Non Profit Chart of Accounts

Introduction to the Non Profit Chart of Accounts

The chart of accounts for a non profit organization differs from a normal business in that the balance sheet is referred to as the statement of financial position, the income statement is referred to as the statement of activities or statement of operations, and as the non profit organization is governed by trustees and does not have owners, the equity side of the accounting equation is replaced by the term net assets or funds.

A chart of accounts, sometimes abbreviated to COA, is a list of all the names of the accounts found in the general ledger with an account code (chart of accounts numbers) allocated to it.

The chart of accounts simply sets out the structure of your accounts system so that all similar accounts are grouped together. For example, statement of financial position fixed operating assets accounts might have codes from 1600, or revenue accounts might have codes from 4000.

A simple structure allows you to easily identify accounts and helps in the posting of transactions and the preparation of the trial balance and financial statements. It is usually best to use numbers for account codes as this will speed up the process of entering transactions as the numeric key pad can be used.

What Should a Non Profit Chart of Accounts look like?

The nonprofit chart of accounts should be split into statement of financial position and statement of activities sections, each of which is then subdivided into groups (e.g. cash, accounts receivable, revenue, expenses etc). Generally the most used accounts should be kept near the top of each group.

A sample non profit chart of accounts is shown in the interactive table below.

Non Profit Chart of Accounts Guide and Key

  1. Account Name: The name of the account in the general ledger
  2. FS: The Financial Statement in which the account appears
  3. SFP: Statement of Financial Position
  4. SA: Statement of Activities:
  5. Group: The type of account.
  6. Code: A suggested account code for the account
Non Profit Chart of Accounts
Account Name FS Group Code
Cash in bank SFP Cash 1010
Petty cash SFP Cash 1040
Savings & short-term investments SFP Cash 1070
Accounts receivable control SFP Accounts receivable 1110
Doubtful accounts allowance SFP Accounts receivable 1115
Prepaid expenses SFP Other assets 1450
Accrued revenue SFP Other assets 1460
Investments SFP Investments 1580
Leasehold improvements SFP Fixed operating assets 1630
Furniture, fixtures, and equipment SFP Fixed operating assets 1640
Accum amort – leasehold improv SFP Accum depreciation 1735
Accumulated deprec – ff & e SFP Accum depreciation 1745
Accounts payable SFP Payables 2010
Accrued expenses SFP Accrued liabilities 2150
Deferred revenue SFP Accrued liabilities 2310
Short-term liabilities – other SFP Short-term notes & loans 2570
Long-term liabilities – other SFP Long-term notes & loans 2770
Unrestricted net assets (funds) SFP Funds 3010
Temp. restricted net assets (funds) SFP Funds 3110
Perm. restricted net assets (funds) SFP Funds 3210
Contributions SA Direct contributions revenue 4010
Donations SA Donated goods & services revenue 4110
Non Government grants SA Non government grants revenue 4230
Fundraising SA Indirect contributions revenue 4430
Government grants SA Government grants revenue 4510
Program service fees SA Program-related sales & fees 5180
Membership dues SA Revenue from dues 5210
Interest-savings/short-term invest SA Revenue from investments 5310
Miscellaneous revenue SA Revenue from other sources 5490
Officers & directors salaries SA Salaries & related expenses 7210
Wages and salaries SA Salaries & related expenses 7220
Pension costs SA Salaries & related expenses 7230
Employee benefits – not pension SA Salaries & related expenses 7240
Payroll taxes, etc. SA Salaries & related expenses 7250
Accounting fees SA Contract service expenses 7520
Legal fees SA Contract service expenses 7530
Professional fees – other SA Contract service expenses 7540
Rent SA Facility & equipment expenses 8210
Occupancy costs SA Facility & equipment expenses 8215
Utilities SA Facility & equipment expenses 8220
Equipment rental & maintenance SA Facility & equipment expenses 8260
Depreciation SA Facility & equipment expenses 8270
Depreciation and amortization SA Facility & equipment expenses 8270
Travel SA Travel & meetings expenses 8310
Conferences, conventions, meetings SA Travel & meetings expenses 8320
Interest SA Other expenses 8510
Insurance SA Other expenses 8520
Membership dues SA Other expenses 8530
Staff development SA Other expenses 8540
Outside computer services SA Other expenses 8560
Advertising expenses SA Other expenses 8570
Contingency provisions SA Other expenses 8580
Other expenses SA Other expenses 8590
Bad debt expense SA Business expenses 8610
Sales taxes SA Business expenses 8620
Taxes – other SA Business expenses 8650

Notice how each account in the non profit chart of accounts is classified as statement of financial position or statement of activities and then further classified into a group such as for example other assets. The account names will depend on your type of business, but the classification and grouping should be similar to the table above.

When allocating account codes (chart of accounts numbers) don’t forget to leave space in the non profit chart of accounts for additional accounts and codes to be inserted in a group at a later stage. For example the revenue codes run from 4000 to 5999 so there is plenty of room to incorporate new categories of revenue if needed.

Last modified December 9th, 2019 by Michael Brown

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Double Entry Bookkeeping. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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