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.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted December 25, 2022


I have used concepts from the book mostly for understanding bookkeeping information on financial statements and expense reports. It is a helpful reference for specific topis.


Review posted November 30, 2022


Very good introduction for the novice bookkeeper in general and novice nonprofit bookkeeper as well. Clearly explains the basics and defines basic concepts in a way that whoever picks up this book will be able to understand. Great Job adding the example worksheets at the end of the book.

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Review posted October 5, 2022


Very useful for those who need to learn, well, the basics of double entry accounting. It was a very fast read for me. I didn't realize I was as advanced as it seems.


Review posted September 28, 2022


This book is extremely helpful to anyone who needs to organize and keep accurate records for any non-profit organization. Highly recommend this book for any one serving on a non-profit board of directors.


Review posted September 24, 2022


This is an excellent book for those new to bookkeeping. Our clients have asked for it.


Review posted June 23, 2022


Very easy to understand, gives you a good foundation from set-up to basic entry. Would recommend to anyone starting or correcting a set of books.


Review posted March 2, 2022


A must have book! I go back to it when need a refresher.


Review posted February 28, 2022


Excellent books


Review posted October 20, 2021


This was a helpful book to review my understanding of basic accounting and provided pragmatic information to simplify my approach to income and expense reconcilliation.


Review posted July 23, 2021


Easy-to-use and follow. Provides examples of booking templates and guides to help support keeping track of expenditures. Useful tool to have desk side for yourself and your team at a non profit who can add orders expensive software. You don't have to be a certified accountant/book keeper to get benefits from this book.


Review posted July 12, 2021


amazing book

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Review posted June 14, 2021


'Bookkeeping Basics' was a helpful read! Our bookkeeper used it to sharpen her skills, and it is a great resource for board members to familiarize themselves with concepts unique to non-profit reporting. I highly recommend this resource.


Review posted June 3, 2021


This is a great primer about bookkeeping basics for the novice. I appreciated the many examples and tables showing reports and discussion about terms and organization of book keeping information.


Review posted April 19, 2021


A thorough guide to the basics of bookkeeping. Whether for a small business or a non profit., this should have everything you need.


Review posted April 15, 2021


This is a great read for bookkeeping basics.


Review posted April 11, 2021


Bookkeeping Basics: What Every Nonprofit Bookkeeper Needs to Know, is a fabulous textbook for anyone who wants to understand basic accounting terms and processes. For example, in the first short chapter you will learn earn the difference between cash and accrual accounting methods, debit and credit, single and double entry bookkeeping! I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you’re interested in a career in bookkeeping, own a business, or just want to make sound business decisions.


Review posted March 18, 2021


This book was so useful for orienting me to bookkeeping! Will be using it as a reference for all my needs.


Review posted March 12, 2021


Very easy to read and understand. The forms are very helpful for me to be able to create useable and accurate worksheets for our records. Gives me the confidence to help in the bookkeeping needs of our non profit organization.


Review posted October 21, 2020


This book is an invaluable resources for small nonprofits with or without staff.


Review posted September 15, 2020


incredibly helpful and an excellent guide to bookepping-


Review posted July 14, 2020


I'm glad I chose Bookkeeping Basics. My knowledge of financial matters is rudimentary and I need to understand how an accounting system works to best serve my non-profit. The language is straight-forward, but the information given is dense. It is easy to understand, but I found that I needed to read and reread in order to get the information to stick in my head. The tables in the back of the book will prove to be very helpful to me as I dig more deeply into our nonprofit's finances and bookkeeping.

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Review posted May 17, 2020


Very instructive; I've returned to it often while rebuilding a non-profits accounting system. Would be a great text-book in a classroom setting. More examples would be helpful but with some study bookkeeping makes more sense which will be evident in our statements going forward.


Review posted May 3, 2020


The book was very helpful for me to learn about non profit bookkeeping.


