Counting the money in your wallet or purse is an act of accounting. If you ever make a note of how much you have, you’re even performing a bookkeeping function. You count things all the time in everyday life without thinking twice about accounting. For example, you count the plates before setting the table at home. You count the number of e-mails you receive while you’re out of the office. Even a gesture such as looking at your watch and thinking about how much time you have before your next appointment is a form of accounting.
Bookkeeping and accounting are service activities that involve auditing, tax services, management advisory services, general accounting, cost accounting, budgeting, and internal auditing. Even though your organization is a nonprofit, these services are essential parts of your daily activities. Without them, your nonprofit can’t survive the long haul. In the wake of increased accountability, understanding how to track and account for the everyday activities of your nonprofit is important. Keeping the books for a nonprofit is exciting. Getting federal grant money to fund your programs relieves financial stress. Getting a clean bill of health from your financial audit adds credibility. I devote this book to all nonprofits that add credibility to the sector by keeping their books in order.