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Financial Management For small community- and faith- based non-profit organizations.

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Presentation on theme: "Financial Management For small community- and faith- based non-profit organizations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Financial Management For small community- and faith- based non-profit organizations

2 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 2 Financial Management for Non-Profits Dedicated non-profit organizations are not, by definition, money-making ventures. However, even though money isnt the object, it is still important for every non-profit to follow certain guidelines concerning the financial management of the organization. The basic accounting system should include the following components: chart of accounts, general ledger, budget, reporting and documentation system, and appropriate internal controls. It is also important to have the ability to properly manage grants, and to be cognizant of funders individual financial requirements, particularly when receiving government grants.

3 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 3 The Accounting System Before considering the elements of an accounting system, an organization must first decide whether to use a cash- based or accrual-based system. In a cash-based system, revenues are recorded only when they are received and expenses recorded only when they are paid. Conversely, in an accrual-based system, revenues and expenses are recorded when they are first earned or incurred, regardless of when money is actually exchanged. It is recommended that an accounting system be accrual- based, particularly if an organization is planning on applying for foundation or government funds, as this is the generally accepted system among accounting professionals.

4 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 4 The Accounting System – Chart of Accounts The chart of accounts is a detailed listing of all of the accounts, or records of each business transaction, of an organization. It is used to keep track of the income and expenses of the organization. Each account is assigned a number and divided into one of five categories: Net Assets, Assets, Revenues, Liabilities, and Expenses. The standard order for accounting categories on the chart of accounts is: Assets Liabilities Net Assets (the balance remaining after financial obligations are subtracted from Assets) Continued…

5 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 5 The Accounting System – Chart of Accounts Continued The chart of accounts should correlate to the categories in the budget so that they can be easily compared. Separate charts may be kept for separate programs or sites, or they may be combined on the same chart. It is best to keep the chart of accounts as simple as possible and to revise it over time as needed. Accounting software, such as QuickBooks, can be especially helpful and time-saving, particularly with detailed accounts. (Note: QuickBooks is not designed to handle grant accounting. It is best to consult with a public accounting firm for such guidance.)

6 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 6 The Accounting System – Other Elements General Ledger: An accounting book into which all of the organizations accounts are entered and organized numerically. The ledger lists all transactions within that account for the time period the ledger covers. It doesnt cover the detailed descriptions that are listed in the chart of accounts. In fact, the chart of accounts serves as a sort of table of contents for the general ledger. Journals: The journal is a chronological record of all transactions. Each entry should include its correlating account number and a brief description of the transaction. Continued…

7 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 7 Checkbook: Most of an organizations transactions are made through the checkbook, with which receipts are deposited and cash disbursements are made. For a very small organization, the checkbook can serve as a combined general ledger and journal, and reports may be prepared directly from it. Accounting Procedures Manual: The accounting procedures manual is very important for the organization. It is a record of all of an organizations financial policies and procedures and should be kept up- to-date and on hand all throughout the life of the organization. The Accounting System – Other Elements Continued

8 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 8 Accounting Cycle and Maintenance Trial Balance The trial balance is a procedure that seeks to ensure that the general ledger is properly balanced (i.e. debits equal credits). If accounting is done manually, a trial balance should be completed on a monthly basis. A computerized accounting system will update the trial balance every time a transaction is entered. Bank Reconciliation Once a month, a bank reconciliation should be performed. This procedure ensures that the organizations calculated balance equals the balance according to the banks calculations.

9 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 9 Reporting and Documentation As stated on the previous slide, it is very important to keep proper documentation of all financial activities in the chart of accounts, general ledger, and journals, as well as records or personnel wages and a document detailing the organizations financial practices. It is also important that all bills, invoices, packing slips, time sheets, etc. be kept in official files.

10 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 10 Reporting and Documentation – Required Documents Balance Sheet/Statement of Financial Position: This document is filled out at the end of each period and lists the organizations assets (current, fixed, and net) and liabilities (current and long-term). Income Statement/Statement of Activities: This is a report of the organizations revenues, expenses, and change in net assets over a fiscal year. The income statement will denote whether the organization realized a profit or incurred a loss for the period. Continued…

11 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 11 Statement of Cash Flows: This report is usually prepared by an auditor at the request of the organization. It provides information on the flow of cash in and out of the organization. Annual Form 990: This is the federal tax return for tax- exempt organizations, available online at The 990 is due each year on May 15 and includes information on the previous years finances. Other documents as required by state. (Consult a Certified Public Accountant or tax advisor.) Reporting and Documentation – Required Documents Continued

12 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 12 Reporting and Documentation Tax Reporting An employer must remit personnel income tax to the IRS on a monthly basis. State and local remittance requirements and schedules may vary. Check with the states department of revenue and local officials to determine state and local requirements. Reporting Charitable Contributions When receiving monetary contributions, an organization should provide the third party contributor with a written confirmation of the donation for tax purposes, state the name of the organization and donor and the value of the gift. For in-kind donations (goods or services rather than money), the gift must be valued by the contributor, not the organization, and the stated value should be confirmed by documentation supporting the claimed value in order to ensure tax deduction from the IRS.

