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GAAP For Non-Profits › General Reporting Matters

Statement of Financial Position

The statement of financial position may also be called the balance sheet, or any other suitably descriptive name.

The statement of financial position presents the total assets, liabilities and net assets or net liabilities of the organization. Net assets are the residual of assets after deducting liabilities: Assets = Liabilities + Net Assets. Net Liabilities are presented where there is a residual of liabilities after deducting assets.

On the statement of financial position, similar items not individually significant would be grouped, for examples: cash, accounts receivable, and accounts payable are common groupings of accounts. The key in grouping accounts is the usefulness of the information to the reader, and avoiding excessive information. (1510.03,.07)

Current assets, amounts realized within one year, and current liabilities, are separated from non-current assets and liabilities respectively. (1510.01,.03-.12)

Presentation of the Statement of Financial Position

In our fund accounting example, we presented balances for two funds, and you may be wondering if it is now necessary to present two sets of balance sheets or at least two columns for the balance sheet. We could present (a) a separate balance sheet for each fund with a balance sheet for the totals of both funds, (b) one balance sheet showing the total balances for all funds, or (c) a columnar balance sheet showing the balances for individual funds in columns with a column for the total of all funds. Generally accepted accounting principles require presentation of at least the total of fund balances presented in the statement of financial position. (4400.18) In other words we could use method (a), (b) or (c) as long as the total of fund balances for each line item is presented. Generally accepted accounting principles also require the presentation of prior period comparatives for at least the total of balances for all funds. Therefore, there are several acceptable forms of presentation for the statement(s) of financial position, for examples:

  • Separate balance sheets for each fund with a balance sheet for all funds
  • One single column balance sheet with prior year comparatives
  • A multi-column balance sheet, with a separate column for each fund and a total column with a prior year total column
  • A layered format: a multi-column balance sheet with prior year comparatives for each fund.
  • A multi-column or layered format, showing only the total for all restricted funds, endowments, and general funds, with a total for allfunds and prior year comparatives