A Guide to Accounting for a Nonprofit Organization

A Guide to Accounting for a Nonprofit Organization

bookkeeping for nonprofits: a step-by-step guide to nonprofit accounting

You’ll constantly be checking these balances and reconciling them to more detailed sources or documents prepared by third parties . This book provides an introduction to the arcane world of non-profit bookkeeping (well, any accounting subject is arcane!). Since I am not a professional accountant, I found the book to be very helpful, although most of the material was unfamiliar.

Get started with one of our top business credit card picks of 2022 today. Internal controls act as a system of “checks and balances” for staff, board members, and outside vendors. First is a general-purpose bookkeeping for nonprofits financial report used to communicate with the public outside of the organization. The second is a more detailed, internal report used to communicate with departments across the organization.

What is the best accounting software for nonprofits?

Program managers and department heads benefit greatly when they understand why and how to properly record transactions. Their own performance may be reviewed using financial information. They may evaluate personnel and program effectiveness by looking at the numbers, among other factors.

He co-edits Nonprofit Report, a monthly newsletter on nonprofit accounting, taxation, and management. He is coauthor of the three-volume Guide to Audits of Nonprofit Organizations and frequently speaks at professional meetings and consults around the country. For instance, when a nonprofit holds a fundraiser, the money received needs to be tracked separately from other funds. So, if a nonprofit has five active programs for which it regularly obtains funding, it will need to track all income and expenses for each of those programs or funds separately.


Very useful for those who need to learn, well, the basics of double entry accounting. Yes, nonprofits should follow GAAP in the same way that for-profits do. Doing so allows your financial documents to be understood pretty much anywhere and is particularly important for lenders, donors and grantors. Find an example below of how to record depreciation in your external financial statements. While there are many methods of depreciation, nonprofits most often use the straight-line method. It is a fairly easy concept to understand as the value of the item is split evenly over the lifetime of the item.

  • If you are a resident of Oregon or Siskiyou County, California,then you may order one copy of this book at NO CHARGE if you provide feedback about it.
  • This statement will look at a certain period and show you how profitable your nonprofit was.
  • It is easy to understand, but I found that I needed to read and reread in order to get the information to stick in my head.
  • I now feel I have a better idea of what tools to implement to have legal, accessible books.
  • Everyone working in nonprofit accounting and finance, including Board members, should have a strong grasp of reading and understanding nonprofit financial statements.
  • Auditors must be independent of the organization, and should report to the board of directors with input from the president or executive director.

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