Mike Pocrnich is an accomplished accounting professional with a robust career spanning over two decades, primarily focused on non-profit accounting, auditing, and financial analysis. Residing in the Minneapolis metro area with his family and a cherished dog named June, Mike has intertwined his passion for the great outdoors with a dedication to financial excellence. His academic roots are firmly planted in Minnesota, with a BA in Accounting from St. John’s University.

Professionally, Mike commenced his journey as a Senior Auditor at CliftonLarsonAllen, where he honed his skills in managing non-profit audits and developing internal controls, along with training junior staff and delivering financial presentations to leadership teams. His expertise in financial forecasting, reporting, and analysis is complemented by a strong technological proficiency across various ERP and CRM software as well as the Microsoft suite.

Mike’s tenure at Element Financial Advisory, where he serves as a Finance Manager, further showcases his versatility. He manages a diverse portfolio of clients, providing contracted CFO and Controller services to government and non-profit entities, developing financial forecasts, and navigating the complexities of state and federal grant management.

His previous role as Controller at Beltz, Kes, Darling & Associates (now BerganKDV) echoes similar responsibilities, with an added focus on leading annual audits and facilitating financing for clients.

With a professional skill set that encompasses staff management and client relations, coupled with a high emotional IQ and exceptional communication abilities, Mike stands out as a customer service expert. His personal skills fortify his professional capabilities, as he adeptly manages accounts payable, payroll, and financial compliance, ensuring his team operates at peak efficiency.

Mike Pocrnich’s career is a testament to his dedication to providing expert accounting and analytical skills in collaborative environments. With a track record of using GAAP, FASB, GASB, and other accounting principles daily for the past two decades, Mike’s seasoned perspective and leadership in finance make him a valuable asset to any organization seeking to enhance their financial strategy and operations.

Could you share a bit about your journey in the accounting industry and the areas you specialize in?

Absolutely. I’ve been immersed in the accounting industry since 2002, providing a range of accounting services to diverse clients, including non-profits, professional service firms, and governmental agencies. My expertise spans audit, internal control design, financial analysis, budget development, and financial benchmarking.

What drove your focus towards non-profit accounting and financial management?

My interest in helping organizations fulfill their missions propelled me towards non-profit accounting. I find the unique challenges and opportunities in this sector both compelling and meaningful.

How has your educational background and professional experiences prepared you for your current role as a Finance Manager at Element Financial Advisory?

I pursued my education at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, majoring in accounting with a minor in business management. My early career roles, including Senior Auditor and Controller positions, equipped me with the necessary skills in financial management, audit preparation, and client service. These experiences laid a solid foundation for my current responsibilities at Element Financial Advisory.

Your volunteer work is noteworthy, especially with the Animal Humane Society and immigrant families. Can you delve into what drives your commitment to volunteering?

Volunteering is deeply ingrained in my values. I’ve dedicated time to the Animal Humane Society and supported immigrant families, including sponsoring a Syrian family. Additionally, I regularly sponsor animals through Happy Tails Rescue. Giving back to both animals and communities aligns with my ethos of compassion and service.

What are some of the main financial planning and budgeting challenges non-profits encounter, and how do you address them professionally?

Non-profits often grapple with funding variability and financial constraints, posing significant challenges in financial planning and budgeting. I stress the importance of flexibility, foresight, and accuracy in budgeting. Through comprehensive budgeting frameworks, rolling budgets, and scenario planning, non-profits can adapt to changing circumstances and optimize financial resilience.

Could you elaborate on the concept of rolling budgets and their benefits for non-profits?

Rolling budgets offer non-profits a dynamic approach to financial planning beyond the conventional annual cycle. By continuously updating budgets based on actual performance and new projections, organizations can maintain agility and responsiveness. This approach enables timely decision-making, enhancing financial stability and mission effectiveness.

What role do internal controls play in non-profit financial management, and how do you ensure their efficacy?

Internal controls are vital for safeguarding assets, ensuring accurate financial reporting, and regulatory compliance. I emphasize principles such as segregation of duties, clear policies, stringent access controls, ongoing monitoring, and proactive management oversight. Adhering to these principles strengthens internal control systems and mitigates risks effectively.

How do you approach audit preparation, and what are key considerations for organizations undergoing audits?

Audit preparation is pivotal for a smooth and successful audit process. I prioritize documentation, reconciliation, access to information, internal reviews, inventory checks, compliance, financial statements, and communication. Proactive addressing of these considerations streamlines audits and underscores organizational transparency and accountability.

What advice would you offer non-profits seeking to enhance their financial practices and oversight?

I advocate prioritizing financial transparency, accuracy, and strategic planning. By establishing robust budgeting frameworks, implementing effective internal controls, and actively engaging in audit preparation, organizations can fortify financial practices and oversight. Cultivating a culture of accountability and continual improvement fosters sustainability and mission success.

What inspires you to continue your work in non-profit financial management, and what aspirations do you hold for the future?

I’m driven by the opportunity to make a positive impact and support organizations in achieving their missions. In the future, I aim to leverage my expertise to empower non-profits to thrive financially, serve their communities effectively, and drive meaningful change. Through advocacy for best practices and innovation, I envision a brighter future for non-profits and the communities they serve.


Connect With Mike Pocrnich: