nonprofit accounting & bookkeeping

It is recommended you read up on the IRS’s latest rules and regulations to supplement these best practices. Jason Ding is a seasoned accountant with over 15 years of progressive experience in senior finance and accounting across multiple industries. The firm specializes in preparing personal and corporate taxation while providing fractional CFO work and leading the accounting and finance function for several small-to-medium-sized businesses. In his free time, you’ll find Jason on the basketball court, travelling, and spending quality time with family. It’s never too late to get a leg up on managing your nonprofit accounting practices in a way that’s responsible, ethical, and practical. Nonprofit groups are often eligible for beneficial tax adjustments, which reduce the overall tax burden for organizations that perform vital community work without generating profit.

If you are not familiar with accounting for businesses or you need a refresher, you will find explanations, practice quizzes, quick tests, and more at our course outline. Long-term strategies can also be helpful in recruiting new members, donors, community supporters, and more. The general rule is that retirement contributions withheld from employees’ paychecks must be remitted to the employees’ retirement plans within seven (7) business days from the payroll check date. External financial audits can be expensive; however, your nonprofit may not need an audit. Find out if an audit is required for your nonprofit before you venture down this path, and learn about times when an audit is not only recommended, but required by law.

Distribute financial duties among multiple personnel.

It enables organizations to manage interactions, track donor information, and streamline fundraising efforts. It also provides tools for donor segmentation, email marketing, and campaign tracking. The best nonprofit accounting software should include all the core accounting features and functionality all businesses need, such as the ability to send invoices and track spending. It should also offer nonprofit-specific accounting functionality, such as the ability to receive donations, manage restricted funds and file Form 990.

nonprofit accounting & bookkeeping

You can streamline the grant application process, evaluate applications, track submissions, and manage funds. A wide range of organizations are “not for profit,” including most political groups, schools, churches, social clubs, and consumer cooperatives. All of them need help with accounts payable, bookkeeping, fundraising tools, and more. Nonprofit nonprofit bookkeeping services accounting refers to a specific set of accounting rules and practices used by nonprofits to track, record, and report their financial activities. Nonprofit organizations often face accounting challenges that are unique to their business sector. These companies encounter a variety of financial obstacles that require accountability and transparency.

What Are the 4 Main Differences in Accounting for Nonprofits vs. For-Profits?

The concept of fund accounting is one of the main differences between for-profit and nonprofit accounting. It’s important for all nonprofit finance and accounting professionals to understand this key concept as they continue to advance their careers. The net income on an income statement for nonprofits is what remains after subtracting total expenses from total revenues. You may also need to provide other information, like unrealized gains or losses on investments and non-cash transactions, such as depreciation or amortization expenses. As with any financial statement, ensure that all figures are accurate and up to date before submission. On the other hand, for-profit accounting involves tracking and reporting revenues from and expenses of producing goods or providing services for a fee.

In this document, you’ll record your nonprofit’s revenue and expenses from the year, to demonstrate how finances have been utilized. Essentially, the Form 990 is the IRS’s method of evaluation to make sure your nonprofit is financially honest and legitimate. Providing detailed information on your statement of functional expenses also helps when it’s time to complete your annual Form 990 which requires expenses to be separated in a similar fashion.

Ways Nonprofit Accounting Differs From For-Profit Accounting

For example, you have to pay people to run the nonprofit, dedicate an office space to get work done, and invest in a website to reach the public. Your nonprofit’s budget is the document that individuals at your organization are more likely to be familiar with. This document is created by your leadership or finance team using information from your development team and historic spending habits from your organization. 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.

nonprofit accounting & bookkeeping

Accounting for nonprofits also differs from that in the for-profit sector in a number of other ways. For instance, nonprofits have no legal ownership interests and they earn their funding from supporters who do not expect a financial return on their investment. NetSuite’s accounting software offers accounts receivable and payable, cash management, fixed asset management, a general ledger and tax management solutions. When we contacted a sales representative for a starting price, we were told there is no set starting price as each solution is uniquely catered to the NetSuite client.


Such features may include the ability to track and allocate restricted funds, process payroll and pull reports to aid you in filing your 990 form. Find the provider and plan that most closely matches the list of features your organization needs. Intuit QuickBooks offers several plans, ranging from $30 to $200 per month ($15 to $100 per month for the first three months during the current promotion). Plan differences revolve around the number of users, customization options, inventory management, automations and expense tracking. All Xero plans offer reporting, payment acceptance, file storage, contact management, tax calculations and the ability to connect Xero to a bank account.