Not-for-Profit Governance & Management Resources
The following resources are created and intended as an individual benefit of AICPA Not-for-Profit Section membership. The materials are copyrighted and may not be used without permission this includes any further distribution of the materials (including posting on a website).
These resources are designed as educational and reference material; they do not establish standards or preferred practices, and they are subject to change. Where specific permission is granted for use (not distribution or posting), users are responsible for final content; please review those resources carefully and make any changes necessary for your specific use.
Note: Please be aware as you are browsing and downloading resources that we are currently in the process of updating many of them for new FASB standards becoming effective.
AICPA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center
As we all work together to navigate this time of unparalleled uncertainty, we encourage you to bookmark and monitor the AICPA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center for the latest news, free online learning opportunities, and resources addressing the wide-ranging effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Free report: Consequences of COVID-19 Financial Reporting Considerations
Due to COVID-19, the information presented in clients’ financial statements might be quite different from what would be reporting during normal times. To help preparers and practitioners be faithful to GAAP in this unusual environment, the AICPA’s Center for Plain English Accounting has produced a special report that’s free to the public.
Paycheck protection loans for small businesses including qualifying not-for-profits
Visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury for an overview of the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program, as well as information and application links for borrowers.
Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has provided a 4-page Coronavirus Emergency Loans “cheat sheet” designed to help small businesses, not-for-profits, and self-employed individuals prepare and file for a loan under the Program.
Governance Structure and Responsibilities
Top 10 Nonprofit Board Oversight Issues for Organizations of All Sizes
With so many changes affecting not-for-profit finance, accounting, technology, and tax compliance, board members can't afford to fall behind. Read this article to make sure the nonprofit boards you work with not only are keenly aware of the top issues but also understand their related oversight responsibilities.
Top Tips for Landing the Perfect Nonprofit Board Seat
Serving on a nonprofit board of directors is an exceptional opportunity for professional development, career growth, and community service. This article offers actionable advice on how to align yourself for the position that best fits your goals, skills, and passion.
Strong Policies Make for Effective Boards
Getting started is half the battle when it comes to creating or updating policies. The steps discussed in this article can help you get the ball rolling.
Board Designations and Delegations: Important Considerations and Sample Policies
Do you have board designation and delegation processes in place? Are they documented? When were they last reviewed? In this article, you will learn more about these and other important considerations and be able to access sample board designation and delegation policies.
Board Orientation Puts Not-for-Profit Directors on Path to Success
A board orientation is important to help new board members quickly assume their roles as partners in shared leadership. This article offers tips on how to put your new directors on a path to success.
A Guide to Board Orientation (PDF)
A board orientation is important to help new board members quickly assume their roles as partners in shared leadership. In addition, there are potential legal consequences for directors who fail to fulfill their governance responsibilities, and an orientation equips them with the knowledge needed to undertake their new duties. This guide provides suggested practices and tips to put your new directors on a path to success.
Not-for-Profit Board Member Orientation Checklist (Excel)
Download this checklist designed to help not-for-profits ensure they are providing new board members with the information needed for successful onboarding and orientation.
Board Responsibilities: An Overview (PDF)
An organization's governing body establishes strategic objectives, provides guidance, and helps an organization achieve its mission. Along with this responsibility comes legal and ethical obligations to an entity. An NFP's board has liability for the organization, and therefore it is the final authority. This article is an overview on basic board responsibilities for those who are new to NFPs, or who just need a refresher.
Board Structure (PDF)
It is vital to establish a governance structure that provides the level of checks and balances appropriate for the organization's purpose, size and complexity. This article provides an overview of board structure for those charged with governance of an NFP.
Strategies for Maintaining an Effective Board
In the absence of competent board oversight, a not-for-profit's mission might be at risk. Here's how to recruit, train and retain great board members who help a not-for-profit thrive.
5 Reasons Your Organization Needs an Audit Committee
In this article, learn how not-for-profit organizations can access expertise and more successfully fulfill their strategic goals using the knowledge and experience of audit committees.
Options for starting a new not-for-profit
Before you start a new NFP, consider these three proactive options. You may find you can accomplish your mission with a collaborative, outside-the-box strategy that avoids the resource limitations and compliance requirements that challenge many NFPs.
Risk Management, Internal Controls, and Technology
Small Not-for-Profits: Implementing the COSO Framework Is Easier Than You Think
The COSO Framework may seem complex, but you may find you're already doing some of the work. Read this article for tips on how to make this internal control framework work for your organization.
Compliance Programs and Risk Management for NFPs
Formalizing an enterprise risk management plan can help a not-for-profit entity meet compliance challenges by informing strategic direction, improving decision making and resource allocation, and promoting a focus on risk as an opportunity.
9 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Not-for-Profit Organizations
Learn about best practices related to both the personal and technical aspects of cybersecurity that even the smallest NFPs can employ.
An Ounce of Prevention: Combating Fraud in Not-for-Profits
Fraud is a risk in all types of businesses. Unfortunately, NFPs are not immune. View this article for tips to design internal controls to prevent and detect fraud in your organization.
