Have you ever wondered how not-for-profit organizations are not-for-profit? Or how not-for-profit organizations can operate at an accounting profit but still be considered a not-for-profit organization? Over the year’, not-for-profit organizations have had many changes in rules and regulations set forth for not-for-profit organizations to abide by. There are three major financial statements involved with not-for-profit organizations and one voluntary financial statement, plus four key governmental and federal agencies involved with not-for-profit accounting.

There are some key differences between not-for-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. Also, how not-for-profit organizations can keep a tax exempt status. I did not realize there were so many parts that go with not-for-profit accounting. It takes a lot of work to keep not-for-profit organizations going not just internally but externally as well. When people are willing to put in time, effort, and money it is what helps not-for-profit organizations be so successful.

In order to maintain not-for-profit status, organizations must follow a strict set of a guideline’s, set forth by federal and governmental agencies on their financial statements and of the accounting basis. A not-for-profit organization is defined as, “an entity that possesses the following characteristics: (1) receives significant resources from donors who do not expect equivalent value in return; (2) operates for purposes other than to provide goods or services at a profit; and (3) lacks an identifiable individual or group of individuals who hold a legally enforceable residual claim.

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Entities that fall outside this definition include all investor-owned enterprises and other organizations that provide economic benefits to the owners, members, or participants. ” (p. G-12) A for-profit organization is a business whose main goal is making a profit. Non-profit and for-profit have a broad similarity; they both operate at a profit. However, there are many differences between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Some of the major differences are nonprofits, if approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are exempt from income taxes.

For-profits have to pay income taxes. The revenues for nonprofit organizations are donations, membership dues, program fees, fundraisers, and grants. Revenues for for-profit organizations are the sale of merchandise, fees from services, and gains on investments. Nonprofit’s main financial statement is a Statement of Financial Position. The Statement of Financial Position reports assets, liabilities, and net assets. A for-profit’s main financial statement is a balance sheet. A balance sheet tells you a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholder’s equity at a certain point in time.

There are three financial statements that are required for all not-for-profit organizations and one that is not required but many organizations use it. The first statement is a Statement of Activities. The Statement of Activities is to show revenues, expenses, gains, losses, and reclassification. Usually in the Statement of Activities expenses and revenues are reported in gross and gains and losses are reported in net. Also, it shows the changes in net assets and by their change in class either by unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted.

Unrestricted net assets are the total assets over the total liabilities that may be used at the will of the board. Temporarily restricted net assets are restricted by the donors. These assets maybe restricted for time, or plant acquisitions. Permanently restricted met assets are permanently restricted by donors. The second financial statement is the Statement of Financial Position. The Statement of Financial Position compares organizations totals, with assets organized to liquidity and liabilities. In the equity section of the statement, it separates totals for unrestricted, temporarily, and permanently restricted net assets.

The third financial statement is the Statement of Cash Flows is a statement for proprietary funds. When doing the Statement of Cash Flows you can use either the direct or indirect method. The direct method is when cash flow is shown by receipts from customers or payment to supplies or salaries. The indirect method is when cash flows are reconciled from change in net assets to cash flows from operations. You can use either the direct or indirect method in reporting on Statement 117. Statement 117 helps compare to the other financial statements, i/e, Statement of Activities, Statement of Financial Position, and Statement of Functional Expenses.

The fourth financial statement is the Statement of Functional Expenses is for voluntary and welfare organizations. The Statement of Functional Expenses shows expenses by function and objects. Functional expenses is fundraising expenses, program expenses, management expenses, and other general expenses. Object classification expenses would include supply expenses, rent expense, and salary expenses. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) does not require the Statement of Functional Expense for every not-for-profit organizations. Like every organization and business, there are governing and federal agencies you have to report to.

Nonprofit organizations have four governing/federal agencies they have to report to, all with different rules and regulations. The first agency nonprofit organizations have to report to is the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The FASB was established in 1973. The FASB is, “Issued by the National Association of Colleges and University Business Officers (NACUBO) as additional illustrative guidance for accounting and financial reporting for both public and private institutions of higher education. ” (p. G-7). The FASB sets standards for for-businesses and nongovernmental not-for-profit organizations.

