Glossary of Financial Terms for Nonprofits


nonprofit accounting terms

It measures your nonprofit’s assets, liabilities, and net assets in a single document at a point in time. A statement of functional expenses for nonprofit organizations is a financial report that itemizes expenses according to their purpose. This report provides information on where resources have been committed and allocated within an organization. IRS regulations have a significant impact on non-profit financial reporting.

Properly Recognize Different Types of Revenue

BylawsA document outlining the governance of and what activities a legal entity may or may not engage in. Building PermitPermission granted by a local government to build or renovate nonprofit accounting a specific structure at a particular site. Authorization of BorrowingA resolution passed by a board of directors or trustees acknowledging and approving the incurrence of debt.

nonprofit accounting terms

Financial Literacy Resources

Luckily, here at Jitasa, we don’t think nonprofit accounting is tedious at all! We’ve loved helping over a thousand organizations organize and maintain their finances. Due to this love of the craft and experience in the field, we decided to put together this guide to help nonprofits like yours better understand their accounting needs.

nonprofit accounting terms

Managing Expenses

  • This report provides information on where resources have been committed and allocated within an organization.
  • For-profit firms aim to maximize profits, while non-profits focus on the organization’s mission.
  • On the flip side, nonprofit organizations write up a statement of activities that includes revenues, expenses, and net assets, which it gives to its donors and board of directors.
  • The terminology of nonprofit accounting can get confusing, especially if you’re one of the 21% of nonprofit finance professionals with no formal training in accounting.
  • Not only is a financial audit NOT a bad thing, it can actually be a very good thing.

A well-planned cash flow is essential for nonprofits as it ensures that the organization has sufficient funds available when needed. Proper cash flow planning can also help avoid financial pitfalls and improve the organization’s overall financial stability. Overhead represents the indirect expenses that are necessary for running the organization but are not directly tied to any specific program or service.

  • Following these processes diligently and accurately keeps nonprofits compliant and free from costly fines and penalties.
  • Now, we’ll pivot into ways to get the most value from best practices for implementing compliant and proactive approaches within your team.
  • Grants are typically given by a foundation, corporation, or government agency.
  • Your organization’s capitalization threshold defines the price at which a purchase is treated as an asset.
  • It typically details all revenue, such as contributions, grants, salaries, administrative costs, and program costs.

DevExplains: Why nonprofits want an international accounting standard – Devex

DevExplains: Why nonprofits want an international accounting standard.

Posted: Mon, 26 Sep 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

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 funding it receives from fundraising, grant seeking, and other revenue streams by analyzing this statement.

  • Unrestricted Net AssetsFunds that have no external restriction as to use or purpose.
  • Unenforceable or non-binding plans of a donor to give money in the future; not recorded as revenue, but may be helpful to keep track of for budgeting purposes.
  • Your board is critical to your nonprofit’s success, which is why your board needs to be totally independent of your organization.
  • A letter of intent is a pledge form used by potential donors who view the pledge as a contract.
  • Non-Operating RevenueRevenue not directly related to an organization’s programs or activities, such as capital receipts and temporarily or permanently restricted revenue.

Quickbooks For Nonprofits

  • By understanding how well you have kept to your original budget, you can make adjustments that lead your programming through the entire year, increasing your impact.
  • One way to ensure prudent financial management is for the board of directors to adopt financial policies.
  • 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.
  • Since a nonprofit wants to make the world a better place by investing time, resources, and funds into the community, the government credits nonprofits with certain benefits.
  • Nonprofit accounting is the practice of tracking and accounting for funds received or disbursed by a nonprofit organization.
  • Nonprofits may or may not be exempt from sales taxes, real estate taxes, and other taxes depending on which state in the U.S. they are incorporated or operate.

IRS Determination Letter

State reporting requirements

nonprofit accounting terms