Questions answered, relationships fostered at RISCPA

Several years ago, when regulations for 403(b) tax sheltered annuity plans were modified to expand the financial statement audit and tax filing requirements, Bob Mastrofino, Director of Finance at the Westerly-based Frank Olean Center, needed to learn more and knew where to call.

“After reading about the new regulations, I contacted RISCPA to seek some clarification regarding the changes,” he said.  “The staff at RISCPA has always been a pleasure to speak to and immediately referred me to a key member of the not-for-profit committee.”

As a member of RISCPA since the early 1980s, Mastrofino’s telephone call pushed him to become even more active in the Society.  Later, while attending a RISCPA seminar, Mastrofino met the person who had helped him with his tax questions.

“Needless to say, it wasn’t long until I became a member of the not-for-profit committee,” he said.  “The organization has a wonderful group of intelligent and experienced committee members who are always willing to help others.”

Mastrofino says that the key to success can be found in teamwork.  Whether it is the staff at the Frank Olean Center, the agency’s Board of Directors, or a helpful voice at RISCPA, traversing a challenging fiscal terrain is easier with help from others.  He also appreciates his three-decade relationship with RISCPA as it mirrors the loyalty and trust he has found in his employer, the Frank Olean Center.  The center is a not-for-profit with 170 full and part-time workers who serve individuals of all ages with developmental disabilities.

A CPA for nearly 35 years, Mastrofino found his way to the Frank Olean Center through one of his clients.

“A client happened to be on the center’s Board of Directors and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their records and possibly provide some accounting and consulting services,” he said.  “I didn’t know much about the agency 30 years ago, but after learning more about the special work they provided to the developmentally disabled, I decided to accept.  Little did I know that 20 years later I would leave public accounting to become the center’s full-time Finance Director.”

Today, during a sluggish economy, the not-for-profit arena is filled with financial challenges.  

“Maintaining financial stability has always been a struggle for small not-for-profit agencies like ours, especially during the last several years,” said Mastrofino.  “It takes a strong and coordinated team effort to survive and endure difficult times.”

Resilience is necessary for operating such an agency and also the reason Mastrofino has been able to build his long career there.
“As I spent more time at the center, I began to realize what the late Frank Olean and the entire staff already knew… that the people they served were very special and an important part of our society,” he said.  “Their lives and their struggles are true examples of perseverance and resiliency.  For many of them, every day brings new challenges, yet they face them with a smile.  They are an inspiration for the rest of us and as I tell all of my friends, they have done much more for me personally than I could ever hope to do for them.”