Empower Your NGO: Masterful Financial Management for Non-profits 📊🌱

Unleash the Power of Financial Management for NGOs! Dive into our comprehensive guide on accounting for non-profit organizations.

Empower Your NGO: Masterful Financial Management for Non-profits 📊🌱
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An organization is deemed to be non-profit if helping its members for the good of the group or of society as a whole is its main goal. Typically led by a trustee, a non-profit organization is not motivated by profit. A charity is the most prevalent kind of non-profit organization; donations are their primary source of funding, though they can also make money through grants, membership fees, and fundraising events.

What is Non-profit Organizations (NGOs)?

An NGO stands for a non-governmental organization. The United Nations' founding in 1945 marked the beginning of the phrase and business strategy. As its name suggests, the group supports social change and humanitarian aid even though it is not associated with the government. Despite not being connected to government organizations, they might operate in the same industries as them.

There are NGOs on a local, national, and worldwide level. They offer services internationally even though their main place of business is in the US or they conduct business internationally.   

Importance of Accounting for NGOs:

The importance of accounting in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) cannot be overemphasized. These enterprises have to adopt appropriate accounting practices to ensure transparency, accountability and effective management of money. Below are some reasons that explain why NGOs require accounting.

Donors’ trust and accountability:

Grants and donations from individuals, corporations and government agencies form the main sources of funding for most NGOs. The donors expect that the organization will spend its money wisely and stick to its set goals. Well maintained financial records enhance donor confidence while demonstrating your commitment towards them, both leading to continued support.

Compliance with regulations and laws:

Non-governmental organizations must comply with various legal and regulatory requirements such as reporting standards, tax statutes, audit standards among others. Proper accounting procedures help in ensuring that these regulations are adhered to hence minimizing penalties or legal complications.

Effective fund management:

Non-profit organizations survive on minimal funding; therefore, they should manage their resources carefully to achieve their objectives. However, accurate accounting records provide nonprofit organizations with a detailed record

Monitoring and evaluation:

The nonprofit uses accounting data to monitor the advancement and results of its many projects and programs. Non-governmental organizations can assess the success of their programs and make the required modifications by keeping track of their expenses and comparing them to the results.

Transparency and credibility:

Donors, recipients, and members of the public view non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as more reliable and trustworthy when they keep accurate and transparent financial records. This openness cultivates a favorable reputation and may draw in additional funding and collaborations.

Importance of Accounting for NGOs

Key Differences Between Non-Profit and For-Profit Accounting:

Advantages of Percentage or Shared Ownership:

One of the primary accounting differences between an NPO and a profit oriented firm is ownership. In a for-profit organization, the share or stock that individuals or groups can possess is called equity. A business’ accounting system records the owner’s stock, which refers to the percentage of his ownership that may either increase or decrease.

Revenue and Expenditure Monitoring:

The revenue and expenditure accounts associated with merchandise and services sold by for-profit firms are generally recorded on one account known as General ledger. Standard chart of accounts in General ledgers cannot include products or services offered by nonprofits for profit.

Disparities in Financial Reports:

A non-profit corporation keeps a statement of financial position which discloses what it has available to help it achieve its objectives while a balance sheet is maintained by a for-profit company, showing retention earnings that it can distribute among shareholders.

GAAP Reporting for Non-Profits:

For several reasons, nonprofit organizations are required to adhere to GAAP. First, you will find it easy to apply for grants and donations if you follow GAAP as it is a recognized industry practice. Fundraising is very important for non-profit making organizations. Proper non-profit cash handling procedures can be followed in order to maintain accuracy and transparency about your funding sources and expenditures.

Furthermore, new regulations were developed in 2017 with the aim of providing more information to those who read the financial statements of non-profits such as what they look like to grantors creditors or donors which is akin to reading the statement of activities relating an organization.

However, most nonprofits will need change their looks in order to conform with these new rules although content remains largely unchanged in the financial statements. Nonprofit organizations must reveal any restrictions placed on them by external parties or governing bodies regarding contributors.

Moreover, the new GAAP rules will make cash flow breakdowns and classifications more transparent and detailed.

Finally, full amounts of net assets available for investment are no longer needed by not-for-profit entities in as much as consistency should be maintained in financial reporting However, this should be shown separately on your income statement. 

These charges usually cover the costs of managing your investments and securities as well as fees from financial advisors. 

Donor Management and Stewardship for NGOs

Donor Contribution Tracking: Nonprofits must know where their money comes from and how it is being used. It is analogous to monitoring contributors and the results of their contributions. NGOs can foster accountability and confidence by keeping an eye on donations and displaying the results of their kindness to contributors.

Relationship Building with Donors: Developing strong relationships with donors is similar to making friends. Expressing gratitude, sharing success stories, and demonstrating how their contributions improve lives have a greater impact than merely requesting financial assistance. Donors who feel heard and understood are more likely to stick with the project. In order to guarantee ongoing support for their essential work, NGOs concentrate on establishing and preserving these relationships.  


To put it briefly, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are heavily dependent on accounting to ensure accountability, transparency, and efficient financial management. This helps in improving donor trust, ensuring compliance with the law, ensuring effective fund administration, making monitoring and evaluation more efficient, as well as increasing credibility and transparency. Moreover, there is a lot of disparity between the accounting procedures employed by nonprofit organizations and those used by for-profit firms. Nonprofits follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to maintain accuracy and transparency in their financial reporting. Donor management and stewardship are crucial since NGOs need to keep track of donations or contributions made towards their work through good relations with donors who can promise continual support for their activities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the importance of accounting for non-profit organizations?

A: Accounting guarantees precise tracking of grants, donations, and costs, promoting financial transparency that is essential for regulatory compliance and donor confidence.

Q: How is accounting for non-profit organizations different from for-profit organizations?

A: Non-profits prioritize mission-driven activities over profit. Their accounting focuses on transparency, accountability, and compliance with regulations specific to the non-profit sector.

Q: What typical financial statements do non-profit organizations prepare?

A: Non-profits typically prepare balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, providing insights into their financial health and performance.

Q: How are donations and grants accounted for in non-profit organizations?

A: Donations and grants received are recorded as revenue, meticulously tracked to adhere to donor restrictions and regulatory standards, ensuring proper utilization and reporting.

Q: What are some key accounting principles for non-profit organizations?

A: Key principles include transparency in financial reporting, responsible stewardship of funds, consistency in accounting practices, and compliance with relevant accounting standards to maintain credibility and trust.

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