Accounting For Non-Profit Organization
Accounting For Non-Profit Organization

Accounting For Non-Profit Organization


This postulation is devoted to Allah, my Creator and my Master, and envoy,
Mohammed (May Allah favor and give him), who showed us the motivation behind life. My
country Pakistan is the hottest womb; Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad; my second wonderful home; My awesome guardians, who never quit giving of themselves in incalculable ways, My dearest friend, who drives me through the valley of dimness with the light of trust and support, My cherished siblings and sisters; especially my dearest sibling, who remains by me when things look disheartening, My beloved Parents: whom I can’t compel myself to quit loving. All the general population in my life who touch my heart, I commit to this research.

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In nonprofit accounting, you should create financial statements to report your business’s finances. For-profit businesses use three main financial statements, which are income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Nonprofit businesses use similar financial statements, but they have different names and are organized differently. Nonprofit accounting relies on using the statement of financial position (balance sheet), statement of activities (income statement), and cash flow statement. The statement of financial position gives you a screenshot of the health of your nonprofit during a period of time. The statement shows your assets, liabilities, and net assets. Unlike the balance sheet, the nonprofit version substitutes net assets for equity. Your net assets plus liabilities must equal your assets on the statement of financial position. Net assets are classified in one of two ways: with donor restrictions or without donor restrictions. If donors make donations for specific purposes, you must label them as “with donor restrictions.” The statement of activities works similarly to the income statement. Its purpose is to report revenue and expenses during a period of time. Like the statement of financial position, you must report revenues with or without donor restrictions. Lastly, the cash flow statement shows you how much money is entering and leaving your organization during a specific time period. The cash flow statement organizes cash into three categories, which are operating, investing, and financing activities. You can have either positive or negative cash flow in your nonprofit.


A non-profit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or non-profit institution, is dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view. In economic terms, non-profit organizations are organizations whose objective is not to make profits but to serve humanity. Examples of such organizations are chemical societies, schools, hospitals, charitable institutions, welfare societies clubs, public libraries, resident welfare associations, sports clubs, etc. These are also called Not-for-profit organizations (NPOs). These organizations provide services to their members and to the general public. Their main source of income is membership registration fees, subscriptions, donations, grant-in-aid, etc.

The Chemical Society was formed in 1841 (then named the Chemical Society of London) by 77 scientists as a result of increased interest in scientific matters (RSC, 2014). Chemist Robert Warrington was the driving force behind its creation. One of the aims of the Chemical Society was to hold meetings for “the communication and discussion of discoveries and observations, an account of which shall be published by the Society”. In 1847, its importance was recognized by a Royal Charter, which added to its role in the advancement of science, and the development of chemical applications in industry. Its members included eminent chemists from overseas including August Wilhelm von Hofmann (RSC, 2014).

Chemical Society’s basic account practice involved the financing of the overall financial control and management of the Society. This includes the proper recording and classification of all financial transactions of the Society Operations; the consolidation of financial data for all business units and subsidiaries; preparation of financial statements and reports; preparation and presentation of the budget; development and implementation of financial systems; tax planning and compliance; and any other financial related matters. Finance also provides financial analysis and support to all State branches of Society in Nigeria. Finance consists of Payroll, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Tax, General Accounting, Budgets and Analysis, and Financial Systems.

As the money is involved in the activities of these organizations, they also maintain accounts. These organizations prepare certain statements to ascertain the results in financial terms of their activities for a particular period, for example, annually.

Characteristics of NoN-Profit Organizations (NPO)

The following are the salient features of not-for-profit organizations;

  1. The objective of such organizations is not to make a profit but to provide service to its members and to society in general
  2. The main source of income of these organizations is not the profit earned from the purchase and sale of goods and services but admission fees, subscriptions, donations, grant-in-aid, etc.
  3. These organizations are managed by a group of persons elected democratically by the members from among themselves. This group of persons is elected by members from among themselves. This group in the Chemical Society is called National/State Executives, for National and State levels respectively.
  4. They also prepare their accounts following the same accounting principles and systems that are followed by business-for-profit organizations that are run with the objective to earn profits.

