Financial Management


Financial Management

Skillful financial management is essential to a viable organization. 


Update from the Financial Accounting Standards Board

A new update from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) constitutes the first major revision to nonprofit reporting since 1993.

Read about new changes to nonprofit reporting here.

What do the new reporting standards mean for your nonprofit and how should you prepare? Our friends at Fiscal Management Associates have created a step-by-step guide.

Explore resources for new FASB rules here.


Best Practices for Nonprofit Financial Health
A three-part beginner-level series of nonprofit finance best practices

The Nonprofit Finance Fund developed these in response to the most common questions they receive.


The 990: Cracking the Code
A Guide to Gleaning Data from a Charities Tax Forms

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has released a series of articles to help readers better understand the 990, how it’s used, and why it must be submitted. Highlights of these articles include:

  • Common areas of misunderstanding
  • Breakdowns of each section
  • Best practices for submitting schedules

 Download a free copy.


Why Funding Overhead Is Not the Real Issue: The Case to Cover Full Costs

Big strides have been made recently in the acknowledgment that overhead ratios are poor indicators of an organization’s impact or financial efficiency. Although the movement toward outcomes-based measurement offers a promising alternative to understanding impact, very little has been done to truly shift the sector’s understanding of what it takes—or even means—for nonprofits to be financially efficient and adaptable.


True Program Costs:Program Budget and Allocation Template and Resource
Understand your true program costs

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund has developed a how-to resource to guide nonprofits through the steps of calculating and understanding the full cost of programs. The process includes decisions about how staff spend their time, what budget items are shared among several program areas, and how to allocate an appropriate amount of overhead to programs and administration. The guide, spreadsheet template, and a tutorial webinar are all available here.


Operating Reserve Policy Toolkit for Nonprofit Organizations

This Toolkit, sponsored by the National Center for Charitable Statistics,
Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, and United Way Worldwide, was created to provide a resource to:


Cash Flow Projection Template
How much cash do we have? How much will we have next month? Next year?

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund developed this excellent tool to help you answer this important question.


Unemployment Services Trust
Alternative to paying state unemployment taxes

The Unemployment Services Trust (UST) is an alternative to paying state unemployment taxes for nonprofits  with 10 or more FTEs, as allowed by Federal law. With the ability to save thousands on unemployment costs annually, e-File unemployment claims with the state, and access expert HR Advisors through our HR Hotline and Library — more than 2,000 nonprofits have chosen to join UST.


Adding It All Up: Nonprofit CFO Study

This survey of 906 nonprofit finance professionals reveals some surprises about these crucial-but-often-overlooked staff, looking at questions ranging from educational backgrounds, workload, board and CEO understanding of finance, and CEO compensation:


The SCAN Foundation Pricing Guide
A Resource For Community-Based Organizations To Value And Price Services

This new, resource from the SCAN Foundation  includes a Pricing Guide and a tool to calculate cost-per-unit. You can download it here.


What is Overhead?

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund offers this useful advice.

Definitions from the IRS and FASB. See the attached pdf for details.

A Board Member’s Guide to Nonprofit Overhead guidance from Blue Avocado.


Audit Guide for Charitable Nonprofits
Free online tool from the National Council of Nonprofits

Are you prepared for your financial audit? The National Council on Nonprofits recently published the Nonprofit Audit Guide to take you through an audit! This free, online resource is useful for newbies and veterans alike. It answers questions about state laws as well as federal requirements and covers everything from choosing an independent auditor to preparing for the audit to what to do after the audit. It also includes a glossary for those who don’t speak finance!


An Executive Director’s Guide to Financial Leadership

This Nonprofit Quarterly Reprint offers a summary of the eight key business principles that should guide an executive director’s financial leadership practice.

Helpful link

Tracking Volunteer Time to Boost Your Bottom Line
A Complete Accounting Guide

Tracking volunteer time: sounds like another chore? Actually it can help you meet match requirements, improve your financial statement presentations, and reduce liability. In this article from Blue Avacado, CPA Dennis Walsh of North Carolina explains why and how to include volunteer time in your budgets and financials.

Helpful link

Is Your Form 990 Due?
e-filing made easy

Whether you are e-filing or mailing a form, National Center for Charitable Statistics Form 990 Online can help make the process smooth.

 Their web site guides you through the schedules and statements; checks the arithmetic; and provides context-specific help to make navigating the Form 990 easy. Your forms can be saved or printed as PDF files, and entries from previous tax filings can be imported into your current tax filing.  FREE for organizations with less than $100,000 in gross receipts.


Finding Your Funding Model
Article from the Stanford Innovation Review

Nonprofit leaders spend an enormous amount of time on fundraising, but many typically have little idea how to secure the money they will need over the next five years.


Nonprofit Finance Fund

The Nonprofit Finance Fund is a community development financial institution that offers loans,  financing, consulting and education.


Resources & Support

Get answers to your questions on the QuickBooks User Forum and search nonprofit.

Find a local QuickBooks expert.

Or purchase these training DVD’s from Quickbooks Made Easy.


National Council of Nonprofits
Basic background on financial management of nonprofit organizations

Follow this link to a wealth of information on the basics of nonprofit financial management.


Treasurers of All-Volunteer Organizations: Eight Key Responsibilities

More than half of the nonprofits in the United States are estimated to be all-volunteer organizations. Here is a link to a  wonderful, succinct guide for the 600,000 + treasurers of such organizations.  Treasurers of All-Volunteer Organizations


Nonprofit Fiscal Policies & Procedures: A Template and Guide
Resources from CompassPoint

Writing or updating an organization’s fiscal policies and procedures is usually not on the top of most people’s list of favorite things to do. Luckily, CompassPoint has developed a well-organized, time-saving template and accompanying guide to make it a bit easier. No “one size fits all” manual exists that will work for all organizations, but our template and guide offer a recommended structure and questions to consider so you can decide what is best for your organization.


Internal Controls
Prevent fraud and assure accurate reporting

“Controls” is what accountants and others call policies and procedures that are designed to prevent fraud and assure accurate reporting on the affairs–mostly the financial affairs–of organizations.


10 Resources to Increase the Financial Literacy of Board and Staff

The National Council of Nonprofits offers these 10 resources to increase the financial literacy of your board and staff.

Helpful link

Nonprofit Financial Literacy
Study shows many organizations with budgets under $1 million financially illiterate

Financial literacy is one of those buzz terms that many nonprofits use when prospecting for board members.


Accounting Procedures Manual Template

Is preparing an accounting procedures manual on your to-do list?