Harrington Group Blog

npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
Halloween is upon us, and as the spooky sounds and creepy costumes come out, maybe trick or treating is not the way for you to celebrate anymore. You can still partake in all the fun, but just in a different way. In the fall there is nothing we love more than snuggling in under warm blankets with some great movies and even better snacks.

You can’t go wrong with any of these classic Halloween movies:
“It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”

“The Addams Family”

“Hocus Pocus”

“Edward Scissorhands”

“The Nightmare Before Christmas"

“Young Frankenstein”


But, what is great movie watching without delicious snacks? We have some fun, festive snack ideas that will make your Halloween movie marathon even better!

The Great White Pumpkin Cheese Ball
2 (10-oz.) blocks extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded*
1 8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 (4-oz.) goat cheese logs, softened
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Braided pretzel, muscadine vine and leaf
Crackers and assorted vegetables

1. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Smooth pumpkin's entire surface with metal spatula or table knife. Make vertical grooves in ball, if desired, using fingertips. Press pretzel into top of cheese ball to resemble a pumpkin stem; place muscadine vine and leaf beside pretzel. Serve with crackers and assorted vegetables.
*Extra-sharp Cheddar cheese may be substituted.
Note: We tested with Cracker Barrel Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese. To make ahead, wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap, without stem, vine, or leaf, and store in refrigerator up to two days. Attach stem, vine, and leaf before serving.

Caramel-Peanut-Popcorn Snack Mix
15 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 cup kernels)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
Wax paper
1 (10.5 oz.) package candy-coated peanut butter pieces (such as Reese's Pieces)

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spread popcorn in an even layer on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined 13- x 18-inch pan. Stir together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Pour over popcorn, and stir gently to coat.
2. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add peanuts during last 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and spread on lightly greased (with cooking spray) wax paper. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Break apart large pieces, and stir in candy pieces. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Red Velvet Cobweb Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
White decorating gel (such as Betty Crocker)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place paper liners in 2 12-cup muffin tins.
2. Make cupcakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, red coloring, vinegar and vanilla. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat until just incorporated.
3. Divide batter evenly among paper liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pans to rack to cool completely.
4. Make frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar and cocoa powder until well combined.
5. Spread chocolate-cream cheese frosting on cupcakes and arrange on a platter in a tight, circular formation. Use decorating gel to pipe concentric circles, starting with small circle in center and getting larger toward outer edge. Starting in center, drag a toothpick through circles, as though you were making spokes on a wheel, to complete large web design.

Hot Spiced Cider
2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup molasses
4 lemon slices, cut in half
12 whole cloves
2 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup lemon juice
Garnishes: cinnamon sticks,lemon wedges, whole cloves

Bring cider and next 4 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves with a slotted spoon; stir in lemon juice. Garnish, if desired.

Of course, classic hot chocolate and a couple bags of regular old Halloween candy would never steer you wrong either.
Wishing you all a happy and safe Halloween weekend!

(All recipes can be found on myrecipes.com)
npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
We are looking forward hosting a free Pension Symposium next Wednesday, October 28. The symposium is presented by the United States Department of Labor, so we want give them an introduction here.

The mission of the United States Department of Labor is, “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”

As a branch of the Department of Labor, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) acts to support this larger mission. The EBSA “is committed to educating and assisting the 143 million workers, retirees and their families covered by approximately 681,000 private retirement plans, 2.3 million health plans, and similar numbers of other welfare benefit plans holding approximately $8.7 trillion in assets; as well as plan sponsors and members of the employee benefits community. EBSA balances proactive enforcement with compliance assistance and works diligently to provide quality assistance to plan participants and beneficiaries. It is the policy of EBSA to provide the highest quality of service to its customers.” In short, they act in support of those who will need to be knowledgeable about retirement and the pathways to properly get there.

“EBSA's goal in providing direct assistance is to raise the knowledge level of plan participants and beneficiaries, plan sponsors, service providers and other interested parties and to ensure that they have access to available plan documents filed with the Department of Labor.

This enables participants to better understand and exercise their rights under the law and, when possible, to recover any benefits to which they may be entitled. This also allows plan administrators and practitioners the opportunity to better understand and comply with the law.”

The EBSA believes that, “getting it right means understanding your plan and your responsibilities, carefully selecting and monitoring service providers, making contributions on time, providing appropriate disclosures to plan participants and filing annual reports to the government on time, and avoiding prohibited transactions.”