The types of financial statements that are generally prepared by not-for-profit organizations are;

  1. Receipts and payment account
  2. Income and expenditure account
  3. Statement of affairs (balance sheet)

The receipts and payment account is the summary of cash and bank transactions which helps in the preparation of the income and expenditure account and the balance sheet.

The income and expenditure account is similar to the profit and loss account. Chemical Society usually prepares the income and expenditure account and balance sheet with the help of receipts and payments account.

Receipts and Payment Account

Like any other organization, the Chemical Society maintains a cash book to record cash transactions on day to day basis. But at the end of the year, they prepare a summary of cash transactions based on the cash book. This summary is prepared in the form of an account. It is called the Receipts and Payments account. All cash receipts and payments are recorded in this account whether these belong to the current year or next year or the previous year. All receipts and payments are recorded in this account whether these are of a revenue nature or capital nature. As it is an account so it has a debit side and the credit side. All receipts are recorded on its debit side while all payments are shown on the credit side. This account begins with opening cash and or/and a bank balance. The closing balance of this account is cash in hand and or cash at the bank/overdraft. Items in this account are recorded under suitable heads.

The following are the main features of the Receipts and Payments Account:

  1. It is prepared at the end of the year taking items from the cash book.
  2. It is the summary of all cash transactions of a year put under various heads.
  3. It records all cash transactions which occurred during the year concerned irrespective of the period they relate to i.e. previous/current/next year.
  4. It records cash transactions both of a revenue nature and capital nature.
  5. Like any other account, it begins with the opening balance and ends with the closing balance.

Items of Receipts and Payment Account

  1. Subscription

It is a regular payment made by the members of the organization. It is generally contributed annually. It is one of the main sources of income. It appears on the debit side i.e. Receipts side of the Receipts and Payments Account. Apart from the amount for the current year, it may include the amount pertaining to the previous year or advance payment for the next year.

  1. Membership Registration Fees, Entrance fees, or Admission fees

Whenever a person is admitted as a member of the organization certain amount is charged to him/her to give him/her admission. These are called Membership Registration Fees, Entrance Fees, or Admission fees. It is an item of income and is shown on the debit side of the Receipts and Payments Account.

  1. Fellow membership fees

Fellow Membership, if granted to a person who has contributed immensely or has recorded great impart in development of the society, a special fee is charged from him/her, this is called the Fellow Membership fee. It is charged annually per Fellow. It is a capital receipt for the organization.

  1. Life Patron membership fees

Life Patron Membership, if granted to a person for the whole life, a special fee is charged from him/her, this is called Life Patron Membership fees. It is charged once in the lifetime of a member. It is a capital receipt for the organization.

  1. Endowment fund

It is a fund that provides permanent means of support for the organization. Any contribution towards this fund is an item of capital receipt.

  1. Donation

Donation is the amount received from some person, fellows, members, firm, company, or any other body by way of gift. It is also an important item of receipt. It can be of two types:

(a) Specific donation: It is a donation received for a specific purpose. Examples of such donations are donations for completion, donations for the library, donations for the building, etc.

(b) General donation: It is a donation that is received not for some specific purpose. It can be of two types:

(i) General donation of big amount

(ii) General donation of a small amount

  1. Legacy

It is the amount that is received by organizations as per the will of a deceased person. It is treated as a capital receipt.

  1. Sale of Books of Proceedings/ Journals and periodicals

Book of Proceedings/ Journals or periodicals is sold and fetches some money. It is a source of revenue. It is taken to the debit of Receipts and Payments account.

  1. Sale of used newspapers

Old newspapers used are sold and fetched some money. It is a source of revenue. It is taken to the debit of Receipts and Payments account.

  1. Purchase of fixed assets

Assets such as buildings, Laboratory equipment, furniture, books, etc. are purchased for society. These are items of capital expenditure. These are shown on the credit side i.e. the payment side of the Receipts and Payments Account.

  1. Payment of honorarium

This is another item of payment. This is an amount paid to persons who are not employees of the society but who are part of the Executives of the organization. The remuneration paid to them is called an honorarium. For example, payment made to the General Secretary of the society as honorarium. This is a payment of revenue nature.

