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Upcoming series- Nonprofit Special Events Reporting

On Thursday, January 21st, we’ll begin a weekly 4 part series written by principal Greg Rogers regarding the best practices for nonprofit special events reporting.  Please see the introduction to the series below and stay tuned!


The reporting of special events revenue and related expenses is often presented differently from one charity to the next. Why the inconsistency?  For starters, the special events reporting requirements of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as well as the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) are not aligned. Secondly, the guidelines under both sets of rules are onerous. As a result, nonprofit organizations and CPA practitioners often do not have a clear understanding of the rules for special events reporting, leading to diversity in practice.  Because of this inconsistency, funders relying on the audited financial statements and tax returns of charities for grant making decisions may draw incorrect conclusions about a charity’s efficiency ratio[1] or the success of its special events.  This could, in turn, lead grant makers to pass on funding an otherwise worthy charity.

As a CPA working with many nonprofit organizations, I have experienced firsthand the difficulties that special events reporting can present for preparers.  Having worked with other CPAs while sitting on boards and professional committees, I have witnessed diversity in practice in reporting special events on both financial statements and tax returns.

It is the intent of this white paper to identify common special events reporting errors, articulate best practices for reporting the financial results of nonprofit fundraising events, and sensitize the reader to some reporting misconceptions that exist.

[1] efficiency ratio – the ratio of a public charity’s programmatic expenses to its total expenses, which is a strong indicator of the degree to which the organization is utilizing its revenue stream to fund its programs.

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