Review posted April 3, 2020


This book does a good job describing basic bookkeeping and internal controls. It is a nice introduction to the topic. Even though I was familiar with many of the terms, this book gave the necessary detail to help fill in gaps in my knowledge. A board member would also find this book useful in understanding the vocabulary and processes for an organization's finances. The charts don't display well in the Kindle version, so that may be a reason to consider the print edition.


Review posted February 6, 2020


helpful and educational read.


Review posted October 7, 2019


This was very helpful and I keep it on hand when I need clarification on terms or how to do certain transactions. Very helpful!


Review posted September 4, 2019


As a new, small nonprofit business operater, this book has been invaluable to me in putting together our financial system. Every chapter has been easy to understand and follow. It's a relief being able to understand what is needed and required and how to put it all together.

Karen Carnival

Review posted June 13, 2019


This is a good basic book to help new nonprofit bookkeepers without any finance background to conceptualize and understand the how and why of tracking the organization's finances. However, this book is dated in its approach - with so much information available on the Internet and via software programs, it is not necessarily useful as a hands-on tool.


Review posted June 11, 2019


Easy guide to build a better understanding of financial bookkeeping. It's VERY basic and not intended to be a replacement for a trained accountant or CPA. However, if you're like me and needed an introduction to the world of financial records, the approach in this book is not overwhelming.


Review posted April 18, 2019


This book was super helpful in understanding the basics of bookkeeping. as a small nonprofit, we need to be able to do everything we can in house to save money. Information in this book will help us reduce costs.


Review posted April 2, 2019


This is a great book for a beginning bookkeeper at a small nonprofit. Definitions of terms are spot-on. The specific instructions are well written and easy to follow. It is a beginner book, so... keep in mind you'll probably need more as you go.


Review posted March 20, 2019


As a first time Executive Director of an new nonprofit, it fell to me to either set up and keep books for the organization or find a qualified volunteer to do this for us. Either way I needed to understand the basics and the pitfalls of doing things wrong. This book provided everything I needed to know, in a straightforward way, and was filled with examples and templates that helped me move from concept to an understanding of implementation. It broke the work down into manageable steps and exactly what I needed.


Review posted March 16, 2019


This book seems aimed at larger, more complex organizations than ours. With no payroll, minimal assets, fewer than 40 checks written per year, and no accounts receivable, our non-profit would be overwhelmed by the detail suggested in this book. I made it all the way through, but didn't find anything I would consider changing, although there were lots of things we don't do. I don't think the authors understand the realities of a really small, volunteer-driven non-profit.

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Review posted March 6, 2019


I'm really excited to use this book as we set up systems and modify old systems. It is accessible and easy to understand - considering we are talking about accounting systems!


Review posted January 23, 2019


Excellent source of information!


Review posted January 22, 2019


This book is a great introduction to basic bookkeeping. It is simple, clear and easy to read and understand. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a beginner to intermediate bookkeeper who would like to gain an overall perspective of the details of the big picture. Chapter 5 specifically addresses non-profit financial statement presentation which is a must know for all non-profit bookkeepers to understand what their efforts of input produce.


Review posted January 17, 2019


Easy to understand and broke down the basics. If you are starting from scratch with little to no knowledge of basic bookkeeping skills, this book is for you!


Review posted January 8, 2019


an easy to use guide which makes it an easy study on basic steps for basic book keeping. The break down was easy to master and share with other board members.

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Review posted November 28, 2018


This is a great resource for new to nonprofit administrators. It is easy to understand. It literally has everything a nonprofit bookkeeper needs to know outlines.


Review posted November 14, 2018


East to use, clear, answered a lot of basic questions for others in my organization.


Review posted November 9, 2018


It's a lot of basics, really helpful in understanding terms. Explained the difference between cash and accrual accounting, shoebox vs standard, liability etc.


Review posted October 31, 2018


Good Book. I don't do well with numbers but this was easy enough to get the basic concept of what non-profit skills you need.

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Review posted October 30, 2018


Although a very dry read, this book is essential for anybody who must keep books and is not used to maintaining the basic functions.


Review posted October 25, 2018


We needed this.


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.