Differences between Non-Profits and Profit Organizations

There is no owner for NPOs, while the owners of the profit organizations are the shareholders.

  1. Primary Mission.

The primary mission of Society is to provide services needed by society while the profit organizations’ primary objective is to earn profits for the shareholders.

  1. Secondary Mission.

The secondary mission of Society is to ensure that revenues are greater than expenses so that the services provided can be maintained or expanded, while profit organizations’ secondary mission is to provide services or sell goods, in order to make a profit.

  1. Tax status.

Society is exempted from taxes while profit organizations pay tax on the profit generated during the accounting year.

  1. Source of Income.

The sources of income of the Society include grants, membership dues, contributions, fundraising events, sales of journals or periodic, program fees, and so on. While profit organizations’ source of income is from the issues of shares, sales of goods and services, and so on.


Revenues generated for Society are from;

  • Contributions
  • membership dues
  • program fees
  • fundraising events
  • grants
  • investment income
  • gain on the sale of investments


Economists generally agree on the assumption that the objectives of for-profit firms can be described in terms of profit maximization. Because the non-profit organization typically faces a non-distribution constraint, which prohibits the organization from distributing its net earnings to those who own or are in control of the organization (Hansmann, H., 1986, p. 58), the traditional framework of profit maximization does not apply here. If non-profit organizations (NPOs) do not exist to maximize profits, then why do they exist? What objectives do they pursue? What are the motivations of non-profit entrepreneurs? The bulk of the literature on NPOs addresses the demand side of NPOs. The public goods theory of Weisbrod and the contract failure theory of Hansmann for example1, suggest reasons why there is a demand for products or services produced by NPOs. Questions of objectives and goals on the other hand are addressed by supply-side theories. Despite their importance in understanding the behavior of organizations, theoretical as well as empirical supply-oriented work is not so numerous. This paper will summarize the main results and gaps of these supply-oriented theories of the non-profit sector in identifying the objectives of NPOs.

If the literature on the supply of NPOs is scarce, work on the internal organization and working of an NPO is, with a few exceptions, almost non-existing. As we will argue here, leaving the black-box view’ of the NPO and studying the internal Principal-Agent relations will also shed more light on the objectives of the NPO. Because “there is no consensus among economists regarding the objective function of non-profit organizations”, different hypotheses regarding the objective function or, in general, regarding their behavior, are found in the literature. Besides, when ownership is separated from control, defining the objective function of “the firm” becomes even more difficult since the objectives of the manager(s) need not necessarily coincide with the objectives of the owner(s). In the prevailing literature, it is not always obvious which of both objective functions is discussed.  The pre-eminent framework for studying the relationship between owner and manager is the Principal–Agent theory which therefore constitutes our basis for understanding the different objective functions found in the non-profit literature.

In the more philanthropic view of a non-profit organization, the objective function obtains some arguments that represent utility derived from the provision of services itself. Arguments often found in early literature are quantity and quality of provided services. A seminal work here is the model of Newhouse for a private non-profit hospital. To show that the non-profit form is usually less economically efficient for a hospital than the for-profit form, he developed what he called a “constrained quality-quantity maximizing model”. The objective of the hospital is to maximize the number of services provided and at the same time also the quality of care, while possibilities are limited by a budget constraint (Newhouse, J.P., 1970). Although with another purpose, namely to analyze the major rise of hospital costs during the early seventies in the United States, Feldstein also used the quality of care as a maximization function (Feldstein, M., 1971). In a more recent article, Frank and Salk ever (2000) also develop a model of a non-profit hospital to characterize the influence of diversification. Their utility function also includes the delivery of the services themselves. Similar models are developed for other industries like the performing arts (Hansmann, H., 1981) and universities (James, E. and E.Neuberger, 1981). If we define altruism as a property of people that derive utility from doing things that benefit other people, we can say that these models assume, although maybe implicitly, some altruistic motivations. Quality of care, and quantity of offered education, are objectives because people benefit from it. Also, Gassler postulates that “a substantial number of NPOs can be explained by altruistic motives more easily than selfish ones.

