As many folks in the nonprofit world understand, there is an extraordinary range of ability and experience relating to those tasked with accounting duties. So whether you’re a brand new volunteer being handed a “Good Luck” sticky note on the “Yellow Book” or a seasoned professional with many years of nonprofit accounting experience, there is a plethora of information online to help in your particular area of need. In fact, the sheer quantity of information out in cyberspace can be overwhelming and filled with sneaky (or not so sneaky) sales sites rather than purely informational assistance. In my very limited experience, I have picked out a few “go-to” references that cover both broad and specific topics. I hope you find these helpful. In full disclosure, I am a CPA and a member of the AICPA.
Nonprofit Accounting Basics – A website organized through the Greater Washington Society of CPAs for small to mid-sized nonprofits to assist with accountability, governance, and management. They have a wealth of information ranging from Starting a Nonprofit and Accounting 101 to Governance & Policies.
IRS – Yes, the name may initially be a bit intimidating, but why not go to the source for your tax-related questions? This is also a great resource if you are just starting a charity and need some assistance information. Of note is their section on unrelated business income – make sure your organization is in compliance!
AICPA – The American Institute of CPAs has some excellent resources for Exempt Organizations Taxation; however, a lot of their content is available only through AICPA and Tax membership or through the purchase of resources.
Independent Sector – A 30-year old membership-based nonprofit dedicated to helping nonprofits. Among many other resources, their “Word on Washington” section provides Capitol Hill news relevant to nonprofits (free to all). If you’re willing to fork out for a membership for certain resources, check it out.
AccountingCoach– A resource designed for those without an accounting background; however, this website can be helpful for all who may need a refresher. There is a ton of helpful information presented in a simple, easy-to-digest format without the requirement of membership, with resources for purchase available as well.
The NonProfit Times – A higher-level resource geared more for Management that comes in print form too with a subscription.
I also encourage use of forums / twitter relevant to your position at your organization; it is incredibly useful to connect with those sharing similar experiences in order to learn from their experiences and to bounce ideas / questions off others.
Murrell Timmons, CPA
Murrell was born in the Charleston, SC area. She went off to college to play sports and graduated from Lees-McRae College in NC with a BS in Math, mainly because she was adverse to writing papers. After college, she worked most every random job, joined the Peace Corps, traveled the world, and returned to the Lowcountry, homing in on a Masters of Accounting from the College of Charleston in order to become a CPA. She served her time at one of the “Big 4” accounting firms and found her niche at Omatic Software, helping run the finance and HR departments in a never-dull atmosphere with clients making a difference.