Nonprofit Accounting Basics

Financial Management

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Numbers

Not surprisingly, many nonprofit board members do not fully understand financial statements—despite the fact that understanding those statements is key to good governance.

About Operating Reserves for Nonprofits

About Operating Reserves" - What are they and why have them?

Allocating Expenses

Expenses are allocated to show the total cost of activities, services, and projects.  It is very important for the board and management to know the total costs of activities, s

Annual Budget Process Assessment: Is Your Budgeting System Helping to Drive Results?

Stepping back once a year to take a high-level assessment of your budget system is both a best practice and a proactive exercise.

Assessing Fraud Risk

One question I frequently ask nonprofit organizations I speak to is, “What processes are in place for identifying, responding to, and monitoring fraud risks?” Most times, the response describe

Be Prepared: Why Enterprise Risk Management is Essential for Nonprofits

Corporations and organizations have long understood the value of systematic planning for worst-case scenarios to avoid unwelcome surprises, known as enterprise risk management (ERM).

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Effective financial management is an ongoing process that features a cycle of good management habits.

Capital Budgets Play an Important Role in Nonprofit Planning

Annual operating budgets for nonprofit organizations will always be center stage, drawing the attention of senior management, Board, and staff.


Cash is an area with a high-risk of error and fraud.

Choosing the Right Commercial Checking Account for your Nonprofit

Throughout the year, nonprofit organizations review their processes for improvement, cost savings, and areas where they can create greater operational efficiencies.

Credit Card Transactions

Many people will opt to charge a contribution or a fee for a service or publication given the option.

Debt to Assets Ratio

This is one of many leverage ratios used to determine the financial viability of an organization.

Designing a Four Star Dashboard

In a previous article, we described the importance of including multiple internal stakeholders when selecting and implementing an Association Management System (AMS).

Facilities Expenses

  • All leases for office space should be reviewed by an attorney experienced in office leases.
  • Reconcile invoices for rent to the office lease.  Any addi

Financial Reporting

  • All financial reports are based on the general ledger.  Adjustments and estimates modifying the information from the general ledger will be documented.
  • Review i

Fixed Assets

  • Establish a policy for fixed assets detailing which fixed assets are capital (depreciated rather than expensed) assets.  This will be included in the organization's footnote disclosures t

General Information

  • The internal control system needs to be documented (the expected results or outcomes of the system and what everyone does need to be put in writing) and constantly evaluated.  A con

General Ledger

The general ledger documents all of the organization’s transactions over the course of a year for all accounts.

How Can I Explain the Bottom-Line Budget Impact of Multi-Year Grants?

Question: I am the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization that was recently awarded a 3-year grant. We recorded the grant in full last year.

How Nonprofits Can Better Manage Overhead Expenses

Managing a nonprofit organization’s overhead (management and general) expenses is just as important as managing program and fundraising expenses. Most nonprofits would not dispute this statement.

Internal Controls

What are internal controls?

Internal controls are the financial processes and procedures that enable the organization to safeguard its assets.

Internal Controls for Medium and Large Non-Profits-Part II

Internal Controls for Medium and Large Non-Profits-Part II, which is presented by Shawn Miller of Calibre CPAs, continues the discussion relating to controls that can be implemented to mitigate the


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