Bookkeeping Tasks for Churches and Nonprofits
Staying on top of your bookkeeping is essential if you plan to run a tight ship at your nonprofit. As a bookkeeper, there is no shortage of tasks and overlooking just one can bite you later on down the road. We want your organization to have the best chance at succeeding, so we have designed a checklist for you to follow, which covers the responsibilities most nonprofits and churches complete every week and every month.
If at any time you feel overwhelmed, consider talking to an expert to make sure your accounting is set up correctly, following best practices, and using the right fund accounting tools. Once you learn the ropes you will find each month will get simpler and simpler. Of course, you may find that you would rather just have someone do these tasks for you. If that is you, you may want to consider hiring an outsourced bookkeeping service that understands the needs of nonprofits and churches.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each item on the Bookkeeping Checklist to help you understand a bit more about how to accomplish these tasks for your organization.
Record all the expenses you accrued over the course of the week. Be sure to note if they were used for a specific fund, such as a grant or mission fund.
Bills received/pay bills
Record the bills you’ve received and be sure to pay any bills that are due. When you record bills you receive, be sure to note the current balance and due date so you can keep in mind how it will impact your cash flow. Before paying bills, check your account balances and outstanding checks to confirm you have funds available.
Expenses for reimbursements/print checks
Be sure to record any expense you may need to reimburse. These may include receipts you received from volunteers or staff for any approved expenses. Once you track the approved expenses, print and send out reimbursement checks.
Record your donations. Your donations need to be tracked for donation statements by donor as well as a deposit in your accounting. Be sure to note if any of the gifts are allocated for a specific fund or purpose. If you are using Aplos for your bookkeeping software, you can create a single deposit entry in the check register to track for both purposes.
Send out letters to any new donors and to anyone who gave a major gift. The process for acknowledging gifts varies between organizations, but it is always a great idea to thank your donors for their gift within a week or two of receipt.
Prepare and send out your invoices and receive payments on invoices. Not every nonprofit and church uses invoices, but it is common for private schools, member based entities, and some nonprofits.
Record any other income you received.
Trip to the bank
Deposit any necessary cash or checks into your bank. Use good internal controls by having two people count all cash and sign the deposit slip. Plus, verify the deposit slip matches the amount entered in the bookkeeping.
Payroll journal entries
Process your payroll and post any needed journal entries. Here are some sample payroll journal entries.
Cash balance/cash flow
Be sure to review your cash balance and the health of your cash flow. This includes looking at the balances of each fund.
Complete your bank reconciliations for all your bank and credit card accounts. This ensures that your bookkeeping records match your actual bank balances. It is also an important internal control. If you are using Aplos, completing a bank reconciliation will prevent old transactions from being edited to prevent fraud and accidentally changing closed periods.
Aged receivables report/past due invoices
Review your aged receivables report and send out statements for any invoices that are past due.
Post any write-off journal entries for bad debts. Here is a sample journal entry for writing off bad debt.
Fixed asset depreciation
Post any fixed asset depreciation journal entries. If you aren’t sure you are tracking your fixed assets correctly, check out our ebook on Fixed Assets.
Accrue interest on any lines of credit or loans.
Check your inventory status for all supplies.
Federal/state payroll reports
Complete all of your federal or state payroll reports that are due. Some states require that these be reported monthly or quarterly.
Pay your payroll tax payments that are due. Taxes due vary by state.
Review your financial reports. These include income statements for the month compared to prior month, prior year, and budget, as well as the balance sheet and fund balances.