nonprofit accounting basics

A nonprofit will need to provide receipts so donors can write off these donations. Outsourced bookkeeping can help an organization handle these tasks, while offering advice on changing tax requirements and codes. Create a realistic operating nonprofit accounting basics budget at the start of each year, and if it needs corrections later on, don’t worry. Your organization’s budget is free to evolve further into the year you get, so don’t feel like you have to remain rigid with your initial plan.

nonprofit accounting basics

Everyone who makes a contribution to your organization, however big or small, will want to trust that it’s going to the right place. Accounting for nonprofits is heavily focused on ensuring that donations are used as the giver intended them to be. Nonprofits must abide by the laws concerning taxes, filing deadlines, and any other applicable regulations that pertain to their special tax status. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in loss of tax-exempt status, significant penalties, and fines. Understanding the key aspects of accounting will help your nonprofit better recognize the financial situation of your own organization. In addition, checking in on the budget one or more times each month will allow you to adapt to change.

Can Nonprofits Charge for Services or Goods?

Your chart of accounts also helps outside parties understand how your organization manages money. Grantors often will ask to see a set of financial reports before they decide to grant funds to your organization. Your chart of accounts should help these grantors and other potential donors to quickly identify your organization’s important financial activities. Additionally, your Form 990 requires expenses to be broken down into specific categories.

If the value of the donation is over $5,000, you should get the donation formally appraised by an expert. But proper accounting (and the analysis it lets you do) is crucial to the survival of your organization.

Nonprofit Accounting Basic #5: Understand Your Part

Budgeting for a nonprofit business should require the same care and attention to detail as any other organization. However, you should consider a few unique factors when budgeting for a nonprofit. If your accounting responsibilities still roll up under your executives, consider outsourcing your accounting to the experts at a firm. They’ll help make sure all best practices and internal controls are implemented, ensuring smarter finances.

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