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Where can I get a list of best practices in accounts payable for a non-profit organization?

Mariam Montano's Profile

I am undertaking research on this to compare against our current practices.


Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Hi Mariam

Some of your payables may be very similar to for-profit organizations (e.g. office supplies, rent, utilities), while some may be very specific to you (e.g. grant based expenditures).

I would think you may get a lot of good comparative data by categorizing your purchase to pay scenarios and then collecting feedback to make comparisons.

Some payables practices may work well regardless of industry...


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Why would A/P practices be any different. Each purchase invoice has an agreed upon set of terms, whether they are related to operational expenses or grant based expenses.

Best practice (purist) would be to pay your liabilities within the terms that were agreed upon. The non-purist/realistic viewpoint is to pay your liabilities as late as possible, which is no different than a for-profit business.

Steve Sheridan
Title: Associate
Company: Dean Lewis Associates
(Associate, Dean Lewis Associates) |

I would start with standard practices and then add some layers. Some non-profits are tightly controlled, so expenses over a certain amount require two signatures. They usually have to be approved by a manager before purchase so this should be noted in the records. Budgets tend to come into play a lot so certain g/l accounts have limits placed upon them. Blackbaud, an ERP for non-profits, lets you put limits and warns you when entering a payable if a budget is exceeded. Cash can be tight as well, so there's usually a finance person who approves check runs beforehand.
To more directly answer your question, it may be worth looking at literature for different non-profit ERP's. They will outline it's capabilities, which may coincide with best practices

Robin Bond
Title: Finance Manager
Company: Walla Walla County Department of Communi..
(Finance Manager, Walla Walla County Department of Community Health) |

MIP from NonProfit Technololgies, Inc. is an excellent ERP for non-profits.

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