(All information taken from the Department of Labor website. Find more information at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/aboutebsa/main.html)
npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
Here is the most up to date information on our upcoming symposium!

Sponsored by the Pasadena Federal Credit Union, and together with the United States Department of Labor, Harrington Group will present a Pension Symposium.

Find all the details below.

Click the "Pension Symposium - Sign Up Info" link in the top right corner of this webpage to reserve your seat, as availability is limited! You can also contact Jason Stelling with any questions by email at info@npocpas.com or by phone at 626.403.6801.

We look forward to seeing you all
npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
Harrington Group is happy to announce we will be hosting a Pension Symposium, on October 28, 2015.
Please see below for details. Email info@npocpas.com to reserve your spot now, as space is limited.

We can't wait to see you all then.
npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
Harrington Group is proud to announce the success of another Non- Profit Symposium! Managing Partner, Tonetta Conner hosted the symposium on August 6th, at our Pasadena Offices.


She discussed:

The impact of the New Uniform Guidance (Single Audit)
Increased focus on financial viability
Update on the proposed new financial statement reporting model

Thank you so much to all who attended! We are so happy to be a source of knowledge and to get to share our work and passion with such a wonderful community of individuals and organizations. We are grateful to you for all the work you do, and allowing us to be a part of it all.
npocpas1 by npocpas1 @

npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
Congratulations to our new Audit Manager, Oswaldo (Ozzie) Torres, CPA & our Senior Auditor, Vincent Rodriguez, CPA on earning the prestigious honor of becoming licensed CPAs.  

Becoming a CPA is a challenging journey, we applaud your determination, perseverance and dedication

Oswaldo Torres, CPA
Audit Manager

Vincent Rodriguez, CPA
Senior Auditor

npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
There is still time to sign up! You don't want to miss this!

We are pleased to announce our very own Harrington Group Partner, Tonetta Conner, will be hosting an NPO, Accounting and Auditing Update Symposium at our Pasadena offices.

234 Colorado Boulevard
Suite M150
Pasadena, CA 91101


Thursday, August 6, 2015
8:30AM - 10:30AM
Registration at 8AM

She will be discussing:
The impact of the New Uniform Guidance (Single Audit)
Increased focus on financial viability
Update on the proposed new financial statement reporting model

Attendance is FREE but space is limited so reserve your spot today!
There will be a complimentary continental breakfast & raffle for a prize!

If you are unable to attend, there will be a free Webinar the following day.

Friday August 7, 2015
10AM - 11:30AM

Click the following link to register for the webinar. After registration you will receive a confirmation email and more information about joining the webinar.

If you have questions please contact Jason Stelling at info@npocpas.com or (626)403-6801
npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
Coming up in August, Harrington Group will be hosting an NPO Accounting and Auditing Symposium at our Pasadena offices. Our very own Managing Partner, Tonetta Conner will be hosting and speaking. Get to know her a little bit better by reading her bio, below.

Tonetta L. Conner brings more than fifteen years of experience in private and public accounting to the Harrington Group clients she serves.  Tonetta’s passion to become an accountant started at the age of fifteen. She credits her first accounting course in high school where she managed and prepared “mock” corporate books as her first exposure to the field, and where she began her thirst to want to help others manage their business operations. This thirst led her to major in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Accounting, at the University of California, Berkeley, and then later became a licensed CPA.

Early in her career, Tonetta worked as a Controller for a design-build firm and then as an accountant at a Los Angeles based CPA firm. Tonetta joined Harrington Group in June 1997. It was then that she was able to combine her passion for accounting with the wonderful opportunity to serve nonprofit organizations.  Over her many years with the firm, she has drawn upon her extensive experience to provide accounting, auditing, tax, and management advisory services to the firm’s clients. A knowledgeable professional, Tonetta has developed her expertise in working with a range of nonprofit organizations—from privately funded community organizations, mental health agencies, foster care organizations to private and charter schools. Tonetta truly believes in the focus of the firm to be “a trusted nonprofit partner.”

