The Ins and Outs of Non-Profit Accounting

August, 25 2022

Non-Profit organizations are often made up of passionate team members dedicated to supporting their community or cause, and not many have a professional accountant on staff. These organizations require the same basic financial tracking and services as other businesses (expenses, invoices, accounts payable, accounts receivable, etc.) but can sometimes require extra support, especially when funding through grants, recording donations or reporting to a board of directors is involved. With over 14 years of experience working with non-profits (among others) here’s what the Brigade team has learned and our recommendations for smooth, transparent financials.

Grant Transparency 

Grant funding can be critical to a non-profit, but understanding the requirements and responsibilities is equally important. Whether you’re working with a corporate grant, a foundation grant or a government grant, many require regular financial reporting to maintain funding. They also may detail restrictions for the types of expenses that are, or are not, allowed. Since many grants also do not cover operational expenses (like payroll), consider tracking each grant (and its funding) separately to clarify exactly how the specific funds are used and that everything is in compliance with the rules associated with each grant. 

Accounting Systems 

We get it, budgets can be tight with non-profit organizations. But an organized, easy to use accounting system is important for any business, especially non-profits. You need to easily see your financial information and records, be able to answer questions from potential donors or provide reports to your board of directors. A cloud-based system (like Divvy), makes the expense portion of your accounting easy to track when you or your employees are not in the office. Be sure to ask about special rates for non-profits, they aren’t always advertised or easy to find online!  

Satisfying Your Board of Directors 

No one likes being in the hot seat, but having regular financial conversations with your board of directors can go a long way. By nature, the board is responsible for financial oversight, and they may or may not have experience with non-profit accounting. By working with a professional team, you’ll have the answers your directors  want (or someone to refer them to) to take the pressure off of uncomfortable conversations. 

If non-profit accounting has you stressed, the team at Brigade is happy to help! Let’s talk about how we can streamline your financial tracking and handle the daily transactions of invoicing, payroll, expenses, etc, while also helping you with grant and quarterly reporting.