, and my respect for her only grew overtime,” said Cole.
Floch had formerly served as a member of AICPA’s Not-for-Profit Expert Panel. She was chairing the Not-for-Profit Advisory Council of the AICPA Member Section at the time of her passing and was known for being “caring, conscientious and intelligent,” Cole said.
“Julie Floch was a terrific professional and a wonderful person,” added Jeff Mechanick, assistant director of Nonpublic Entities at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), where Floch served on the Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities Resource Group. “She was always so helpful to her clients and her colleagues in the not-for-profit sector, including the other staff and I at the FASB. We will miss her very much.”
Seth Perlman, senior partner at Perlman and Perlman LLP., knew Floch for 20 years. The two co-chaired a practicing law seminar and would often consult each other regarding various clients. “She was just this petite – always energetic, always smiling, always generous – person,” Perlman said. “She was really one of the nicest people I ever met in my life.”
Among Floch’s greatest contributions to the sector was her work as part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Liaison Committee – helping to develop the new Form 990 to be efficient and not overreaching, according to Perlman.
“Julie was one of the great thought leaders in the nonprofit space,” he said. “She was an accounting professional, but she transcended the accounting profession and was a force in the field of philanthropy.”
Stephen Heintz, president of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, also touted Floch’s leadership and expertise in financial management and her work in improving the health and vitality of the sector. “Her devotion to the sector reflected her exceptional personal qualities – compassion, generosity and profound humanity,” he said. “Throughout the years of her battle with cancer, despite her own needs, she never wavered in her care for others.”
Robert Vanni got to know Floch through his work facilitating the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York’s (NPCCNY) government affairs committee – where Floch served for at least 10 years. She was one of just a few accountants on the committee predominantly made up of lawyers. Vanni recalls Floch being very generous with her time both at NPCCNY and her other groups and causes.
Among Floch’s best skills was her ability to translate complex, sometimes arcane, accounting principles into easily digestible information. Vanni and others would look to Floch to track the statuses of various initiatives and to see what was coming down the pike. “She was a stalwart in the nonprofit community,” he said. “She was a great colleague and, in my case, a great teacher.”
That ability to be engaging while conveying complicated information into simple terms was seen firsthand at The NonProfit Times, where she was also a contributing writer. The NonProfit Times was involved with Professor Burnis Morris, who had a Knight Foundation grant at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. and then Marshall University in Huntington, W.V.
“It was to teach consumer press reporters about charitable financial statements and other issues,” recalls Paul Clolery, vice president and editorial director at NPT Publishing Group. “I somehow talked Julie and Karin Goldman into going to Oxford, Mississippi. The closest major airport is two hours away by car in Memphis, Tennessee. Julie stole the show. Her ability to communicate complicated financial information in a manner anyone would be able to understand was just startling.”
Floch was a graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton and pursued her graduate studies at Baruch College – The City University of New York. In addition to her numerous roles on various nonprofit and accounting boards and committees, Floch was an adjunct professor of auditing at Baruch and previously taught not-for-profit management at The New School in New York City, where she served on the faculty senate.