Accountancy software for non-profit organisations

Whether you class yourself as a not-for profit organisation, charity, church or a social enterprise, keeping on top of the accounts can really help you achieve your objectives. What do you need from your accounting software and how can you make the most of it in your non-profit organisation?

What is the difference between non-profit organisations and for-profit businesses?

A business that classes itself as for-profit will focus on making a profit for the owner and shareholders. They will try to maximise revenue while keeping costs down as much as is reasonably possible. A non-profit organisation will also aim to keep revenue above costs, but with the aim of reinvesting any profits into the organisation to achieve objectives which are charitable, sociable or community based.

It’s useful to remember that although ‘not-for-profit’ and ‘non-profit’ are common terms, they have no legal meaning in the UK. As explained on the GOV.UK website, you can set up as a limited company, a charity, a co-operative, a community interest company (CIC) or a sole trader or business partnership. Your organisation will typically fall into one of two categories:

A social enterprise, one which generates income by selling goods and services, such as The Eden Project, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and The Big Issue

A charity, generating income mostly grants and donations, for example Macmillan Nurses or Oxfam.

What financial legislation must you abide by as a non-profit in the UK?

If you are a not-for-profit business or registered as a charity, you must prepare

- A set of accounts
- An annual return
- Trustees’ annual report.

You should also expect to be audited, which means your accounts will be independently examined. Larger non-profit organisations will have their accounts audited annually to make sure that everything is in order.

Although maintaining the accounts and bookkeeping for non-profits may seem a bit daunting at first – not to mention the reports and audits – in the long run it actually helps you to run a successful organisation. Projects are completed, salaries are paid and services are delivered.

This useful Sage blog by Zeinab Lenton explains where to start when setting up your accounts as a non-profit organisation.

How can your accounting software help you achieve those goals?

Having effective online accounting software in place can help you comply with the various legislation surrounding not-for-profit organisations, charities and social enterprises, so you can be confident that your records are well managed and fully up to date. You will also be able to budget more effectively and plan for the future, helping you focus more clearly on your goals. There are a number of ways in which Sage One can help you do that.
Accounting software for non-profits and charities:

Online accounting software can help you to stay on top of your finances on an ongoing basis. Because Sage One accounting software offers such a comprehensive way to manage your accounts, it is very popular among not-for-profit organisations, charities and social enterprises.

Create quotes and invoices:

Easily generate new quotes and invoices customised with your logo and contact details. You can email these directly to your customers or export to PDF. Because you are creating them directly into Sage One, you save time on manually entering the information into the system.

Cashflow management:

it’s so important for not-for-profit organisations to keep a close eye on the budget. With Sage One you can take a look at the dashboard to track the money coming in and out, or view reports for more in-depth analysis.


The Sage One reporting feature can help you track and monitor the performance of your organisation. Take a look at the balance sheet, look at profit and loss and run a quick cashflow forecast to help you plan ahead and make decisions for the coming months, like should you focus on delivering projects of fundraising? The ease of creating reports is particularly useful if you ever undergo an audit and need to run off information on a particular area of the organisation without having had time to prepare in advance.

Connect to the bank:

Connect Sage One to your bank account to automatically import all your receipts and payments, cutting down on time spent on data entry and reconciling the bank.

Make fundraising easy

with Sage Pay, which allows you take donations online, face to face, over the phone or by invoice.


Sage One will let you record transactions in multiple currencies. If you offer services overseas, this is a real time saver and helps you avoid human error with tricky calculations involving converting currencies.


Sometimes charities can have a separate trading arm to allow them to pursue their main goal and still keep their charitable status. With Sage One you can keep all the different accounts in one location and access them with a single login.

Collaborate with your accountant:

You can give your accountant a login to your Sage One accounts so they can access the information without having to come to your office. You can also give individual team members access rights and manage what information they see.

A monthly fee

means you can spread the cost rather than pay in one go upfront. Because it’s cloud based, you don’t have to worry about keeping up to date with the latest version of the software.

Free 24/7 support:

Every Sage One subscription includes free 24/7 telephone and email support, plus web chat available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Get started quickly.

Often if you work in a non-profit organisation you’re keeping a lot of plates spinning and haven’t necessarily got the time to sit down and learn how to use online accounts software. The Sage One help wizard is on hand to offer step-by-step guides to help you get off to a good start. You can easily import your customers, suppliers and opening balances to ensure you have a true picture of your financial position.

Cloud-based and app

Download the Sage One Mobile App from the Apple App Store and Android Play Store, to have even more control over the accounts, even if you’re not at your desk. You can quickly send invoices and record any payments in real time and the app will automatically update your accounts. Being based in ‘the cloud’ rather than on your desktop means you can securely access your accounts from wherever you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection.

Getting started with Sage One

Sign up for a 30-day free trial and find out how Sage One can streamline the processes in your non-profit organisation.

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