(I realize I’m dating myself by having a links page, but what can I say? I came up in the eighties.)

Other radical and/or nonprofit bookkeepers

A Bookkeeping Cooperative in Brooklyn. In another life, CKB would be working here.

Alex Fischer is a rad activist and runs Open Bookkeeping in Brattleboro, Vermont.

In Boston, Lisa Goldstein pens the awesome informative site The Power of Paperwork.

Nick Ware is a crack nonprofit accountant in the Boston area with a wonderfully useful blog.

Accounting basics

Bean Counter
I taught myself accounting on this site. Bean Counter, a.k.a. David Marshall, is an angel in human form who has put up a tremendous amount of accounting knowledge in a super-accessible way. He also has a corny sense of humor. You cannot do better than start your learning at Bean Counter.

The Houston Chronicle’s bookkeeping pages
The Houston Chronicle is a surprisingly bountiful source of technical bookkeeping information. I have come across their pages while researching everything from owner draws to vacation accrual. Don’t mess with Texas.

Massachusetts state agencies

State Attorney General

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance

  • Employer login here.
  • To change the online administrator (DUA will only talk to that person), go here and scroll down to download the UI Online System Administrator Designation Form.
  • The phone number for employers is (617) 626-5075.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue

For more on the joys of state agencies, see Starting a Nonprofit in Massachusetts.

Payroll processors

In my opinion, it’s really not a good idea to try to do payroll yourself. It’s wicked complicated and involves a lot of laws on both the federal and state levels, and you can get into a serious bind if you do something wrong. Use a payroll processor, and do it online because it’s not 2005 anymore.

This is the most popular service, in my experience. I tend to encourage my clients to go with RUN, even though ADP is a huge corporation and I hate corporations, because it’s easy to use and I’m familiar with it. My biggest gripe is that it doesn’t have an “accountant” feature that would allow me to access all my clients from a single login. (You may see messages on RUN suggesting you “add your accountant,” but this only allows me to view your data, not process your payroll.)

Paychex Flex
Only slightly less common than RUN, and nearly as easy and friendly. Plus, it has an accountant-access feature! You have to call them to get onto it, though. Both companies also offer retirement-plan services.

Gusto comes recommended by the fine folks at A Bookkeeping Cooperative (see above).

IRS links

This year’s 990 and instructions
This year’s 990-EZ and instructions

And the common 990 schedules:

Nonprofit advice

Blue Avocado is a lively site which features financial resources as well as a column by Vu Le of Nonprofit AF (see below).

Nonprofits Assistance Fund: This site focuses on financial matters and has an excellent resource library with tons of templates. (Sadly, this link is broken as of July 2019.)

Nonprofit AF: Which you can think of as “Nonprofit and Friends” if you wish.

National Council of Nonprofits has a useful tools and resources page.

Lawyers Clearinghouse is happy to connect your small, slightly confused nonprofit with pro-bono lawyers who will help you apply for your 501(c)(3) and/or advise on legal issues.

Stanford Law has a lot of nonprofit documents for you.

Audit firms I’ve worked with

These folks all treated me well. Remember, an auditor is not your friend exactly, but not your enemy!

Smith, Sullivan & Brown PC (an all-woman firm!)

Kevin P. Martin

R A E & Associates CPAs, LLC (principal Regis Ehui)

AAF CPAs are probably too expensive for your little organization, but they’re the big nonprofit audit firm in the Boston area and good people.

Other stuff

Secure messaging: Signal. Edward Snowden–endorsed, and useful for sending and receiving confidential information such as payroll and tax forms.

990 lookup: Charity Navigator and GuideStar. You know sometimes when things are a little chaotic at your org and you just need to see what 990s have been filed?

Best way to keep notes: Nuclino. Elegant knowledge-base app, a CKB favorite.

Registered agent service: Northwest Registered Agent. Their website is droll and their service is efficient and moderately priced. Someday maybe I’ll post a blog entry about why you might need a registered agent.