nonprofit accounting

Accounting for nonprofits requires professionals to exhibit a certain level of financial accountability to prove how an organization is spending its funds and furthering its cause. While IRS 501 status allows nonprofits to be tax-exempt, they are permitted by law to make a profit. Assets in a nonprofit’s statement of financial position should be labeled according to whether they are restricted ― either by donors or grant conditions ― or unrestricted. Nonprofits run the risk of fraudulent activity if they don’t carefully manage bookkeeping and accounting. Mistakes are often unintentional, arising from a lack of oversight or experience. Volunteers often make up a large part of a nonprofit’s staff and may leave an organization with short notice, which can cause recordkeeping gaps.

  • Hiring a bookkeeper or other professional ensures that someone with training and experience always pays attention to the accounts and may notice something an untrained employee would miss.
  • However, there are a few significant differences that you need to know.
  • Understanding the flow of cash in and out of your nonprofit will help you and your accounting team plan and budget for regularly occurring financial trends.
  • This nonprofit accounting statement breaks down the operating, financing, and investing activities to show how cash moves at the organization.
  • Lastly, the Advanced plan adds to this with income and expense allocations, fixed asset tracking, multi-location management, and more.

Nonprofit accounting is the process of recording, managing, and preparing compliant financial statements for 501 organizations. This includes everything from tracking income and expenses to tax returns to generating financial reports necessary for maintaining tax exempt status. As we mentioned before, nonprofit accounting focuses on the accountability aspect of finances. These restrictions mean that you have to ensure their funds are spent in a way that the supporters approve of.

Learn how to record in-kind donations

For those new to accounting software, Intacct provides training options for all accounting knowledge levels as well as phone and email support services. For example, if a donor restricts their donation to ensure it’s only used to fund that organization’s scholarship fund, that money would be added to a restricted fund set aside for the scholarship.

nonprofit accounting

Nonprofit Plus works with a range of industries and offers additional services including software development, project management, and consulting. This is a comprehensive solution, nonprofit accounting designed for enterprise-level nonprofits. To sustain and enhance mission impact, nonprofit organizations need insight into their organizations’ unique challenges and opportunities.

Financial Edge by Blackbaud

We would be please to offer MNN members a 5% discount on audit, tax, and/or advisory services. Your message has been received and we’ll be reviewing your request shortly. In the meantime, schedule a meeting with us and we’ll be in touch soon. Most for-profit companies can use their revenue however they choose.

However, that paperwork, number crunching, and other tedious tasks come with the territory of running an effective nonprofit organization. One such activity that many nonprofit professionals don’t want to deal with is nonprofit accounting.

Statement of cash flows

Nonprofit accounting provides financial transparency that makes donors feel comfortable and assured that the organization is spending money wisely to further its goals. Additionally, sloppy or inaccurate accounting can lead to problems with the IRS, which include possibly losing nonprofit status, hefty fines, and even criminal charges. If you have a nonprofit organization, working toward making the world a better place is likely your top priority. Nonprofit cash flow statements will refer to “change in net assets” instead of “net income,” and will sometimes list cash flows that are restricted to certain uses. Don’t use your personal bank account to receive, hold or disburse money for your nonprofit. Make sure all of your nonprofit’s transactions go through a dedicated bank account. Ask your bank whether they offer business chequing accounts tailored to nonprofits.

How to do bookkeeping for a nonprofit?

  1. Find a bookkeeping solution.
  2. Hire a bookkeeper that has experience with fund accounting.
  3. Establish a bank account for the nonprofit so you're not mixing personal and business accounts.
  4. Record in-kind donations (goods and services are exchanged rather than money)

The most common periods are paying weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, or monthly. The normal balance of the petty cash account can vary depending on the size of the organization, but $100 is considered to be a normal amount. In general, you do not want the same person handling the everyday cash flow to be in charge of the reconciliation, for ethical reasons. If this cannot be avoided, don’t hesitate to ask a board member for the second pair of eyes. Repeat with checks or any other withdrawals, just be sure to subtract any outstanding checks or withdrawals that are on your list but are not on the bank statement from your balance. In accounting terms, balancing a checkbook translates to “reconciling your accounts” and can either be done manually or by using software to do it for you. Fundraising campaigns, you can end your campaign in the black and amplify programming.