There exists a rich empirical literature that focuses on differences in the quality of services provided by hospitals of different institutional types. Some empirical examinations conclude that the non-profit form actually has a positive influence on the quality of the provided services (e.g. Mark, T.L., 1995), while others find no significant quality difference between the different forms of ownership (Sloan, F.A. et al, 1998).  Keeler and co-authors (1992) even find one indicator of quality that indicated higher quality for services provided by hospitals of the for-profit form (Sloan, F.A., 2000). Still, other authors show that difference in quality also depends on other factors like the presence of asymmetric information (Chou, S-Y., 2002) or the location of the organization (Mobley, L.R. and W.D. Bradford, 1997; Norton, E.C. and D.O.Staiger, 1994 ; Banks,D.A., 1993). To hold other possible influencing factors like location constant, Picone, Chou and Sloan (2002) study the level of quality in hospitals when these converted from non-profit or public status to the for-profit type. Their results indicate that conversion to the for-profit status reduces quality of services, at least for the first two years after conversion.  Most of these studies use impact of the hospital’s care on the patient’s health as performance measure, but assessing such impact is very difficult. McClellan and Staiger (2000) identify three problems in comparing hospital quality; a problem of measurement due to a lack of data, noise due to patient and environmental factors that also have an impact on the patient’s health and a bias in the results caused by possible patient selection by the hospital. The authors try to address these problems by using a different measure, i.e. a risk-adjusted mortality rate. This rate, based on data of serious health problems, addresses the noise problem by adjusting it for patient-related issues that could influence the results, e.g. age, gender, To avoid a possible bias in the results, their data only relate to “mortality and cardiac complications requiring rehospitalisation”, so the possibility of patient selection is strongly reduced. Their results indicate a slightly better performance of non-profit hospitals but they also indicate that this small difference between non-profit and for-profit hospitals masks a big variation within the various groups. Three in-depth case studies effected by the same authors suggest that for profit hospitals may choose to locate in areas where quality is on average poor.

It is probably wise to point out that all these observations are conducted in areas where non-profit as well as for-profit organisations are present.  Competition from one type of organisation could influence the behaviour of the other types of organisation present in the market so that not accounting for this possible influence could result in biased hypotheses about the NPO’s objectives and behaviour.

To use the words of DiMaggio and Powell (1983), once different organisations enter the same line of business, rational actors will make these organisations increasingly similar. They describe these processes of homogenization with the term Institutional Isomorphism (DiMaggio, P.J. and W.W.Powell, 1983, p. 149). Some authors (e.g. Hirth, R.A., 1999; Hansmann, H., 1980) believe that non-profit organisations do not only directly attribute to the quality of services but also indirectly improve overall quality via spill-over effects on the quality of the for-profit organisations. Grabowski and Hirth (2003) use an instrumental variables approach to test two models of the nursing home market. In the first, asymmetric information, model the existence of non-profit organisations is assumed to have a positive effect on both the quality of the for-profit competitors and on the overall quality of the sector. The second, full information, model assumes that the high quality of non-profit nursing homes will crowed out high quality for-profit nursing homes, so the overall quality of the for-profits will decrease and the general quality in the market will not change. Their results are consistent with the asymmetric information model and thus suggest that the presence of non-profit nursing homes will increase the quality of the entire sector. Others argue that the influence works the other way in that it is the for-profit organisation that forces the non-profit organisation to adopt a profit-maximizing behaviour. In a recent article, Duggan presents findings suggesting that not-profit hospitals do indeed behave differently in the presence of for-profit hospitals. The Californian non-profit hospitals in his sample responded more aggressive on financial incentives when they had to share the marketplace with for-profit competitors (Duggan,M., 2002). Cutler and Horwitz (2000) also argue, based on two in-depth case studies of conversions of non-profit hospitals to for-profit hospitals, that “having for-profit hospitals in the market appears to cause non-profit hospitals to adopt the same moneymaking measures employed by for-profit hospitals”. They define this phenomenon as the “inverse Hansmann problem”, referring to Hansmann’s seminal article of 1980 where he argues that non-profit hospitals will force for-profits to deliver high-quality service (Cutler, D.M. and J.R.Horwitz, 2000, p. 71).

