What to expect from accounting firms specializing in nonprofits

by | Apr 28, 2023

Is there an advantage to working with accounting firms specializing in nonprofits?

Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in addressing social, environmental, and cultural issues in our society. However, running a nonprofit comes with unique challenges that require specialized expertise, particularly in financial management and accounting. Fortunately, there are accounting firms that specialize in nonprofits and can help navigate all of these specific requirements with their vast industry knowledge and expertise. In this article, we’ll explore in more detail what you can expect from these firms and how they can support your nonprofit:

  • Nonprofit Accounting and Compliance
  • Financial Management and Reporting
  • Audit and Assurance Services

Nonprofit Accounting and Compliance

Nonprofit accounting is different from accounting for for-profit organizations in a number of ways. Firms that specialize in nonprofit accounting have in-depth knowledge and experience in accounting for the unique needs and requirements of nonprofit organizations. They understand the complexities of nonprofit accounting, including fund accounting, grant accounting, and compliance with IRS regulations. They also understand the importance of transparency and accountability, which are crucial for building trust with donors and stakeholders.

Fund Accounting

Fund accounting is a method of accounting used by nonprofit organizations to track and report on restricted and unrestricted funds. Unlike for-profit accounting, where all revenues and expenses are combined into one account, nonprofits must track each fund separately to ensure that donations are used in accordance with the donor’s intent.

When setting up your fund accounting system, you must ensure that it meets the unique needs of your organization. This system should then be able to support your organization in maintaining accurate records of each fund, tracking revenue and expenses, and preparing financial reports that show how each fund is performing.

Grant Accounting

Many nonprofit organizations rely on grants to fund their programs and services. However, managing grant funds can be complex and time-consuming. Expertise is imperative to help manage your grant funds by:

  • Tracking grant funds separately from other funds
  • Preparing grant proposals and budgets
  • Managing grant disbursements and tracking grant expenditures
  • Preparing grant reports and ensuring compliance with grant requirements

Compliance with IRS Regulations

Nonprofits are subject to complex regulations at both the federal and state levels. Accounting firms specializing in nonprofits can help you comply with these regulations. They can help you prepare and file your IRS Form 990, which is required for most tax-exempt organizations. They can also help you navigate state-specific regulations and comply with grant reporting requirements. By working with an accounting firm, you can be confident that your nonprofit is meeting all legal and regulatory obligations.

Financial Management and Reporting

Financial management is critical for the success of any nonprofit organization. Accounting firms that specialize in nonprofits can help your organization with financial management and reporting. They can help you develop budgets, financial projections, and cash flow forecasts to ensure your nonprofit is financially sustainable. They can also provide financial reports that show how your organization is performing and how it compares to industry benchmarks. These reports can help you make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.

Budgeting and Forecasting

Developing a budget is essential for managing your nonprofit’s finances. It can help you plan for expenses, identify potential funding gaps, and make informed decisions about resource allocation. When developing your budget, you must make sure that it isĀ  realistic and aligns with your nonprofit’s mission and goals. Financial forecasting services can also help you plan for the future.

Financial Analysis

Financial analysis can provide valuable insights into your nonprofit’s financial performance. Executing on these analyses can help you understand how your organization is performing, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions about resource allocation.

Cash Flow Management

Managing your cash flow by developing cash flow projections, monitoring cash flow on a regular basis, and obtaining advice from experts on cash flow management strategies is crucial to your short and long-term success. Experts can identify potential cash flow issues and develop solutions to ensure your nonprofit has the cash it needs to operate effectively.

Auditing and Assurance Services

Auditing and assurance services help to ensure the accuracy and transparency of nonprofit financial statements. These services help your organization meet regulatory requirements and provide assurance to donors and stakeholders that your financial statements are accurate and reliable.

Financial Statement Audits

Financial statement audits provide an independent and objective assessment of your nonprofit’s financial statements. Nonprofit accounting firms can conduct financial statement audits to ensure your financial statements are accurate and reliable. They can also provide recommendations on how to improve your financial reporting processes.

Single Audits

Single audits are required for nonprofits that expend more than $750,000 in federal funds in a single fiscal year. Specialized firms can provide single audit services to ensure your organization complies with federal regulations and guidelines.

Internal Control Reviews

Internal control reviews assess your nonprofit’s internal control processes and provide recommendations for improvement. Firms can help conduct internal control reviews to ensure your nonprofit has effective controls in place to prevent fraud and ensure the accuracy of financial reporting.

Running a nonprofit organization is challenging, and financial management and accounting can be particularly complex. Accounting firms that specialize in nonprofits can provide invaluable support to help your organization succeed. By leveraging their expertise in nonprofit accounting, financial management and reporting, and auditing and assurance services, you can ensure that your nonprofit is financially healthy, compliant with regulations, and transparent to donors and stakeholders.

The Charity CFO has extensive experience in working with nonprofits, a deep understanding of your organization’s needs, and a commitment to delivering high-quality services.



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