If you’re considering a career in public accounting, you might be wondering: “What do Not-for-profit Accountants do?” Listed below are some of the things an NFP accountant does. They do some things: Pay payroll, prepare Form 990, review accounts to ensure they meet GAAP standards, and communicate with decision-makers. The NFP niche is one of the fastest-growing areas of the profession.
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Nonprofits should follow a specific schedule to pay their employees. Typically, this is either weekly or bi-weekly. When an employee is paid, the organization must withhold a certain percentage of the paycheck for federal and state taxes. The portion owned by the employee is made up of Medicare Tax (1.5%), Social Security Tax (6.2%), and the federal withholding indicated on the W-4 form. Additionally, the nonprofit must pay any applicable state employment taxes.
While it may seem like a simple task, payroll for not-for-profits can be complicated. These organizations must comply with federal and state tax laws and pay attention to details like taxes and benefits. As such, it’s essential that no one individual processes payroll for the nonprofit and that a second individual verifies the data.
Prepare Form 990
Not-for-profit accountants prepare Forms 990 for nonprofit organizations. Not-for-profits use Form 990 to demonstrate their accomplishments and value to the community, and it asks questions about the organization’s importance, services provided, mission, and community outreach. The documents also improve the transparency of nonprofit operations. The papers may include up to 16 schedules, each containing information about the organization’s policies, procedures, and finances.
Not-for-profit organizations are required by law to publish their Form 990. Because the document is public, potential donors can evaluate not-for-profits to see if they’re worthy of their donations. If you’re not familiar with Form 990, it’s best to hire an accountant knowledgeable in nonprofit accounting | nonprofit audit | Porte Brown to help you prepare it. It’s a complex document, so you need someone who understands nonprofit tax laws and accounting standards. Many nonprofits attempt to prepare Form 990 themselves, but the mistakes they make can result in an audit by the IRS and the expense of paying someone else to fix errors. Likewise, you wouldn’t try to work on an automated vehicle if you didn’t know how to operate it.
NonprofitNonprofit organizations are held to a high standard for reporting their financials and activities to the IRS. Government officials, donors, and the media scrutinize these organizations on their performance. They prepare an annual informational return to highlight their mission and success. NonprofitNonprofit accountants are familiar with the financial and narrative sections of Form 990 and how to improve the organization’s operational effectiveness.
Review accounts for GAAP standards.
Not-for-profit accountants review nonprofits’ accounts for compliance with GAAP standards. NonprofitsNonprofits, like Good Dog Animal Shelter, must use GAAP standards when preparing financial statements. These rules are outlined by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
Not-for-profits are subject to specific GAAP standards applicable to the organization’s industry. Wiley’s Not-For-Profit GAAP 2020 provides practical guidance on functional criteria. This resource is a must-have for any professional tasked with reviewing not-for-profit accounts. It also teaches the relevant principles and practices of accounting for nonprofits.
Communicate with decision-makers
A Not-for-profit organization has a wide variety of stakeholders, including board members, donors, and constituents. While the work of an accountant can vary wildly, the most crucial aspect of the job is communicating with decision-makers. In the nonprofit sector, this means providing information that can support decision-making. Not-for-profits should focus on four core areas of their business: mission fulfillment, the quality of goods and services provided to constituents, and financial sustainability. Those are all areas where nonprofits should focus, but they also need to balance the complexity of reporting with the need for data-driven decision-making.