The Basics of Nonprofit Bookkeeping

bookkeeping for nonprofits

Finally, write an explanation addressing how surplus (profits) will be reinvested into the nonprofit. QuickBooks offers a discount on its QuickBooks Online software through TechSoup. This version of QuickBooks Online offers the accounting features and functionality nonprofits need, including the ability to manage nonprofit finances, file Form 990 and file taxes. FreshBooks’ software stands out for its ability to track expenses and restricted funding. For example, time-tracking tools tell you how long it takes an employee to complete a project’s task. Once you know the time employees spend on a project, you can allocate project funds to those employees.

These donations also must be tracked by the nonprofit for the application of matching funds. In addition to receiving monetary donations, it is not uncommon for charities to receive trades for goods and services, or have donors purchase items on behalf of the organization. It is important that these non-cash or in-kind contributions are accounted for at the retail value of the items — especially when the goods or services would have otherwise been purchased by the organization.

Best (Overall) for Donor Management

Your nonprofit’s statement of activities is also known as your income statement. This report shows the revenue and expenses over time at your organization. Plus, you can use this document to review your change in net assets from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. Your board members are responsible for high-level oversight of your nonprofit.

Organizational behavior and culture change software can help you understand your employees’ and volunteers’ motivations and behavior. This can allow you to better select and place employees, and to communicate with your team more effectively. Your expenditures will be influenced by how your accounting systems, processes, reporting requirements, and laws are established and handled, in addition to these core bookkeeping duties. Nonprofit bookkeepers oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization. It’s crucial to understand the distinctions between a nonprofit bookkeeper and a nonprofit accountant. Aplos will send you a monthly financial statement to guide your financial health.

Accept all donations, wherever you are

Your nonprofit’s budget is your guiding financial document, allowing you to plan out your expenses and projected revenue for the year. This is not a document that you’ll only visit once each year, but one that you’ll review over and over again, continuously course-correcting according to your organization’s most prevalent needs. Nonprofit accounting, similar to other aspects of your nonprofit’s strategy, requires your organization to compile several key reports and documents to organize your financial data. However, accounting 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.

  • Nature of an expense refers to the salaries, rent, supplies, depreciation, and similar types.
  • All expenditures, charity, payments, and other financial information are recorded by bookkeepers in an orderly software platform or worksheet.
  • Financial management software is often included in any nonprofit accounting software.
  • She currently serves as a business consultant, operations manager, and content strategist at Doubting Thomas Research Foundations’ Afghan Liberty Project, a small non-profit organization.

You want to ensure your back office is run smoothly and efficiently to ensure the errors & omissions policy that protect you is always paid up and that your financial reporting is handled accurately and compliantly. The statement of cash ACCOUNTING & PAYROLL SERVICES flows is a financial statement many people understand from nonprofits to for-profit businesses. A cash flow statement tells you how much money your organization has through its portfolio of investments, operations, and financing.


If you’re not satisfied with your purchase and no longer intend to use it, the company will give you a full refund. When you let us handle your nonprofit’s bookkeeping needs, you will be paired with one of our staff bookkeepers whose expertise is best matched to your needs. Fund accounting separates income sources for better clarity and accounting. For example, a college may have separate accounts regarding scholarships and operations.

How do you account for a non-profit organization?

Nonprofit accounting relies on using the statement of financial position (balance sheet), statement of activities (income statement), and cash flow statement. The statement of financial position gives you a screenshot of the health of your nonprofit during a period of time.

Its $13 per month plan ($3.25 per month for the first three months during the current promotion) offers invoicing and quotes tools, bill tracking for five bills, bank and Xero syncing and 30-day cash flow snapshots. Its $37 and $70 plans ($9.25 and $17.50 per month, respectively, for the first three months during the current promotion) add bulk transaction reconciliation, higher bill pay limits, project tracking and analytics. While for-profit businesses primarily focus on boosting profit, nonprofit organizations focus more on the accountability component of bookkeeping and accounting. Many small and midsize nonprofit organizations have excellent accounting software and keep their financials in good order, but need help when it comes to donor management and donation tracking.

Auditing Differs for Nonprofits

But the experience, responsibilities, and deliverables required of bookkeepers are very different from those required of accountants. To learn more about exactly which taxes your tax-exempt nonprofit might still be on the hook for, consult IRS Publication 557, or better yet, consult with a nonprofit tax specialist. They’ll have experience helping organizations like yours minimize their tax bill and make sure you aren’t breaking any tax code rules. This is essentially the nonprofit accounting version of the balance sheet equation. Once you’ve got a bookkeeping system in place, you need to start creating financial statements.