The FASB publishes an organized version of its accounting standards. The rules and regulations include financial statements, interpretations of the rules, and technical bulletins. The first seven sections cover financial statements, and all of its components, and general principles. The eighth section sets standards for transactions. The ninth section sets standards for individuals. In 1993, the FASB began setting standards for not-for-profit organizations. They set two standards, Statement 116, accounting for Contributions Received and Contributions Made and Statement 117, and financial statements of not-for-profit organization.

Before the FASB started setting standards; colleges, hospitals, and charities followed different regulations. The FASB has the most standard setting authority. The accounting practices are affected by two American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) guidelines; they are for not-for-profit organizations the Not-for-Profit Guide, and for Health Care Organizations is the Health Care Guide. The Not-for-Profit Guide is for nongovernmental nonprofit, voluntary health and welfare, and non-health care organizations. The Health Care Guide is for private not-for-profit organizations, governmentally owned, and private investors.

The next organization is the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). GASB was established in 1984. GASB is an “Independent agency established under the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) in 1984 to set accounting standards for state and local governments and for governmentally related not-for-profit organizations. (p. G-9). ” GASB was established to help with differences between governments and for-profit governments. GASB is not governmental, but a branch off of FAF, which is a private not-for-profit organization. GASB is funded under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

GASB standards are not federal laws or regulations, and cannot enforce authority. However, GASB’s regulations are enforced by some states and in auditing practices. GASB rule book reports the following issues, “Appoints an advisory task force of outside experts, studies existing literature on the subject and conducts or commissions additional research if necessary, publishes a discussion document for public comment setting forth the issues or concerns being addressed and possible solutions, broadly distributes an Exposure Draft of a proposed standard for public comment, and conducts public hearings and forums on its due process documents. <www. gasb. org> GASB meetings are open to the public, and has eight board members that are appointed by the Trustees of the FAF for a five year term and may serve up to ten years. The third organization is the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB). The FASAB is a “Standards-setting body that promulgates federal government accounting and financial reporting standards” (p. G-7). The FASAB was established in October 1990, by three officials, who were responsible for federal financial reporting as a federal advisory committee.

The three officials were the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Office of Management and Budgets, and the Comptroller General of the United States. Now, the FASAB Board consists of ten members, two from the executive branch, two from the legislative branch, and six who are not employed with the federal government. FASAB was created to develop accounting standards and principles for the United States Government. The FASAB rules and egulations become effective unless they are opposed by the United State Government Accountability Office (GAO), the United State Department of Treasury, or the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

These rules apply to financial reports issued by federal and governmental agencies and to the consolidated Financial Report of the United States Government. FASAB rules and regulations (Statements of Federal Financial Accounting Standards) are the highest level of rules and regulations in AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct for federal governmental entities. The FASB has developed a conceptual framework to guide the Board in the development of new standards. The Concept Statements are not authoritative, but they identify user needs, the objectives of the financial reports, and definitions of the reporting entity and the elements of the financial statements. ” (p. 426). The fourth is Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). GAAP was established after the Great Depression. “GAAP refers to the standard framework of guidelines for financial accounting used in any given jurisdiction; generally known as accounting standards.

GAAP includes the standards, conventions, and rules accountants follow in recording and summarizing, and in the preparation of financial statements. ” <www. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Generally_accepted_accounting_principles> GAAP is not just one rules, but a set of many rules on business transactions. The FASAB, GASB, and FASB rules and regulations are the main sources from GAAP. There are more than one-hundred fifty rules and regulations from different kinds of business transactions. Some of these rules and regulations for these transactions would include payroll, sales, inventory, and stocks and bonds.

