If your background does not include extensive experience in accounting, the learning curve can sometimes be pretty steep. In this help file, we wanted to share some of the basics when it comes to accounting both here in ISP and beyond.
First, while there are plenty of different transaction types, the most commonly used transactions are Monetary Contributions and Expenses, and each transaction will have a cash impact.
For example, Monetary Contributions and Other Income transactions increase cash, while Expenses decrease cash.
There are also some transactions, such as Inkind Contributions, that have no impact on cash. The reason is they are considered a gift of something rather than money.
Sometime you want to enter the exact opposite of a transaction, such as a reversed Monetary Contribution. A reversed Monetary Contribution is a lot like an expense, as its purpose is to decrease to cash. These are created by checking the Is Reversal box at the top of the transaction details.
So if reversed contributions reduce cash and so do expenses, what’s the difference? It is a subtle one and mostly has to do with properly understanding, as well as reporting, your finances.
With a campaign, or a business, you have your income and you have your expenses. A reversed Contribution is a decrease in income rather than an expense. The most common situation would be a bounced check.
When adding contributions to the system prior to batching them into deposits, it helps to add them to the Undeposited area, then batch them according to when they were deposited into your bank account, as opposed to adding each transaction to the Register and batching them after the fact. This also will allow for a smoother reconciliation process.
It’s also a useful practice to add transactions to the database as soon as you can. This allows the AI feature to warn you of any potential issues with your transaction you may have missed when adding them. When it comes to reporting, the last thing you’ll want to deal with are issues on a deadline.
Bookkeeping is essentially a way of recognizing there’s an accounting mistake somewhere but you don’t have the time to figure out exactly what so in the meantime, in order to temporarily get totals correct, you’ll enter a correcting transaction instead.
Please note we don’t recommend this but we understand sometimes it’s necessary.
Once you have filed your report or handled any other tasks that required the Bookkeeping transaction, be sure to go back and determine the cause of the discrepancy, then remove the Bookkeeping transaction.
Cash vs. Net Worth
You may see these two terms in the system, Cash on Hand and Net Worth. While they have some similarities in specifics, the biggest difference between the two is where Cash on Hand means the actual amount of money you have in the bank, Net Worth is the cash you have MINUS any outstanding debt you may have, such as loans or accrued expenses.
You can generate a report of Cash on Hand vs Net Worth on the Compliance Tools page under the Reporting tab.