How to Account for Assets in a Nonprofit

A nonprofit lists its assets on a "statement of financial position" (SOP), rather than on a traditional balance sheet. The company has fixed, contra, short-term and long-term assets as other entities do. The difference is that often assets for nonprofits are not as readily liquid as those of a forprofit company. For example, the New York Historical Society claims more than $1 billion in assets. Although donor restrictions allow it to retain these assets, it can't liquidate any of them if it faced a financial hardship.

Add up all cash available to the nonprofit organization. Include all accounts in the organization's name. Place the total under “Cash” on the SOP.

List all the nonprofit's "accounts receivable," the debts owed to the organization, if applicable. Sum up the totals chronologically in 30 days or fewer, 30 to 60 days, 60 to 90 days and 90 days and more. List the grand total under “Accounts Receivable” on the SOP.

Determine the market value and sum up the total of any real estate owned by the company. If the property has not been appraised in some time, it may be wise to pay for a new appraisal.

Evaluate the company’s other fixed assets. These are items such as land, furniture, equipment or improvements to the company’s property. Determine the value of these assets at cost.

Add together the sums from Step 3 and Step 4. List these on the SOP as “Fixed Assets.”

Compile information and figures on the company’s investments. Separate investments into long-term and short-term categories; short-term investments are usually paid in one year or less. Separate each investment into its own category on the SOP.

Tally up figures for any contributions or state and federal aid received. Break these out into two categories: “State and Federal Aid Receivable” and “Contributions Receivable.”

List any other assets that have not yet been determined. Add up the values and list them under either “Intangible Assets” or “Other Assets.”