Increasing Risk Awareness in NFPs (PDF)
Governance reform proponents are calling for more systematic and robust risk oversight processes to strengthen board and senior management oversight of risks potentially affecting NFPs. This white paper provides information about enterprise risk management (ERM) for NFPs.
Not-for-Profit Reputation Risk Management (PDF)
An NFP's greatest asset is unquestionably its reputation. It is important to proactive address your NFP's reputation using a proven risk management approach that touches all four categories of the COSO enterprise risk management framework related to achieving an organization's objects. This article will help you develop a reputation risk management approach.
IT Controls for Not-for-Profit Entities (PDF)
Information security is a significant business issue that is only becoming more important as technologies
advance. Information security threats may be external or internal. To protect your organization, consider
implementing these internal controls.
Segregation of Duties Reference Charts for Small Not-for-Profits:
- Organizations with 4+ employees (PDF)
- Organizations with 3 employees (PDF)
- Organizations with 2 employees (PDF)
Why Cyberdefenses Are Worth the Cost
The potential for devastating damage posed by data breaches means that not-for-profits and other organizations shouldn’t pinch pennies in this area. These tips can help reduce the risks.
Discounted Pricing for Managed Technology Services
Learn about how members of the AICPA's Not-for-Profit Section can get an exclusive discount on managed technology services, including IT strategy and business technology support services.
What’s the Plan? Best Practices in Not-for-Profit Budgeting and Financial Planning
A comprehensive financial plan can help a nonprofit achieve its goals and fulfill its mission. Follow the steps in this article to make sure you have set your organization up to succeed and be able to adapt when you need to.
Not-for-Profit Budget Calendar (Excel)
Download this budget calendar tool designed to help nonprofits organize and track their fiscal management process and activities. Use it as a starting point and customize for your organization.
12 Technology Dos and Don'ts for Not-for-Profit Organizations
When it comes to technology, knowing what is relevant and what to focus on can be a challenge for organizations—especially not-for-profits, whose resources are often limited. To keep it simple, remember these dos and don’ts.
NFP Governance and Management FAQs
As with most any industry, there are certain aspects of not-for-profit governance and management that tend to draw frequent questions. This article addresses questions commonly asked by NFP management, board members, or industry accounting personnel.
10 Steps to a Successful Audit
If preparing for your upcoming audit seems daunting, you're not alone. Many of us feel a sense of dread at fiscal year-end. Read this article to learn about our 10 best tips to help you have a smooth audit.
Beyond the Debits and Credits: A Management and Governance Checklist for Implementing FASB ASU 2016-14
This checklist addresses the governance side of FASB ASU 2016-14 implementation. What needs to be considered from a process perspective; what needs to be communicated and to whom?
Gift Acknowledgement Letters: Considerations and Templates
Written acknowledgments are required for charitable contributions that exceed $250. This article explores some points to consider when developing and sending these gift acknowledgment letters, and also includes templates you can use.
Bitcoin Basics for Nonprofits: Accepting and Valuing Gifts of Cryptocurrencies
Has your nonprofit received a donation in cryptocurrency yet? This article outlines the basics for accepting and valuing donations of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and highlights some important considerations for holding and transacting these assets.
Cryptocurrency Gift Strategies for Not-for-profits
Here’s what organizations should consider as they ponder whether and how to accept donations of virtual currency.
Structural Considerations for Nonprofits Looking to Go Global
Conducting business globally presents unique challenges for NFPs. When a domestic NFP wants to make an international impact, how can it establish a sound structure for this work? Consider two fundamental areas covered in this article: entity governance and global capacity development.
What Nonprofits Should Look for in a SOC 1 Report, and Why
Nonprofit organizations often outsource tasks due to in-house resource limitations, but they are still responsible for establishing effective controls over outsourced activities. Service Organization Controls (SOC) for Service Organizations reporting examinations are intended to provide the assurance needed in this regard. This article discusses the relevant reports within the SOC suite of services and offers tips on what aspects of the reports that nonprofits should focus on to get the most out of their use.
Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
Is your organization looking for a new trusted advisor? Tailor these sample requests for proposals to your organization’s needs and find the auditor, banker, investment advisor, compensation consultant, or payroll service provider that best fits your needs.
- Audit Services RFP (Word)
- Banking Services RFP (Word)
- Compensation Consulting RFP (Word)
- Investment Advisory Services RFP (Word)
- Payroll Services RFP (Word)
RFP Dos and Don’ts for Nonprofits Seeking New Auditors
NFPs can maximize the efficiency of the RFP process and save themselves, and the firms invited to propose, precious time by following a few key “dos and don’ts.”
Considerations in Negotiating and Drafting Gift Agreements
NFPs and donors alike can achieve clarity by working together to create gift instruments that include the important details on which the parties have agreed. View this article for tips on negotiating and drafting gift agreements.
Managing Donated Funds: How to Review Gift Instruments
As a best practice, NFPs should periodically review recordkeeping systems to ensure that existing procedures and documentation meet the reporting needs of the organization. This article discusses important items to consider when assessing gift instruments.
