Bookkeeping Basics

What Every Nonprofit Bookkeeper Needs to Know

Written in plain English, this book provides easy instructions and forms to meet bookkeeping requirements.

113 pages. ©2006.
Available Formats:

Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted October 18, 2018


This is a very nice, easy to understand introduction and reference for a small shop with no accounting or bookkeeping experience. Ideal for the executive director who's the only employee of the organization.


Review posted October 16, 2018


This was very helpful while working on my grant budgets. Thanks.


Review posted October 11, 2018


Wow! Just the book I needed. I’ve just become the treasurer of a small nonprofit. I don’t know what I’m doing. This book explains, step-by-step, what to do and WHY. Everything is explained plainly and clearly. I now feel I have a better idea of what tools to implement to have legal, accessible books.


Review posted October 7, 2018


It's a basic beginner type book with simple wording and samples of forms. It is easy to understand and follow.


Review posted September 11, 2018


If I were king, the Secretary of State would give a copy of this book to every existing nonprofit and especially to every new nonprofit that registers with the state. This is a great guide for board training, even if you have no interest in doing the nuts and bolts bookkeeping. To really get your board to understand your nonprofit's financial position, they have to have some idea of what those numbers on their reports supposedly represent. This book would be an outstanding way to teach that without tears.

Lori Lull

Review posted August 14, 2018


This book is really helpful for my volunteer work with a local nonprofit. It is fairly condense (only about 100 pages) and focused on info I need to know for bookkeeping & financial record keeping. I think it would be a bit overwhelming for someone without a financial background, but for my purposes it is a good review of information that I have previously learned. This book is helping me and other board members institute better financial controls and more responsible practices in our organization.

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Review posted August 7, 2018


This is a great book showing the fundamentals of bookkeeping. Great as a refresher course OR as training for a new bookkeeper.


Review posted July 2, 2018


This book has excellent foundational information. I appreciated the worksheets in the back of the text. We will definitely utilize the information in this text in our organization.

Brenda Bailey

Review posted June 10, 2018


This is an excellent book on the basics of non profit bookkeeping fundamentals. Practical and effective methods of carrying out basics like banking accounts, inventory, ordering and the need for effective protevtion against abuses, mishandling and misappropriation of financial resources of non profits.


Review posted June 7, 2018


This is a great overview for someone who's not familiar with bookkeeping at all. My only complaint is there are not electronic worksheets provided with the book.

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Review posted April 25, 2018


I love this book. I have added bookkeeping to my job responsibilities and would benefit from taking a class. Without the time for that, this book has come to my rescue. Thank you!!! It spells out what we do and why we do it -- which makes doing my job infinitely easier.


Review posted April 24, 2018


I found this book helpful.


Review posted April 17, 2018


Pretty good resource.

T Kilroy

Review posted April 1, 2018


Bookkeeping Basics is a must have in a nonprofit library. The visual examples, charts and tips make it easy to follow and understand. This book is a valuable resource. Teresa Kilroy, Hope for Happy Camp, Inc.


Review posted October 24, 2017


While we work with a bookkeeper and a CPA it quickly became obvious that I needed to better understand their jargon in order to better communicate with them. This book is a great basic tool to help me with that as well as helping me better explain the statement of activities to my staff and my board. This will be my go-to how-to guide. Thanks!


Review posted October 16, 2017


concise and ideas easy to implement. Love the reproducible forms.


Review posted September 19, 2017


As someone with little bookkeeping experience this was very helpful and accessible.


Review posted September 11, 2017


I was surprised this book is really easy to follow and I enjoyed the helpful charts. Basic concepts for the essentials of bookkeeping. Thank you for an easy reliable resource.


Review posted August 22, 2017


As a professional bookkeeper and aspiring accountant, this book covered a part of bookkeeping that I was largely unfamiliar with (bookkeeping for a non-profit). This book does a good job of taking the untrained and giving them a foundation in bookkeeping basic. It then goes on to cover some of the more interesting parts of working with non-profit books such as donor intent. The great thing about this book is that it walks the reader through the bookkeeping cycle in a simple and easy to follow manner without getting into too much detail (the sort of detail that accountants would need to know). I would recommend this book for any person in a non-profit who touches the bookkeeping function. It would also be a good supplement book to add as accounting or bookkeeping curriculum.

Suz Ybarra

Review posted July 5, 2017


The writing is conversational. The information is practical. This book is for any non-profit which wants to "bring order out of chaos, safeguard assets, and/or provide useful information for decision-making" (paraphrase from Preface).


Review posted May 22, 2017


This is a great handbook for anyone who is part of a non profit. Great information on all you need if you are the CFO of a 501c3!


