Nonprofit Accounting The Definitive Guide

by | Bookkeeping

how to do bookkeeping for nonprofits

It’s important that you’re using a bookkeeper and accountant who have experience preparing financial statements for nonprofit organizations. If you do something incorrectly, it could have a damaging effect on your organization. These rules ensure that all businesses use the same methodology for financial reporting. To stay organized and on top of your nonprofit’s bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities, complete tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, quarterly, and yearly. Keep necessary financial information up-to-date so you’re prepared to submit paperwork to the government and to the people involved in your nonprofit organization who plan your budget. Fully customizable, QuickBooks Online Plus and QuickBooks Online Advanced help you track budgets by programs or funds in real-time.

Should nonprofits use cash or accrual accounting?

Accrual basis accounting is the more accurate accounting method because it matches revenues with expenses in the same period in which they occurred. PRO TIP: Most very small nonprofits operate on a cash basis because it is easier to understand and requires less accounting experience.

Of course, you can always generate financial statements manually, but this takes a lot of time and skill. Fund accounting requires specific software to make sure everything is organized and easy to work with. That’s why we’ll get your nonprofit set up with Quickbooks Online’s fund accounting solution in order to store and report on all of your nonprofit accounting information. This nonprofit accounting statement breaks down the operating, financing, and investing activities to show how cash moves at the organization.

Have a Separate Bank Account

All expenditures, charity, payments, and other financial information are recorded by bookkeepers in an orderly software platform or worksheet. Just because your organization bookkeeping for nonprofits qualifies to become a tax-exempt nonprofit does not mean that taxes never need to be paid. Employees of your company are still responsible for employment taxes.

It has an impressive suite of core features including billing and invoicing, collections, cash management, fixed asset management, and even payroll capabilities. Essentially, this statement will organize and categorize your expenses and revenue sources. This report also allows your organization to analyze the changes in your net assets throughout the year. Define the specific activities on which you’ll be spending nonprofit funds.

Learn how to record in-kind donations

Then, return to your annual budget and make updates according to your actual expenses and revenue results from these shorter initiatives. Meanwhile, nonprofit accounting is the process of compiling reports and analyzing key information to inform strategic decisions. Many auditors prefer to help you with this calculation, but you will make nonprofit bookkeeping easier for yourself and your team if you keep a record of the fixed assets you purchase or dispose of. But if you’ve ever had an audit, you may have noticed that the auditors don’t spend much time with your income and expense accounts. Sure, they want to know about contributions of $5,000 and above, and they’ll pay more attention to restricted or government grants. If you are like many other nonprofit bookkeeping specialists, you think about your Statement of Activities when asked about financial reports. This is also known as the Income Statement, or Profit and Loss.

  • In most cases, it’s better to let your accounting software or a bookkeeper take care of this step for you.
  • GrowthForce accounting services provided through an alliance with SK CPA, PLLC.
  • Most nonprofits know that they’re supposed to keep track of monetary donations.
  • An understanding of accepting and documenting in-kind donations.
  • Designating a person and a place to be in charge of money is probably the single most important place to start, and is often overlooked!
  • How do you know the amounts shown on the Statement of Position are correct?

Bank reconciliation is the process of ensuring an organization’s records (balance sheet, general ledger account, cash flow, etc.) are accurate. A nonprofit reconciles bank accounts by comparing the recorded amounts to the amounts on bank statements. You always have access to your financial records and can switch to a nonprofit accounting software only subscription at any point with a 30-day notice if you decide to manage the books yourself. For those new to accounting software, Intacct provides training options for all accounting knowledge levels as well as phone and email support services.

The Basics of Nonprofit Fund Tracking

You can easily see how your nonprofit uses the funding it receives from fundraising, grant seeking, and other revenue streams by analyzing this statement. When you reconcile your bank accounts, all you’re doing is comparing each transaction from your bank statement with the ones you have in your books. We recommend doing a bank reconciliation at least once a month to make sure your books are up to date and accurate, to help track cash flow, to prevent fraud and to detect bank errors. Set up automatic reports to be created and emailed to colleagues, board members, and donors. With QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Advanced, you can Instantly review the statement of financial position, the statement of financial activities to budget, actual reports, and more. Send your donors yearly donation statement with thank you letters attached.

how to do bookkeeping for nonprofits

Manage e-commerce New Grow your product-based business with an all-in-one-platform. Compare to other software See how we compare with other financial solutions.

Create an Operating Budget

Find out how much it costs to use a payroll company and how it… Jennifer Dublino contributed to the reporting and writing of this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article. Internal controls act as a system of “checks and balances” for staff, board members, and outside vendors. The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.

how to do bookkeeping for nonprofits

Instead, nonprofits leverage a statement of financial position. Instead of identifying these assets with the intention of distributing them to stockholders, they are intended to be reinvested into the nonprofit. However, accounting https://www.bookstime.com/ is a key element to changing the world through a nonprofit organization. Nonprofit organizations need effective and accurate accounting principles in order to make the best use of their limited resources and fulfill their mission.


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