Skip to main content

Bookkeeping for Nonprofits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Nonprofit Accounting

Bookkeeping for Nonprofits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Nonprofit Accounting

Murray Dropkin, James Halpin

ISBN: 978-1-118-42970-9

Jun 2012

264 pages




Bookkeeping for Nonprofits is a hands-on guide that offers nonprofit leaders, managers, and staff the tools they need to create and maintain a complete and accurate set of accounting records. This much-needed resource provides those with little or no bookkeeping experience with practical advice in a highly accessible format.

Written by Murray Dropkin and Jim Halpin, Bookkeeping for Nonprofits is a step-by-step introduction to keeping accounting records, which form the foundation for a nonprofit organization's financial reports, tax returns, budgets, cash forecasts, and grant proposals. Using this volume as a guide, nonprofit leaders and staff will be able to set up books with or without accounting software and ensure that the records meet the needs of their organization. Bookkeeping for Nonprofits is a comprehensive resource that

  • Discusses how transactions provide day-to-day information for tracking cash balances and cash requirements
  • Shows how transactions provide information to management and the board of directors for budgeting and other essential tasks
  • Explains basic bookkeeping concepts, such as the accounting equation, the chart of accounts, and income and expense tracking
  • Guides readers through the nuts and bolts of recording a transaction
  • Provides an overview of alternative recordkeeping methodologies and how to choose among them

Designed to be easy to use, the book is filled with illustrations and checklists.

"Bookkeeping for Nonprofits is the remarkable new guide for a new generation of accounting challenges bookkeepers face every day."
—Frances Hesselbein, chairman and founding president, Leader to Leader Institute

"Bookkeeping for Nonprofits provides a rare combination of consummate professionalism and clear, accessible writing. Underlying the wealth of technical information lies a great deal of wisdom. The authors have found a way to translate their enormous, on-the-ground experience into usable, actionable policies, procedures, and practices. It is a book that gives all you need to create a fiscally responsible agency with the bonus of helping you become a better manager and a wiser person."
—Peter Block, business consultant and author of Flawless Consulting and The Empowered Manager

"Bookkeeping for Nonprofits provides an excellent understanding of the practical application of bookkeeping in the real work environment."
—Ron Werthman, vice president, finance/treasurer and CFO, Johns Hopkins Health System, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

"This is a wonderful book that every bookkeeper in a nonprofit organization should have."
—Eusebio David, fiscal director, Federation of Multicultural Programs, Inc.

List of Exhibits and Checklists.




The Authors.


1. Overview of the Bookkeeping Function.

2. The Accounting Equation.

3. The Chart of Accounts.


4. Income.

5. Cash Receipts.

6. Payroll.

7. Purchases.

8. Cash Disbursements.

9. General Journal Entries.

10. The Month-End Close and Account Analysis.

11. Allocating Costs.


12. Financial Statements.

13. Operating Budgets.

14. Cash Flow Reporting, Forecasting, and Management.

15. Conclusion.


Resource A: Good Financial Management.

Resource B: Setting Up Your Files.

Resource C: Alternative Recordkeeping Approaches.

Resource D: Managing Your Computer System: Security, Backups, and Other Considerations.

Resource E: Organization and Tax Issues of Tax-Exempt Organizations.

Resource F: Checklist: Financial Monitoring of Government Grants.

Resource G: Excerpts from OMB Circular A-122.

Resource H: Web Site Resources.

Resource I: Bibliography.

""This much-needed resource provides those with little or no bookkeeping experience with practical advice in a highly accessible format. Designed to be easy to use, this book is filled with illustrations and checklists."" (, 4/28/08)

“…will be of help to the novice in developing financial reports and budgetary management systems.” (Accounting Technician, Oct 2005)

Download the spreadsheet files for the book Download
View the payroll_accrual_2up.pdf file Download
Download the Macromedia Flash Payroll Accrual file Download

Author's Site

The authors have provided additional downloads and other information on their web site at