How to Read a Nonprofit Financial Statement Nonprofit Management

statement of cash

This allows your organization to make sure you’re on track with your budgeted regular expenses. As you can see, the report is divided into the revenue and expenses along the vertical axis. Horizontally, the revenue and expenses are further categorized by restrictions placed on the funds. At the bottom of the report, there’s a section dedicated to the net assets of the organization.

For example, granting organizations may require the funds provided to be dedicated toward a specific service or purpose. In-kind donations are often made to nonprofit organizations in support of their missions. While these may be more complex to record in your financial systems, it’s still important to recognize these gifts in your financial statements.

What is a Statement Of Activities in a Nonprofit an understanding of the types of financial statements that are used by nonprofit organizations, and how they differ from for-profit financial reporting. Also, the course demonstrates the power and limitations of accounting information in assessing financial performance and decision-making. You will also learn the uses of financial statement analysis, or ratio analysis for nonprofit organizations. Another financial statement produced by nonprofit organizations is the Statement of Cash Flows, which is produced following the same procedures used by for-profit companies. This statement shows the inflow and outflow of cash within the organization.

nonprofit financial statement

Without an adequate understanding of the basic financial statements, nonprofit board members will struggle to make informed financial decisions that will significantly impact the organization’s operation. Plus, they will run the risk of misappropriating funds, leading to poor program implementation and management. Therefore, to maintain a healthy financial outlook, nonprofit boards must become familiar with financial statements to prevent bad financial management and build a thriving organization. In today’s podcast, Melisa Galasso From Galasso Learning Solutions and Stephen Halasnik from Financing Solutions discuss the importance of financial statement knowledge for nonprofit board members. Unlike the income statement, the statement of activities normally has three columns for each reporting period, as you will see below.

Financial Control Recommendations For Small Nonprofits

The reports and statements generated for nonprofit finances are geared toward ensuring the organization stays accountable to its donors and constituents. All of the organization’s departments should have a general understanding of these reports so they can better work together to help the organization succeed. The form and content of these statements are prescribed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board in their codification 958.

  • Those who read the statements use them to assess the performance of the nonprofit and ensure donor funds are wisely spent.
  • Capital Business Solution’s nonprofit fundraising software training assists in understanding how to prepare financial reports for nonprofit organizations.
  • A nonprofit accountant creating a functional expense report for a nonprofit business first needs to classify each expense by its functional classification.
  • Out of the four most common financial statements in a nonprofit, the Statement of Activities, also known as the Profit & Loss (P&L), is the broadest.

Keep in mind that your normal balance 990 isn’t the only tax requirement that nonprofits must meet to remain compliant. Be sure to send any necessary donation receipts to your donors, sponsors, and other eligible organizations. Research the tax implications of other fundraising activities you might conduct as well. This calculation shows your organization’s liquidity, allowing you to evaluate the risk your nonprofit can take. Generally, if you have fewer than three months of LUNA, you should take action to readdress your financial positioning. If you have more than three months of LUNA, you have a little more flexibility that can be used to fund organizational growth.

You’ll not only gain a better understanding of how much money flows into your organization on a monthly basis but also of how much your nonprofit spends monthly. Nonprofit financial statements paint a comprehensive picture of the activities and operations of the nonprofit. By reading them, board members, donors, industry watchdogs, and other interested parties can judge the performance of the nonprofit, viewing details on everything from liquidity to the effectiveness of fundraising efforts. Improved management of resources can help your nonprofit organization to achieve its goals more efficiently and effectively.

Statement of cash flows

Our credit line is a better alternative to a bank loan or a bank line of credit because it is faster, easier, and more affordable. Nonprofit accounting differs from business accounting, because nonprofits don’t exist to make profits. They instead fulfill missions aimed at addressing specific needs in our society. Donor or other contractual restrictions that make them unavailable for general expenditure within one year of the balance sheet date. The contributions receivable are subject to implied time restrictions but are expected to be collected within one year. Net assets without donor restrictions – The part of net assets of a not-for-profit entity that is not subject to donor-imposed restrictions .

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The team of nonprofit accounting experts at Smith and Howard serves museums, arts + culture institutions, galleries, and various organizations nationwide. Regardless of whether you’re new to the nonprofit world or an experienced industry leader, navigating financial statements can be challenging. What percentage of expenses is for program functional expenses versus other categories? It is important to see the distinction between restricted and unrestricted as only unrestricted revenue can be used to pay bills. When a restriction is satisfied, those monies are moved from restricted to unrestricted and then used for expenses.

