bookkeeping for nonprofits

The unique needs of nonprofits require a specialized set of tools from accounting software. Many organizations make bookkeeping for nonprofits more difficult than it really needs to be. When you implement a few simple tips and tricks to your strategies, nonprofit bookkeeping becomes much more manageable. Using fund accounting software is an easy way to fill out your organization’s Form 990. This way you can ensure your information is correct and that you file on time every year.

  • Import transactions from apps like Fundly or DonorPerfect to QuickBooks easily so all your data is in one place.
  • Not only that, but different departments within nonprofits tend to bookkeep differently.
  • Failure to keep the books to legal standards puts the organization in jeopardy of losing its tax-exempt status and opens it to possible legal  .
  • Instead of customers, you have donors; in lieu of vendors, you have volunteer hours.
  • When you can confidently manage the bookkeeping for a nonprofit organization, you will be able to safeguard funding, attract more investors, and efficiently meet the needs of your nonprofit.

Most systems let you create custom fields that meet the needs of your organization. You can access them at any time, which makes it easier to prepare year-end reports and stay compliant with regulatory agencies. Double-entry accounting gives you a complete picture of your business’s financial activity. For-profit businesses use profit and loss statements to show income and expenses. Nonprofits use a statement of activities to show income (usually derived from grants, donations and fundraisers) and costs (such as utilities, salaries, rent and office supplies).

Nonprofit Bookkeeping Requirements You NEED to Know

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. Bookkeeping involves recording and analyzing a nonprofit’s financial transactions to ensure compliance with state and federal accounting rules. Timely and accurate record-keeping is one of the most important responsibilities every nonprofit organization faces. 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.

bookkeeping for nonprofits

You may be successful in networking with particular software providers who may offer you a discounted rate on software. Otherwise, free accounting options are available but it’s advised that you consult with a professional before making final decisions regarding your nonprofit’s financial software. A nonprofit has different goals as compared to other business types, but a need for an operating budget remains. An operating budget is an overview of operations, usually done quarterly or annually, that projects expenses and income.

What features should I look for in accounting software?

Form 990 is the annual tax form that tax-exempt (e.g. 501(c)3) organizations are required to file each year to remain compliant with the regulations and requirements set by the IRS. This nonprofit accounting statement breaks down the operating, financing, and investing activities to show how cash moves at the organization. You can easily see how your nonprofit uses the Accounting vs Payroll vs Bookkeeping funding it receives from fundraising, grant seeking, and other revenue streams by analyzing this statement. Using a general accounting software program that does not have specific features for non-profit organizations can be cumbersome. These types of programs are made for for-profit accounting and have many features that are not necessary for non-profit organizations.

bookkeeping for nonprofits

If you have not chosen accounting software, need help comparing accounting software features, or think you need to brush-up or train members of the team, a good bookkeeper can take care of that for you. Compare the data in each account against what you have in your books. Reconciling accounts should be a regular activity to track cash flow, identify fraudulent activity, and ensure accuracy. You can use QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit to track expenses and donations, budget by program and compare to actuals, and create donor and grant reports. This version of QuickBooks allows you to accept donations and securely store donor information in your database. If you upgrade to the Gold, Platinum, or Diamond plans, you can even get payroll services for your organization and pay your staff directly through QuickBooks.

Nonprofit Bookkeeping Starts With Your Bank Accounts

Nonprofits have tight rules around what they can and can’t spend money on. They need an organized system that makes sure purchases are ordered, budgeted for, and fulfilled properly from the get go. But proper accounting (and the analysis it lets you do) is crucial to the survival of your organization. For example, a lawyer may review a contract for your nonprofit and refuse to charge a fee. An in-kind donation or a gift in kind represents a donation of goods or services instead of money for purchasing goods and services. These are (as the name states) general principles accepted by accountants in all sectors.

What is the difference between QuickBooks and QuickBooks nonprofit?

QuickBooks® Non-profit reports include all the great reports that you get in the regular QuickBooks® Pro and then include a number of reports designed specifically for Non-profits. These reports are not available in QuickBooks® Pro, Simple Start, and QuickBooks® Online Essential.

Financial software can easily generate financial statements, yet there is a learning curve. Statements of financial position, activities, and cash flow are not documents you want a novice to address. The for-profit entity answers to its stockholders, while the nonprofit organization’s allegiance is to its mission and its board or members.

Why Your Nonprofit Should Focus On ACH Recurring Donations

Unlike for-profits, a nonprofit does not have ‘equity’ but ‘net assets.’ Net assets are left after subtracting liabilities from assets. Bookkeeping for a nonprofit takes away from fundraising, spreading awareness, and meeting with potential partners. However, bookkeeping and accounting remains crucial to a nonprofit’s success. While you’re a champion for a great cause, you and your team may be less than heroes regarding how to do bookkeeping for nonprofits. A statement of financial position is a nonprofit organization’s version of a balance sheet statement.

It details both the costs that your organization will incur as well as the revenue you expect to receive over a set period of time, usually a year. 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.