As a partner who embraces and enjoys public speaking/teaching, Tonetta has shared her insights as a speaker at the California CPA Education Foundation’s Nonprofit Organizations Conference and as a speaker for CompassPoint on nonprofit finance.  Tonetta is often the speaker at the firm’s “NPO Symposiums” which are hosted quarterly on a variety of nonprofit topics and she provides tailored nonprofit management training to the Boards of her clients.
Tonetta is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA). She also holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation from the AICPA.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Tonetta enjoys spending time with her family, attending sporting events and traveling the world. Those who know her well would say she is a “daredevil” and a “world traveler”, which are truly supported by her many traveling adventures—ziplining over the rainforest in Costa Rica, bungee jumping in Australia, driving an amphibian dune buggy through the Dominican Republic, and being up close and personal with “big game” on safari in Africa.  Tonetta loves to travel the world not just for the adventure, but also for cultural enlightenment. “We live in a society made of up people from various backgrounds and cultures. Seeking to know more about other cultures is to embrace that fact.”

It is clear that those attending Harrington Group's upcoming Symposium will be in wonderful, very knowledgeable hands. Please continue reading, and a few posts down, you will find all the information you need to know about the symposium, including date, location and time. We look forward to seeing you there!
npocpas1 by npocpas1 @
Here at Harrington Group we are lucky to work with some amazing organizations and truly wonderful people. While we often highlight our terrific clients, in this post, we want to turn the spotlight on two of our very own fantastic, hard-working, employees: Kien Hong and Ozzie Torres.
These two gentlemen, through their years of hard work and dedication have recently earned promotions. As we think rather highly of them, we thought you would enjoy getting to know them a little better as well.

Kien was born in Saigon, Vietnam and grew up in Los Angeles. While times were hard in Vietnam, he grew up viewing life as an abundance of opportunities. Influenced by his father's strong drive and work ethic, working hard has never been seen as a burden. His father instilled in him that the opportunity to work, even when it may be stressful, is much preferable to the stress of not having  a job.
Growing up Kien had dreams of being an astronomer or an oceanographer, yet always imagined wearing a suit and tie into work while carrying his briefcase. He went on to study Business Economics at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), with a minor in Accounting. His sister, who is an accountant, helped to steer him towards a career in accounting. He started working as a teacher's aide while attending UCLA, and has since held jobs at various accounting firms in Southern California.
Kien came to Harrington Group because he felt his experience would be a great fit and there were opportunities for success and growth. After more than two years as a member of the Harrington Group team we are proud to announce that Kien has been promoted to Audit Manager.
When he isn't working hard at the office, Kien enjoys traveling with his wife, fishing and visiting the gardens and art exhibits at the Huntington Library with his 2 daughters.
Ozzie was born in Mexico City before his family moved to Los Angeles. He grew up in the city of Bell, where he attended the local high school and lettered in basketball. He says, "Basketball taught me the importance of team-work, being disciplined and sparked my competitive drive." He remembers spending a lot of time at the local park working on his basketball skills, and also, cutting his friend's hair. This hobby of cutting hair turned into a business.  As his number of clients grew, Ozzie's father recommended he study up on accounting, lending Ozzie a book from the class he was currently taking. Ozzie took a liking to accounting high school, but simply as a way to effectively manage the money in his business properly, not yet as a career option. He had his heart set on being a sports agent.
His parents and siblings were, and still are a large influence in his life. His parents always encouraged him to work hard and follow his dreams. As for his siblings, he wanted to be an example to them, that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. After his interest in high school, Ozzie found his way back to accounting with an introductory accounting class. He was looking for career options that would open the doors to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and allow him to work in the investigation of individuals for money laundering, kidnapping, firearms or narcotics. He saw accounting as a great opportunity. Ozzie studied Business Administration at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), with an option in Accounting.
Before joining the Harrington Group team, more than 5 years ago, Ozzie assisted in civil engineers studies of traffic accidents, as well as working at another CPA firm. Ozzie cited the connection to the non-profit world as one aspect that drew him to Harrington Group, as well as the people he gets to work with. We could not be happier to announce that Ozzie has recently been promoted to Audit Manager.
Outside the office Ozzie enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children, as well as his parents and siblings. He loves getting outside and hitting the trails on his mountain bike and still enjoys playing basketball, finding time every week to spend on the court.
We are so proud to count these wonderful men as assets to our Harrington Group team. They both spoke of their co-workers and the Harrington Group partners with such respect and admiration. Ken and Ozzie, the feelings are mutual. We are so appreciative of all the work you do, going above and beyond for Harrington Group. We can't wait to see you excel in these new leadership positions!
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