Without entering the discussion of which type of organisation influences and which is influenced, it is clear that when studying the objectives and behaviour of NPOs, one must account for the competitive environment of the organisation. While summarising this vast amount of empirical applications, one can hardly overlook some contradictory findings. Maybe, non-profit organisations and for-profit firms are not that different after all or maybe the objective function of the NPO is still not quite accurately formulated.  A better test of the objective function of a NPO would be to directly compare the different models formulated in theory. Here the applications are not so numerous. Steinberg (1986) constructed such a test to identify the maxim ands of the non-profit objective function. He specified a parameter, the marginal donative product of fundraising, to characterise the NPO’s objective with budget maximising and service maximising as the two extremes. His empirical results suggest that education and art organisations tend to maximise their services, welfare organisations too, but to a lesser extent. Health firms appeared to be more budget maximising, while a too small sample size prevented conclusion for the research organisations (Steinberg,R., 1986).


For the analysis of experiences, our survey of the healthcare sector literature was non-exhaustive, given the abundance of literature and the fact that the term Non-Profit Organization is used differently in different activity sectors and even within a single sector. This documentary search was carried out between December 2009 and January 2010.

In the first phase of this search, our aim was to identify concepts, models and definitions of Non-Profit Organization and its fields of application. We used the Google search engine with the following keywords: Non-Profit Organization, Non-Profit Organization methods, Non-Profit Organization models, Non-Profit Organization techniques, utilization of Non-Profit Organization, types of Non-Profit Organization, Non-Profit Organization in health, Non-Profit Organization in medicine, comparative evaluation and parangonnage (French term for Non-Profit Organization).

In a second phase, we targeted our search on healthcare Non-Profit Organization in the Medline, Science Direct and Scopus bibliographic databases, as well as by using the Google Scholar specialized search engine. This in-depth search targeted articles that identified Non-Profit Organization as a structured quality improvement method in healthcare and articles in which Non-Profit Organization was used as an approach for analyzing and improving healthcare processes.

Two search strategies were applied, depending on the database. The first used only keywords from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus. The second used keywords that were not exclusively from MeSH to identify articles when searching in Scopus, Science Direct and Google Scholar. The search equations and the numbers of articles identified and selected in each search are summarized

A first selection was done by reading the titles and abstracts of articles. When the search equation identified more than 200 references, we limited our reading to the first 100, according to the search engine’s order of relevance. We included articles written in English or French and published between 1990 and 2010. Then, we (AE-T) eliminated duplicates and articles whose full text could not be found in the subscriptions of the library of Université Bordeaux Segalen.

To be included in the literature review, articles had to meet the following two inclusion criteria:

  • the primary subject of the article was Non-Profit Organization; and
  • the article contained at least one of the following types of information: history of Non-Profit Organization; its concept, definition, models or types; the method of Non-Profit Organization used; its impact on quality improvement in the healthcare field studied.


Non-Profit Organization often refers to the comparison of indicators in a time-limited approach. It is not yet often perceived as a tool for continuous improvement and support to change. Non-Profit Organization’s key characteristic is that it is part of a comprehensive and participative policy of continuous quality improvement. Indeed, Non-Profit Organization is based on voluntary and active collaboration among several organizations to create a spirit of competition and to apply best practices. Conditions for successful Non-Profit Organization focus essentially on careful preparation of the process, monitoring of the relevant indicators, staff involvement and inter-organizational visits.

Compared to methods previously implemented in France (Breakthrough Series called Programmes d’amélioration continue by the ANAES in the late 1990s and collaborative projects by regional evaluation and support agencies), Non-Profit Organization has specific features that set it apart as a healthcare innovation. This is especially true for healthcare or medical–social organizations, as the principle of inter-organizational visiting is not part of their culture. Thus, this approach will need to be assessed for feasibility and acceptability.