13 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 13 Budget The budget process should begin two to three months before the start of the fiscal year and should include the input of staff (both financial and program), board members, and the executive director. The board finance committee should oversee the construction and execution of the budget.

14 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 14 The Budget Process 1.Review the previous years results. What was the cost per unit of service? 2.Develop new goals and objectives for the coming year. 3.Estimate the cost of the new objectives based on the previous years results. Dont forget to include indirect costs (incidental costs not closely attached to programs and goalse.g. administrative costs) along with direct costs (closely associated with the program – e.g. staff salaries) and to adjust any costs that will be changing in the coming year. 4.Next, budget projected income. Estimate revenues, including grants, donations, etc. 5.Compare the projected revenue with the projected expenses. The organization may decide that it is appropriate to incur a deficit or realize a surplus for the year instead of breaking completely even. 6.Finally, the board must approve the budget and continue to review it on a monthly basis.

15 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 15 Budget Notes The categories and labels for the budget should correlate with those used on the chart of accounts. It may be helpful to prepare separate monthly budgets to break down the year into smaller, more manageable sections. Finally, remember that the budget should be realistic, consistent with the organizations objectives, cost-effective, and flexible.

16 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 16 Auditing An organization may or may not decide to obtain an audited financial statement depending on the size and revenue of the organization, as well as the boards expertise regarding financial management. These statements can range from more or less expensive and/or comprehensive. If an organization is applying for government funds, it should obtain an audited financial statement.

17 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 17 Internal Controls Financial internal controls should be in place for the operating, accounting, and compliance departments regarding payroll, cash collection and disbursement, safeguarding fixed assets, etc. Making sure the financial management of the organization is operating properly is the responsibility of the entire organization, not just the accounting department.

18 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 18 Internal Controls – Segregation of Duties Financial duties should be segregated so that no one staff member handles any transaction entirely on their own from start to finish. For example, different members may sign checks, authorize payments, record transactions, or reconcile bank statements. This may be more difficult for a very small organization. If this is the case, a staff member may sign the checks for transactions and a board member (such as the treasurer) may review the statements and checks on a monthly basis.

19 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 19 General Rules for Cash Management Purchases should all fall within the established budget guidelines and restrictions. Large purchases which lie outside the scope of the budget should be approved by the board. All cash disbursements should include documentation. Never withdraw cash from an ATM. Restricted funds (such as donations or grant money) may only be borrowed against if the donor permits the action and must be replaced within the fiscal/grant year. The number of check signers in the organization should be as minimal as possible while still allowing the organization to function efficiently. Large purchases should have more than one signature on the check.

20 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 20 Grant Management – Accounting Requirements Accounting requirements differ according to each individual funder, but here are some general guidelines to follow: 1.Account for each award or grant separately 2.Federal and non-federal match funds should be tracked separately 3.In-kind donations should be tracked as both revenues and expenses 4.Identify costs by program year and budget category 5.Differentiate between direct and indirect costs

21 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 21 Grant Management – Financial Responsibilities of Grantees When preparing a grant proposal, an organization should keep in mind the following responsibilities: 1.Budget for the entire life of the grant, including all allowable costs, the agreed upon indirect cost rate, and increases in the cost of living 2.Address all matching requirements 3.Focus on sustainability 4.If applying for federal funds, an organization must also seek a solid base of non-federal funds 5.Pay special attention to specific requirements of each individual grant

22 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 22 Government Grants When managing a government grant, certain additional guidelines must be followed. These guidelines, called Circulars, are published by the Office of Management and Budget. Different Circulars, apply for educational institutions, non- profit organizations, and government organizations. For a listing of the OMB Circulars, visit

23 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 23 Final Note This guide is only a brief overview of the financial management systems that should be in place for a non-profit organization. The best way to obtain sound financial advice is to recruit a few board members with extensive knowledge of financial systems, or to hire a public accounting firm for consultation. This can be done relatively inexpensively for many non-profits and the time and trouble saved by such a partnership will likely pay for itself.

24 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 24 EFFECTIVE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 10. Internal Controls 1. Regulatory Requirements 9. Reporting 8. Matching Requirements and In-Kind Contributions 7. Time and Activity Documentation 6. Budget Controls 5. Efficient Accounting System 4. Managing Cash 3. Documentation of Expenses 2. Written Policies and Procedures

25 Feb-14Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 25 Additional Resources Alliance Online – Financial Management: Developing Quality Grant Proposals – White House website Financial Accounting Standards Board: Free Management Library Basic Guide to Non-Profit Financial Management Generally Accepted Accounting Principles: OMB Circulars: Sarbanes-Oxley Financial and Accounting Disclosure Information


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