Despite all of the good that nonprofits do, they still need to accurately report their expenses to the government through a statement of functional expenses. Much like the statement of financial position, the statement of activities must distinguish restricted funds from unrestricted funds. Common revenue categories include earned revenue and donor contributions, while expenses are typically split into program and non-program expenses. This statement will detail the expenses incurred during the reporting period and allocate it by program services and support services.

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As shown below, this is accomplished by listing each net asset fund in a separate column. They may also fail to properly disclose the “fund balance” by restriction; however, this is usually corrected on the audited financial statements prepared by the external auditing firm. Further, the financial statements help nonprofits board manage their financial resources and guide them through making informed decisions that will affect the bottom line.

For the last thirty years, I have primarily audited governments, nonprofits, and small businesses. For example, donor-restricted net assets can be broken down into the amount maintained in perpetuity and the amount expected to be spent over time or for a particular purpose. This blog is an original work of the attributed author and is shared with permission via Foundant Technologies’ website for informative purposes only as part of our educational content in the philanthropic sector. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect Foundant’s stance on this topic.

At GrowthForce, we specialize in helping for-profit and non-profit organizations keep their finger on the financial pulse, so they can focus on what really matters – achieving their greatest potential. Ensuring complete accuracy in these statements requires a robust financial infrastructure and support from specialized nonprofit accounting professionals. Nonprofit accounting has complex areas, and there are many nuances that must be considered during the preparation of these statements. Defining whether an expense is a program or support expense is rarely a black and white issue. Allocating these costs proportionally demands the expertise of specialized nonprofit accounting professionals.


The totals of the two net asset classifications must be presented inthe statement of financial position, and the amount of the change in the two classes must be displayed in the statement of activities . Nonprofits will continue to provide information about the nature and amounts of donor restrictions. The nonprofit statement of cash flows is designed to help nonprofits recognize how cash moves in and out of the organization.

I would think that “Net assets without donor restrictions” would be misleading to the users. External and direct internal investment expenses are netted with investment income and should not be included in the expense analysis. Form 990-N. This is the shortest tax form your nonprofit may have to file. It’s an eight-question online form designed for the smallest organizations that receive less than $50,000 in gross receipts on an annual basis. Nonprofits receive revenue from several different sources throughout the year, including individual contributors, granting organizations, donated materials, and investment returns. All of this should be recorded by source in the revenue section of the report.

A nonprofit statement of activities example will have a heading, body, and bottom line. A multi-column format will be used to present the increases and decreases in net assets according to the intent of the donor with column headings for unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted. Your nonprofit’s statement of financial position lists your organization’s assets, liabilities, and net assets in a single document for your organization to review. The accounting report that will help you keep an eye on how cash moves at your organization is your nonprofit statement of cash flows. For example, some studies show that nonprofits bring in less than 5% of their annual fundraising revenue during July and August.

Nonprofits receive revenue from a number of different sources, all of which are essential to helping the organization pursue its mission. The majority of this revenue will be recorded as gross in your statement of activities. Expenses in a matrix, which includes both the natural and functional expenses by program, according to FASB Statement 117.

The P&L covers all the organization’s programmatic, fundraising, and administrative expenses incurred during the period. The statement also reports all the revenue generated during the period, regardless of the source. The statement of activities is one of the main financial statements issued by a nonprofit organization. It is prepared instead of the income statement issued by a for-profit business. Sometimes, revenue earned by nonprofit organizations has restrictions placed on it by the revenue source.

Non-profit revenue is the amount of cash generated by an organization – either through contributions, memberships, fundraising events, and fees – that are considered primary to its operation. Non-profit revenue is reflected in its Statement of Activities, the equivalent of a for-profit’s income statement, and its Statement of Financial Position. In the FAN example, the total column for 2018 total income shows the full $60,000 multi-year grant and reports a surplus of $40,325.

Assigning a point person is another great way to stay on top of the finances. Leaders should have one go-to staff member, or accounting partner, who is responsible for analyzing reports and transactions efficiently enough to relay a fair summary of the financial position to interested parties. A competent accounting manager will be able to stay current in the financial details, give regular updates, and reach out at the first sign of an issue. Internal controls in an organization help to ensure procedures are followed according to accounting standards to avoid theft, fraud, and unnecessary errors. Nonprofits must make sure there are proper procedures and separation of duties in the accounting and finance departments.