The companies who report to GAAP, report financial statements all the same way. “Principles derive from tradition, such as the concept of matching. In any report of financial statements (audit, compilation, review, etc. ), the preparer/auditor must indicate to the reader whether or not the information contained within the statements complies with GAAP. ” < http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Generally_accepted_accounting_principles>. These principles are: a principle of regularity, principle of consistency, principles of sincerity, principle of the performance methods, materiality oncept, and principle of non-compensation, principle of prudence, principle of continuity, principle of periodicity, principle of Full Disclosure and Materiality, and principle of utmost good faith. Being a not-for-profit organization has its benefits. You are doing a good deed for the community and helping people out. However, not-for-profit organizations have to go through a lot to become a not-for-profit organization and be tax exempt. In order to become tax exempt, not-for-profit organizations have to apply to the IRS in order to be exempt from federal income taxes.

Another issue is that if a donor’s contributions will be a deduction on their income taxes. Churches, school, and humanitarian organizations qualify as a charitable deduction. “However, there are nonprofits that qualify as tax-exempt but their donors’ contributions do not qualify as charitable deduction (although they may qualify as a business expense). Examples of these nonprofits include social organizations, chambers of commerce, college fraternities and sororities, amateur sports club, employee organizations, and more. <http://www. accountingcoach. com/nonprofit-accounting/>. Even if the organization is tax exempt employees still have to pay employment taxes. Also, they may or may not depending on the state they are incorporated with are exempt from sales tax and real estate taxes. In order to start a not-for-profit organization in Missouri there are five steps you to do before you are considered at not-for-profit-organization. The first step in becoming a not-for-profit organization is to file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State.

The second step is to apply for a tax exempt state with the Internal Revenue Service. This can take anywhere from three months to year for the IRS to decide whether or not to approve this request, you have to submit Form 1023. The third step is to obtain a Missouri Corporate Income and Franchise Tax Exemptions. Not-for-profit organizations that file Forms 990, 990EZ, and 990PF do not have to file a Missouri Corporation Income Tax Return, and corporation Franchise Tax. The fourth step is to attain a Missouri Sales Tax Exemption.

You have to submit form 1746 along with a copy of your organization’s IRS Determination Letter and Certificate of Incorporation, Bylaw’s, and a complete financial history for the years of incorporation up to three years. If you are just starting up you can use an estimated budget for the year. The fifth step is to register with the Missouri Attorney General. Before soliciting funds in Missouri you must submit the Initial Registrations Statement to the Attorney General’s office.

The initial Registration statement is a joint registration for each legislative agent engaged by an employer. Organizations that have been given tax-exempt status by the IRS do not have to complete this filling. Instead they should submit a copy of the IRS Determination Letter with a note of explanation that the organization wishes to start soliciting in Missouri.


Copley, Paul A.. Essentials of Accounting for Governmental and Not-For-Profit Organizations. 11th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print. FASB: Financial Accounting Standards Board. ” FASB: Financial Accounting Standards Board. N. p. , n. d. Nov. 2012. <http://www. fasb. org>. “fasab. gov. ” fasab. gov. N. p. , n. d. Nov. 2012. <http://www. fasab. gov>. “GASB: Governmental Accounting Standards Board. ” GASB: Governmental Accounting Standards Board. N. p. , n. d. Nov. 2012. <http://www. gasb. org>. “Generally accepted accounting principles – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. ” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N. p. , n. d. Nov. 2012. <http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/Generally_accepted_accounting_princples>. laws. “Featured Articles | Nonprofit Accounting Basics. ” Featured Articles | Nonprofit Accounting Basics. N. p. , n. d. Oct. 2012. <http://www. nonprofitaccountingbasics. org/. > Nonprofit (Not-for-profit) Accounting | AccountingCoach. com. ” Learn Accounting Online for Free | AccountingCoach. com. N. p. , n. d. Oct. 2012. <http://www. accountingcoach. com/nonprofit-accounting/>. “Not For Profit Accounting. ” Not For Profit Accounting. N. p. , n. d. Oct. 2012. <http://www. notforprofitaccounting. net/>.


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