A financial statement for a non-profit is much more than just a collection of figures and accounting data. While the financial statement does indeed document a non-profit’s incoming and outgoing cash flows for a certain period, it actually does much more than that. It is, in fact, the key to a non-profit’s ability to conduct business successfully and sustainably. By recording the donations, grants and expenditures of the non-profit, a financial statement enables a non-profit to show its business dealings transparently, attract donors and ensure compliance with the relevant authorities. These statements are usually also required for tax purposes.
What goes into a financial statement?
To get a better understanding of the non-profit financial statement, let’s break it down into its four constituent parts and examine each separately. Each financial statement that is drawn up for a non-profit consists of the following:
- Statement of Financial Position
- Statement of Activities
- Statement of Cash Flows
- Statement of Functional Expenses
The Statement of Financial Position is a summary of the non-profit’s balance sheet at the end of a specific period—usually a particular financial year. It shows the organization’s assets minus its liabilities, reflected in the equation Assets = Liabilities + Net Assets. A non-profit’s assets are all the items or property that it owns or benefits from. Liabilities are what the organization owes. The net assets consist of the dollar value of the residual assets left over once liabilities are taken into account.
The Statement of Activities (income statement) reflects all the business activities conducted by the organization within the given period: all the incoming transactions versus the various expenses. The difference between these two is the change in net assets (net income) for the given period.
The Statement of Cash Flows records all of the movements of money into and out of the organization, providing explanations for all of the revenue and expenses reflected in the previous statements. A Statement of Cash Flows is divided into operating, investing, and financing activities.
The Statement of Functional Expenses shows expenses of each functional area of the organization, such as programs, fundraising, and management. This is most beneficial to non-profits because it enables them to show potential donors exactly how their money is being spent.
If you run a non-profit, you need accurate and thorough financial statements. It is always best to give this task to experienced certified public accountants. Georgen Scarborough is a firm of CPA’s in Vienna, VA. Contact us for more information.