audit guide for small nonprofit organizations

Although it seems like a drag, read below how an audit can actually help your nonprofit. She understands the value of strong relationships with an agency’s clients, its volunteers and its donors and finds innovative ways to bring those individuals and groups together to best achieve the nonprofit’s objectives. Get our FREE GUIDE to nonprofit financial reports, featuring illustrations, annotations, and insights to help you better understand your organization’s finances. Once again, be as cooperative as possible and set aside time to work with your firm and get them all the documents they need. If you’re not available, the auditors can’t do their jobs and may even suspect that there’s something you don’t want them to find. Send out an RFP and hire an independent firm to conduct your financial statement audit.

You will receive requests from the auditor to provide the backing documentation, approvals, receipts, etc… for specific transactions they have selected. The federal government has several requirements for when a nonprofit must arrange an independent audit. For instance, if your organization receives federal funding, you will likely need to schedule an audit, even if your state does not require one. This is true whether you receive the federal funding directly or the funding is passed to you by another entity. In the Guide, you can get information about what will happen at every stage of your independent audit.

Interepreting an Audit

Refer to the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide for Not-for-Profit Entities for additional information and examples. Adding an audit requirement to your organization’s bylaws may seem redundant for many nonprofits. The additional cost to perform these audits may even feel improbable, but there are several benefits for nonprofits that perform regular internal audits. Nonprofit organizations may require compilations, reviews, audits, or Single Audits. PPC’s Guide to Audits of Nonprofit Organizations includes tailored practice aids to help you perform audits and engagements for your nonprofit clients in accordance with professional standards. It’s important to remember that financial audits are not the only types of audits you may encounter.

  • Audits give your nonprofit an excellent overview of where you need improvements.
  • The larger the organization’s budget, and the more complex its finances, the more time the audit will take and the higher the audit cost.
  • The main purpose of the nonprofit audit is to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatement.
  • The Nonprofit Audit Guide will NOT, however, help you identify an independent auditor.
  • Common reasons why you might conduct a nonprofit audit are to improve your charitable organization’s financial position, transparency, accountability, and bookkeeping practices.

Another example might be a recommendation to add a particular policy or improve an expense reimbursement process. One of our Classy experts will reach out to schedule a hands-on walk-through of the platform and demonstrate how our industry-leading solution can help your nonprofit reach its goals. With an effective RFP, your organization will be able to decide if a firm is truly a good fit for your needs and budget. Call their references and double-check that they have a positive track record with past clients before you make your final choice. The timeline below is an example of the potential time that your organization can expect to spend on various activities. She devotes so much of herself into everything she undertakes and her passion for helping is contagious!

Evaluating the auditors and the audit committee

An independent nonprofit audit involves an examination of your organization’s financial records, accounting practices, internal controls, transactions, and financial statements. An independent audit occurs when an auditor or auditing firm outside of your organization examines your nonprofit’s financial statements, records, transactions, accounting practices, and internal controls. The AICPA and the individual state governments require auditors to be independent. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires publicly traded companies to rotate lead auditors — not necessarily audit firms — every five years. While this provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of does not apply directly to nonprofits, it is still a wise practice for a nonprofit to consider how to rotate its lead auditor.

Another purpose of the nonprofit audit is to assess the effectiveness of internal controls. This means that the auditor will examine the procedures and controls that the nonprofit has in place to prevent and detect errors and fraud. The nonprofit audit is the best way to ensure compliance with laws and regulations that govern nonprofits. This is because the auditor will examine transactions and activities to ensure audit guide for small nonprofit organizations they are in compliance with these laws and Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP) rules. Nonprofit organizations routinely receive donations from private foundations, and these foundations will likely expect the nonprofit to undergo an independent audit at some point. Use Google to find at least three options (based on reviews and portfolios) for CPAs or auditing firms that work with nonprofits.

Mar Does Your Nonprofit Need an Audit?

Your message has been received and we’ll be reviewing your request shortly. The audit firm will do preliminary testing, familiarize yourself with your organization and ask for additional documentation. Nonprofit audits are an important part of ensuring that your organization is operating efficiently and effectively.

Cynder’s excellent team building skills and responsible nature ensure exceptional follow through and a strong commitment to her work. Through her passion and expertise she engaged our Board of Directors and Staff “to think outside the box” during a planning session to advance our mission. I am confident that Cynder would be a great asset to any organization or company that could benefit from her talent and leadership. To provide superior leadership tools and resources so nonprofit leaders and board members can make viable decisions that move organizations forward to a sustainable and vibrant future. The audit firm will come in to review your final end-of-year numbers and all the documentation they need to complete your audit.

Organizing an audit committee

Try to be as cooperative as possible with this vital step in your nonprofit audit prep. Your CPA firm will have its own audit checklist of things they need to accomplish now to complete your audit correctly and on time. Holding back information or not being responsive may delay your audit or cost you more money. Before we jump into the specific items to prepare, let’s look at the timeline for preparing for a nonprofit audit. You need to get started early (up to a year ahead of time, if you don’t already have a relationship with a CPA for your audits) to ensure everything runs smoothly. Audits can also be helpful in identifying areas where your organization can improve its financial practices.