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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

Nonprofit Accounting Basics Series

General Material

The Nonprofit Accounting Basics series of the Greater Washington Society of CPAs offers an array of helpful resources and tools for nonprofits. Recommended resources:

  • Policies: Outlines basic policies for financial accountability and management.
  • The Budgeting Process: Explains how to build a budget.
  • Systems and Procedures: Provides key principles and procedure tips for consideration.
  • Stewardship and Accountability: Explains key elements of a good financial management system that enables the board and management to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities for the organization.
  • Internal Reports: Discusses the types of financial reports necessary for understanding the finances of your organization.
  • Nonprofit Corporate Compliance: Discusses reports required by the Secretary of State in order to maintain corporate good standing.
  • Reconciling Accounts: Outlines how to balance your organization’s checkbook.
  • Petty cash: Define petty and describes procedures for tracking it.
  • FAS 117: Outlines the financial statements that nonprofits must produce to be in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Statement of Financial Activities:  Outlines use, content, and interpretation of what is typically called the SOA. Also referred to as an income statement, budget report or profit and loss statement.
  • Statement of Financial Position: Outlines use, content and interpretation of what is typically called the SOP, also referred to as the balance sheet.
  • Introduction to OMB Circular A-133: Describes 14 types of compliance requirements and related audit objectives.
  • Common Disclosures: Outlines some of the common disclosures that may be required in your financial statements and how they should be addressed. 
  • Credit Card Transactions: Lists options for processing online credit card transactions (i.e. contributions, fees for service) and briefly covers procedures and policies on how to protect the finances of the organization when credit cards are used.
  • Equipment and Real Property Management: Outlines standards for the use and disposition of equipment and real property (real estate) purchased with federal funds. 
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles: Outlines the means of creating financial reports preferred by certified public accountants. Following these principles will lead to audits that meet the standards of your auditors. 
  • Internal Controls: Covers financial processes and procedures that enable an organization to safeguard its assets.   
  • Internal Controls for Small Organizations: Specific to how an organization with a smaller staff would implement important financial controls.    
  • Inventory: Describes how inventory is recorded on the books for those organizations that have items it creates or purchases, and then sells to the public.
  • Line of credit: Brief paragraph and related journal entries related to opening a line of credit.
  • Lockboxes: Describes the use of lockboxes (generally when large volume of checks received by an organization).
  • Matching, Level of Effort, and Earmarking: Briefly describes each as they pertain to grants and related contracts.
  • Outsourced Accounting Services: Identifies what services could possibly be outsourced, and reasons for doing so.
  • Outsourcing the Strategic Financial Function: Outlines the role of the Chief Financial Officer and reasons a nonprofit might outsource this function.
  • Payroll: Covers how payroll is processed and recommends outsourcing this function to a payroll processing firm. 
  • Program Income: Discusses income generated from federal programs and how to record it.
  • Should I use Accounting Software: Includes a link to several accounting software packages.
  • Subrecipient Monitoring: Outlines the recipient’s responsibilities of identifying, monitoring, and subsequent auditing of subrecipients to federal awards.
  • Form 1023-EZ Part 1 and Part 2: Part 1 provides an overview and lists pros and cons of the streamlined method of applying for 501 (c)3 status. Part 2 explains when to use Form 1023-EZ
  • Unclaimed Property: Describes nonprofit organizations' responsibilities regarding unclaimed property.  
  • Writing Checks: Outlines process and safeguards to protect the agency when it comes to writing checks.
  • Depreciation Schedule Example: Simple blank worksheet, completed example and brief notes on calculating items that will be depreciated over time.  When you do your annual audit or financial review, there are some material things such as equipment, improvements, etc. the value of which reduces (depreciates) over time.  These depreciations must be itemized and tracked for financial reporting purposes.
  • Capitalization Threshold Policy example: Sample policy for small and mid-size organizations.