What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?

Wrongly classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees could result in tax penalties. If a business (including a nonprofit organization) classifies workers as independent contractors, it is not required to pay an employer’s share of FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare), overtime pay, and retirement benefits, or to follow certain federal laws and programs. But a misclassification could result in large fines. The IRS takes the position that a worker is an employee unless the company can prove otherwise.

Determining worker classification is not so easy. In general, the answer depends on the employer’s ability to direct and control the work being performed. If the employer has the ability to control how the work is done, the worker should be classified as an employee. The employer does not have to exercise this ability. Any agreements with an independent contractor should be spelled out in writing.

No single factor determines the classification, but here are some guidelines:


· Follows instructions on how to do the job

· Works regular hours

· Works for one employer

· Can quit at any time

· Paid by the hour

· Uses employer’s tools and equipment

· Reimbursed for expenses

· Continuing relationship exists

Independent Contractor

· Decides when and how to do the job

· Sets own hours

· Works for multiple companies

· Obligated by contract to finish

· Paid by the job

· Provides own tools and equipment

· May work offsite

· Risks losing money on the job

More information about the differences is available from the IRS.

What is the difference between cash basis and accrual basis accounting?

Under the cash method, income is not counted until cash (or a check) is actually received, and expenses are not counted until they are actually paid. Under the accrual method, transactions are counted when a pledge is made or services occur, regardless of when the money is actually received. The cash basis is used by smaller organizations. A business with sales of over $5 million must adopt the accrual basis. Some organizations use a modified accrual basis, operating on a cash basis during the year, but closing the books at the end of the year with an accrual system to project upcoming income and expenses.

 What is risk management?

Risk management is a means of systematically lowering risks of operation. Removing fire hazards such as oily rags is a kind of risk management, as is developing a disaster plan. Good risk management can lower insurance costs.

Copyright: how can you find images to use legally?

If you are looking for images you can use for free in any of your museum activities, there are good resources out there for this. However, you will need to read about copyright issues on all of these. There are ways to find usable images if you know where to look.

Google Images: When you search for images, look for the menu for “Tools.” Then look for the option “usage rights.” Look for images that can be used non-commercially.

Flickr: Use Creative Commons. Internet Archive is a free library of millions of books, movies, software, music, and more.