Controller Toolkit for Not-for-Profit Entities (PDF)
This Toolkit focuses on the traditional controllership duties of managing the accounting functions of a not-for-profit organization. It includes numerous examples, exhibits and illustrations to assist with recordkeeping, oversight of internal controls, audit preparedness and managing the entity's reporting cycle.
The Life Cycle of a Grant: A Primer on Grants Management (PDF)
For many NFPs, grants are a significant source of programmatic support. It takes significant time and effort to secure a grant, however, once a grant is awarded it is at risk of being lost in the shuffle. By establishing systems and controls prior to receiving a grant, an organization can reap the benefits of grants and minimize complications. This article describes the phases of a grant and provides guidance on streamlining a grants management system.
Not-for-Profits Teaming Up to Fulfill Missions
Have you considered a merger or joint venture? This case-study-focused article describes how, through mergers and collaboration, nonprofits are discovering ways to more effectively and efficiently achieve their missions.
How to Give a Brilliant Board Report
When communicating financial data to board members, there is an art to striking the right balance of information that is meaningful and, at the same time, comprehensive and concise. This article provides tips on how to deliver a brilliant board report.
Top 3 Tips to Get the Most from Banking Relationships
Getting the most from any professional relationship starts with the approach. Do you view your banker as a vendor or a business partner? Read this article for advice on optimizing your banking relationships.
Benefits of Budgeting for Results
Impact-driven not-for-profit donors want to see concrete results that their funds are put to good use. Beginning the budgeting process with detailed, specific and predictable outcomes can help donors understand their impact.
5 Considerations for Formalizing a Nonprofit's Training Efforts
A well-designed training function engages employees and volunteers, increases retention, and informs service provision. The following considerations are a few of the most important to make, whether you’re looking to add structure to isolated learning efforts or formalize an existing training program.
Audit Committee Toolkit (PDF)
The Not-for-Profit Audit Committee Toolkit provides illustrative information for board and audit committee members of NFPs; CEOs, CFOs, and other key staff positions of NFPs; and independent and internal auditors.
How to Conduct an Effective Audit Committee Executive Session
What is an executive session, and why is it important to a nonprofit audit committee? This article answers those questions and more, including best practices for effective executive sessions. It also provides an accompanying tool to assist audit committee members conducting these important meetings.
Audit Committee Tool: Sample Questions to Ask During Executive Sessions (Excel)
Download this interactive Excel tool, which highlights questions nonprofit audit committees could ask during audit committee meetings or executive sessions to gather information about known and unknown issues. It is filterable by attendee and topic for optimal utility.
Audit Committee Charter Tools
Download a sample charter, which can be used as a template for documenting the roles and responsibilities of a not-for-profit audit committee.
Determining Whether Your NFP Needs a Financial Statement Audit (PDF)
Many NFPs ask if they need an audit. Once an organization has determined if it meets the federal requirements for an audit, it may still have questions about why an audit may be needed. This article will help you and your organization answer that question.
How to Evaluate the Independent Auditor of Your Nonprofit
This article provides a list of questions for not-for-profits and their audit committees to consider when evaluating external auditors.
Finance Committee Charter (Word)
Download this sample charter, which can be used as a template for documenting the roles and responsibilities of a not-for-profit finance committee.
Sample Governance Policies
The following tools have been created with sample elements that can be used in the creation of your own policies. While you may want to consult additional counsel for assistance in creating policies that are most appropriate for your organization, you may tailor and customize the following documents for internal use.
Strong Policies Make for Effective Boards
Getting started is half the battle when it comes to creating or updating policies. The steps discussed in this article can help you get the ball rolling.
Conflict of Interest Policy (Word)
Designation of Funds Policy (Word)
Delegation of Authority Policy (Word)
Document Retention Policy (Word)
Ethics Policy (Word)
Gift Acceptance Policy (Word)
Information Security Policy (Word)
Investment Policy (Word)
Operating Reserve Policy (Word)
Social Media Policy (Word)
Whistleblower Policy (Word)
Travel Policy Considerations for Not-for-Profit Organizations (PDF)
Whether you’re creating a new travel policy or reviewing your existing one, this article details the components you need to consider and questions you need to answer.
Not-for-Profit Governance CPE Self-Study
Get the targeted learning you need to perform highly effective audit engagements. The AICPA offers CPE-eligible courses developed by leading experts in coordination with the NFP Section's technical staff. Section members receive an exclusive 20% discount on continuing education and other not-for-profit products offered by AICPA.
Auditing Considerations: Not-for-Profit Governance and Assurance
This course covers the assertions to be used in developing audit objectives and designing tests of controls and substantive tests for several accounting and reporting areas unique to not-for-profits. Learn More >>
Planning the Audit Engagement: Not-for-Profit Governance and Assurance
Set yourself apart with this comprehensive on-demand certificate program that covers the essentials of NFP financial responsibility: accounting and financial reporting, tax compliance, governance and assurance. Learn More >>
Financial Oversight, Budget and Strategy: Not-for-Profit Governance and Assurance
This course covers procedures and examples of policies that help maintain good governance and financial oversight by a not-for-profit board of directors. Learn More >>