Review posted March 15, 2017


I took accounting classes about 13 years ago. However, the classes had pretty much nothing to do with non-profits. Reading this book refreshed some of my accounting skills. This book lays out easy to understand. What this book has that others don't is very specific instructions for going definitions for all the common terms and presents bookkeeping basics in a clear, concise, and practical way that is from source documents to making journal entries to posting to the General Ledger.


Review posted January 28, 2017


Book illustrations and charts were helpful.


Review posted September 30, 2016


This book covers the fundamentals for effective nonprofit bookkeeping. Although it focuses on the needs of medium to large organizations, it is a useful tool for any size nonprofit group that needs to keep its budget and financial management on track.


Review posted September 27, 2016


I hadn't studied accounting or anything before reading this book, so I found it really helpful. It might not be as helpful for someone who has more experience in the field, but it gives a good, basic overview of everything you need to know - just like the title suggests. Thanks, Select Books!


Review posted September 27, 2016


This was a very helpful book for basic nonprofit bookkeeping.


Review posted September 19, 2016


Very good lots of information


Review posted July 14, 2016


This is a good but very basic book on bookkeeping in nonprofits. For "accidental bookkeepers" in small nonprofits it would serve as a solid introduction to the concepts, paving the way for implementing a great number of accounting practices. It has a section on financial controls with a checklist, which is a great plus. One pet peeve I have is that when closing books for the month, some bills are not available. In this case, most nonprofits should record an estimated amount with a reversing transaction on the first of the following month, and await the actual bill. This gets most of the expense in the correct month and allows for accuracy in the long run. I could not find anything that explained how to do that, but I think most small nonprofits should have a practice like that in place. That aside, if a new nonprofiteer implemented all the suggestions in this book, it would go along way toward a sound financial basis for a new organization.


Review posted June 28, 2016


Incredibly insightful, this book provides a great framework for the untrained bookkeeper and also reinforces that framework while it walks you through the process of establishing your non-profits financial systems. It seems geared towards slightly larger non-profits but can still be helpful for even smaller organizations that have the potential to grow.


Review posted June 16, 2016


It was VERY basic. I enjoyed learning about bookkeeping by hand, AND am very grateful we have accounting software. Having said that, I recommend that everyone learn the manual process in order to understand the reports that are generated by an automated process.

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Review posted May 18, 2016


This book was very informative as to how to keep track of finances of an organization without necessarily having a book-keeping background or training. Anyone who understands balancing a check book or household budget can read this and understand the basics of book keeping for a small nonprofit.


Review posted May 9, 2016


Finally I get to learn the difference between Cash and Accrual basis. Don't skim through the 2nd chapter. Packed with info. Digest it slowly. Charts could use some cute graphics though.


Review posted May 5, 2016


Great book. Simple to understand. Great for beginners.


Review posted March 16, 2016


It was very basic. It would need to be supplemented by updated material for it to be more effective.


Review posted February 14, 2016


I was recently elected to be a treasurer for a tenant group. I don't have a bookkeeping background. This book has been enormously helpful to me for setting up my accounting system. With the forms and the samples, I'm convinced I can do this properly. Thank you having such a book available.


Review posted February 10, 2016


I am so glad to have been introduced to this book. After going over the concepts, I was able to share with our non-profit board that we needed to institute some internal controls to protect ourselves. The idea was well received and we now have a system in place to divide the duties of handling the finances. Thank-you for this valuable resource.


Review posted January 29, 2016


An informative book with useful definitions, examples and diagrams.

Josephy Center

Review posted January 25, 2016


This book is an excellent guide and resource for learning the ins and outs of Bookkeeping. It even answers some of the questions you are too embarrassed to ask! They also have generic forms that are very useful for your reference. I highly recommend this book for the novice and the expert.


Review posted January 8, 2016


I thought this was a pretty good book that outlined some fundamentals of bookkeeping. It offered enough detail to help volunteer managers with the basics.


Review posted November 7, 2015


Lots of great info for beginners.


Review posted October 28, 2015


Bookkeeping Basics is a great reference book for non-profit board members when they want a quick understanding of board treasurer duties and responsibilities. I plan to share this easy-to-understand handbook with our Board Treasurer-elect.


Review posted October 26, 2015


This is an excellent tool for any level of non profit book keeper. It is a great reference book to keep on hand. I highly recommend it to any one looking to improve their skills.

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Review posted August 2, 2015


Good information.


Review posted July 13, 2015


Very easily written, step by step, I really liked the extra tips in the margins that were provided.


Review posted June 29, 2015


The book was very easy to understand. I have no bookkeeping experience and frankly I am not that great at math but the book was easy to follow. I would feel comfortable doing some basic bookkeeping after reading this book.

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Review posted January 13, 2015


Every non-profit bookkeeper should have this book. It covers everything in a very concise and understandable manner.


Review posted December 22, 2014


Very helpful book with useful appendixes. I recommend to anyone managing books for nonprofits.