Finance 101: 5 actions for non-revenue organisations to teach and empower trustees

Finance 101: 5 actions for non-revenue organisations to teach and empower trustees


Sturdy fiscal governance is an essential portion of jogging an efficient non-profit organisation (NPO) or charity.

A lot duty lies with trustees, persons who have a vital, demanding (and usually unpaid) purpose in governing an NPO and directing how it is managed and run.

Trustees make sure all selections set the requires of the beneficiaries initially. If they are unsuccessful to satisfy their obligations, they can be held personally liable.

In this write-up, we cover a series of measures so you can explain your NPO’s funds to your trustees, so they can fulfil their job of signing off accounts.

Here’s what we include:

Trustee responsibilities

Knowing economical tasks as a trustee

How to support your trustees fully grasp your financials

Ultimate views: Help your trustees

Trustee obligations

The Charity Fee lists six obligations of trustees:

  • Make sure your organisation is carrying out its uses for the public gain
  • Comply with your organisation’s governing document and the regulation
  • Act in your organisation’s very best passions
  • Handle your organisation’s assets responsibly
  • Act with fair treatment and talent
  • Make sure your organisation is accountable.

You could use all these responsibilities to finance, but it is the final point over that contains the want to develop and file statutory accounts.

The bulk of this obligation could drop to the treasurer, doing the job with the finance supervisor or other workers as correct. But trustees have total management of an NPO and are responsible for producing guaranteed it’s undertaking what it was established up to do.

Understanding financial obligations as a trustee

Your trustees have accountability for overseeing your NPO’s dollars.

Trustees are necessary to indication off on accounts, and if they are to act with reasonable care and skill, they will need to have an understanding of their NPO’s funds.

Nonetheless, it’s frequent that they come across the funds challenging to engage with, compromising their role and producing it hard for the board to operate efficiently.

Trustees have a tough occupation as they ought to shoulder a disproportionate volume of duty.

If they are included in strategic and operational discussions without sound economic being familiar with, they could be ineffective and most likely result in injury to your organisation’s potential owing to gaps in their know-how.

Trustees ought to make sure that funds is only used on what is permitted by your NPO’s governing documents and policies—if it isn’t, it’s on them to set it appropriate.

How to enable your trustees recognize your financials

Being familiar with fiscal administration as a trustee is essential.

Under are 5 needed steps to enable your trustees take an energetic part in the fiscal administration of your organisation.

We’d suggest a briefing session for all new trustees and those people necessitating an update, supported with appropriate presentation supplies.

1. Consider the trustees’ recent amount of economic information

There’s no issue in training economic management principles to a trustee if they currently know them.

So it’s critical to realize their current stage of money awareness and correctly adjust the information you give them.

Let’s imagine some trustees know the money basics while some others never. It may perhaps be wise to split them up into groups.

You could individual individuals who want a simple grounding in accountancy from those people who know the principles and have to have far more information on certain areas connected to NPO finance.

2. Describe important economical fundamentals


  • Often appear in advance. Monetary information and facts is out of day by default since it is telling us what has already happened.
  • Use economic data to understand the organisation’s status with one eye on the potential.
  • Forecasting budgets is essential in offering you a photo of in which you feel the NPO will be in the potential. It’ll support you set the correct economical goal.

Statement of money things to do (Sofa)

  • A assertion of financial pursuits (Couch) is one of the main economic statements your NPO will issue.
  • A Couch is in some cases referred to as an cash flow and expenditure statement, or a receipts and payments account.
  • The SoFA corresponds to what business companies call the profit and decline (P&L) account (also acknowledged as a income and decline statement, or money assertion).
  • The SoFA is a economical report summarising money, expenditure, and gains and losses incurred in the course of a specified period—usually a thirty day period, a fiscal quarter, or a 12 months.

3. Explain each and every substantial income stream

With increased opposition for grants and donations, you will have to preserve a shut eye on wherever your cash flow is coming from.

Your trustees need to have to comprehend:

  • Who is funding, commissioning and donating? If you are element of an NPO that trades, you will also have customers.
  • What action is your NPO doing to safe the money? Examples consist of the shipping of grant-funded assignments, commissioned services, and offer of a solution if you are buying and selling.
  • The costs affiliated with providing just about every of the actions, these as key contracts and sub-contracts, as properly as workers shipping, content, and travel expenditures. In the business earth, these expenses would be called expense of product sales.
  • Historic and budgeted money, as perfectly as constraints.

You should really then clarify all other expense groups, these types of as fundraising, marketing and advertising fees and overheads.

Also, supply information of any other significant contracts, such as assets leases.

4. Explain balance sheet terminology

You should really describe almost everything in your equilibrium sheet (recognized as a statement of economical position for NPOs).

Mounted assets 

A preset asset is a extensive-time period tangible piece of home or tools that an organisation owns and takes advantage of in its functions to create money.

It isn’t predicted to be consumed or transformed into hard cash in a yr.


A debtor is a firm or personal who owes the organisation income.

Occasionally referred to as accounts receivable or receivables.


This is revenue in the lender.


A creditor is a human being or company to whom funds is owing. You generally split them involving:

  • Accounts payable or payables: Amounts slipping thanks with one particular yr. 
  • Long-time period liabilities: Quantities falling because of soon after just one yr.

Normal fund

The income you have out there to use freely to further your charitable aims.

You at times refer to typical funds as unrestricted resources.

Restricted funds

You are given limited money for a particular goal and ring-fence them as such. Occasionally time constraints are also imposed.

After your trustees are self-confident about what these terms mean, walk them via your harmony sheet masking each and every classification.

5. Explain how the management accounts map to the statutory accounts

Generally, finance supplies trustees with monetary experiences referred to as administration accounts.

These could incorporate revenue and expenditure accounts, funds movement forecasts, economical projections, and a stability sheet.

There are three critical explanations for making standard management accounts for your trustees to evaluation.

They are to:

  • Evaluate recent efficiency
  • Allow for money conclusion earning
  • Supply proof that you are fulfilling money oversight responsibilities.

Your NPO must make management accounts on a regular basis (ideally regular, but from time to time quarterly).

Statutory accounts are studies developed soon after the finish of the financial calendar year to give a official history of the financial activity and situation of the organisation.

  • Administration and statutory accounts may possibly have various ranges of detail, aggregating and separating costs in different strategies.
  • Your task is to reveal any variances concerning administration and statutory accounts.

Last views: Aid your trustees

We have provided you five actions to function by way of in conveying your NPO’s finances to trustees, but you really should also define any other factors of economical significance.

At last, keep in mind this point.

If you are handling funds for an NPO, you must get trustees to a posture wherever they fully grasp sufficient about finance to request thoughts and approve 12 months-stop accounts.

Good luck.

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