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Non Profit revenue accounting issues

Not-for-profit entities usually receive minimal - if any - revenue from traditional sources like sales. Discuss the accounting issues that arise because of this.

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First, some general statements about the peculiar properties of non-profit corporations:

1. They are usually organized as regular corporations, and then they apply for tax exempt status. To be tax exempt requires lengthy narrative statements about both sources and uses of funds received.

2. They adhere much more closely to a budget (or a group of budgets) which are often 'cast in stone'. A non-profit usually knows the source of revenues and the categories of expenses for the use of the revenue before the year begins.

3. Non-profit accounting could be loosely compared to job cost accounting. Each little job (pocket of revenue) must be accounted for separately, and each little job will be different from other jobs.

4. The hard part is that all revenue must be spent according to plan. Under-spending will mean the return of funds. Over-spending will generate a loss with no way to cover it.

5. Non-profits rarely own hard assets and almost never have any financing or loans. They also should never have a profit, by definition.

Accounting issues:

If a non-profit generates miscellaneous income, the ...

Solution Summary

The 677 word solution first provides some general statements about the function of non profit organizations followed by several paragraphs relating to particular accounting issues. There are several links to articles for better understanding. After reading this solution, the issues and oddities of non-profit accounting should be fairly clear.