Quality Improvement Collaboratives are carried out by multidisciplinary teams from different healthcare services and organizations who decide to work together using a structured method for a limited time (a few months) to improve their practices (Schouten et al. 2008). This approach has been increasingly used in the United States, Canada, Australia and several European countries. In the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands, the public authorities support the development of such programs. In France, regional projects developed by regional agencies for evaluation and support also operate within this dynamic (Saillour-Glénisson and Michel 2009). This is the case for current research projects such as the BELIEVE project coordinated by the CCECQA (2010). Since December 2009, the ANAP has piloted a national Non-Profit Organization process, Imagerie 2010: scanner et imagerie par resonance magnétique (Imaging 2010: Scanning and Magnetic Resonance Imaging), that could be very similar to the practice standards related to Non-Profit Organization (ANAP 2009).

All these approaches are based on the same elements: multidisciplinary and multi-site characteristics, the implementation of improvement initiatives, and measurement. It is difficult to consider them completely equivalent, because each one focuses on one or another element, which necessarily influences its implementation strategy. In particular, the Breakthrough Series focuses on the rapidity of interventions, and the Collaboratives on the time-limited nature of the exercise. Non-Profit Organization focuses on gathering indicators for long-term monitoring, making this method truly a CQI approach.

Research streams on Non-Profit Organization are numerous and quite varied, because they have not been very much developed before now. At the strategic level, it is important to ensure that healthcare Non-Profit Organization achieves its objective, which is to better delineate those areas where policy efforts should be concentrated to improve healthcare system performance (Wait and Nolte 2005). Technically, the success factors for Non-Profit Organization, which in general are closely related to those required by the main improvement approaches (involvement of management, planning and project management, use of tools to support working in groups, suitable training policy), very likely include specific elements such as a culture that is receptive to transparent exchanges. At the sociological level, a better understanding is needed of how indicators can be more widely adopted in healthcare organizations through the use of Non-Profit Organization processes and greater involvement of front-line professionals.

Of course, Non-Profit Organization is primarily a management tool; nevertheless, it requires care team involvement, at least in the analysis of practices and in comparisons with other care teams. The upcoming implementation of a structured Non-Profit Organization process in more than 30 healthcare organizations in Aquitaine will make it possible to study the factors that best support the adoption of this type of process.


  1. OHRP clarify that when the design and purpose of the gathering component and the measuring component of Non-Profit Organization is to inform other purposes besides developing or contributing to generalizable knowledge, then it is not designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge and is not research.
  2. Non-Profit Organization project is intended to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge, even a secondary goal, then that part of the project is research and needs to be triaged accordingly. OHRP should clarify it does not support a primary purpose approach to defining research.
  3. OHRP clarify that when institutions provide identified or de-identified data for Non-Profit Organization purposes, even if the Non-Profit Organization activity involves research, the institution is not engaged in research. This would mirror the OHRP FAQs on QI and posted OHRP correspondence on that issue.
  4. SACHRP suggests that the current OHRP FAQ on QI could be modified to include Non-Profit Organization in the question and as an example in the answer. Possible language is presented in Appendix I of this recommendation.
  5. SACHRP recommends that OHRP should consider development of a multi factorial set of criteria for determining when an activity is research based on the role of the individuals conducting the activity and the design and purpose of the activity.

Do quality improvement activities fall under the HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects in research if their purposes are limited to: (a) delivering healthcare, and (b) measuring and reporting provider performance data for clinical, practical, or administrative uses, such as Non-Profit Organization?

No, such quality improvement activities do not satisfy the definition of “research” under 45 CFR 46.102(d), which is “…a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge…” Therefore the HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects do not apply to such quality improvement activities, and there is no requirement under these regulations for such activities to undergo review by an IRB, or for these activities to be conducted with provider or patient informed consent.

The clinical, practical, or administrative uses for such performance measurements and reporting could include, for example, helping the public make more informed choices regarding health care providers by communicating data regarding physician-specific surgical recovery data or infection rates. Other practical or administrative uses of such data might be to enable insurance companies or health maintenance organizations to make higher performing sites preferred providers, to allow other third parties to create incentives rewarding better performance, or to allow institutions to participate in Non-Profit Organization activities.


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