Frequently Asked Questions

IFR4NPO FAQs

How we can help?

The FAQ is split into the following sections:

  • The need for guidance
  • Applicability of the guidance
  • Developing and maintaining the guidance
  • Events and training
  • Funding and fundraising

The need for Guidance

International Financial Reporting Standards are written to apply to for-profit organisations and do not provide comprehensive guidance for some aspects common to non profits, such as grants and donations, fund accounting and assets held for social purpose rather than income generation.

Users of general purpose financial statements gain a better understanding of the reporting entity’s size, capacity and financial health. Where users are donors or potential donors, this can provide better quality assurance and improve the due diligence process, facilitating the flow of funds.
If the guidance enables better visibility of specific funds or projects in the context of the organisation as a whole, this could reduce the need for multiple financial audits, and make it easier to detect ‘double funding’ fraud.
If the guidance enables improved visibility relating to indirect costs, it could provide organisations and donors with independently verified information as a reference point in overhead contribution discussions.
It becomes possible to more readily compare and benchmark NPOs within the same country and across borders.
For international organisations, it greatly facilitates consolidation.
Accounting package providers can design software to meet the reporting needs of the sector when there is consensus about what those needs are.

Applicability of the Guidance

The guidance relates to the general purpose financial reports, also referred to as the ‘annual audited accounts’, usually comprising the annual report and financial statements.  It does not apply to special purpose reports such as project level reports requested by a donor.
It is our current presumption that it is not generally appropriate for donors to make prescriptions about a grantee’s organisation-wide reporting, especially if that organisation has potentially conflicting national requirements it is required to comply with.  It is hoped that donors will recognise the guidance as representing best practice.
This question is subject to the feedback from the consultation paper. The current presumption is that the guidance would be applicable to a wide range of not-for-profit activities and organisations, and will benefit small and medium as well as larger entities.  It is not intended for micro sized entities.

Many of the countries that already have national standards for NPOs are actively involved in the Technical Advisory Group. The hope is that over time, national jurisdictions will be able to align to an agreed international position.  This is equivalent to the convergence in for-profit reporting which has been in process for the over 20 years.

Developing and maintaining the guidance

This is a question that will be addressed in the consultation paper.  For international guidance the presumption is that the basis should be current international standards, and the consultation paper will discuss the advantages and disadvantages with each of the existing international accounting frameworks.

This is a question that will be addressed in the consultation paper.  There are advantages and disadvantages of each approach.  Respondents to the consultation paper will be able to share their views.

We are proactively seeking engagement from national stakeholders in nominated countries.  We also encourage stakeholders from other countries to register, attend online events, respond to the consultation paper once issued, and join the conversation in the online forum. We are keen to engage as widely as possible within the resources of the project.

Specific countries have been selected to enable the project to focus its efforts across ten regions. The regions and countries are shown here.

The final list of sector specific accounting issues to be addressed is subject to feedback in the consultation paper. The list of issues that has been developed to date can be seen here.

If you are aware of a sector specific accounting or financial reporting issue that relates to general purpose financial reports but is not reflected in the list of issues, you could mention it in the Online Forum, give your feedback to the consultation paper, or contact the Project team.

The meetings of the Technical and Practitioner Advisory Groups are fully public.  Visit the TAG and PAG meeting pages to see the details.  The Accounting Issues pages also provide links to discussion on specific issues.

The Consultation Paper sets out the framework level issues for NPOs, and discusses specific accounting issues. The purpose of the Consultation Paper is to receive feedback from a wide range of stakeholders on the issues presented.  This will provide an evidence base for the development of the Guidance, and a rich source of data to feed into the Exposure Draft.

The Exposure Draft is expected to present specific proposed treatments to NPO specific accounting issues, together with rationale and worked examples.  Stakeholders will be able to comment on the proposals including the impact they would have in their own context.  The feedback from the Exposure Draft will be used to finalise the guidance.

Make sure you are subscribed, so that you will automatically be invited to respond to the consultation paper once issued. Anybody is able to respond to the consultation paper.

The Consultation Paper will only be available in English, due to budgetary and time constraints. Responses to the Consultation Paper should be in English.

At this stage we do not have budget to translate the guidance into different languages, but we hope this might be possible in the future.  If you would be interested in funding translation of the guidance into your language, please do contact us.

The organisations implementing this project are the Humentum and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, accountable to an independent Steering Group. Initial seed funding has been granted by Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation.  Neither organisation nor the funders have a vested interested in any particular outcome, other than one that as far as possible reflects the expressed needs and preferences of the global community.  All Advisory Meetings are publicly available. Our income policy ensures there is no conflict of interest with respect to funders or sponsors.

The International Accounting Standards Board has formally acknowledged the need and demand for NPO Guidance.  The IASB are in support of the project’s objectives and have a representative attending meetings of the Technical Advisory Group as an official observer.

The Forum of Firms, which represents the world’s largest audit firms, nominated three individuals to serve on the Practitioner Advisory Group to ensure that the views of the audit sector as a whole are reflected in the discussions.

Yes, the other sector wide initiatives being actively considered are the ‘Good Financial Grant Practice’ and ‘Money Where it Counts’. See the ‘Trio of Projects’ paper here for more information.  If you are aware of another relevant sector project, please contact us.

Options for the maintenance of the Guidance will be developed through the project to ensure lasting and sustained impact.

Events and training

Go to the events page and search for your country. If there is a Country Champion for your Country reach out to them.  If there is not a country champion contact the project team.

Yes we are keen to know about any events you are aware of as early as possible, so we an explore opportunities to participate. Please email the project team at info@ifr4npo.org.

The project budget includes provision for the development of training materials for the final Guidance and will be available in the final stages of the project.

The project budget includes provision for the development of training materials in the final year, which will support preparers, users and auditors to understand the requirements of the Guidance. Since individual entities will be transitioning from a wide range of starting points as current practice (for example in the treatment of grants), it will fall to specific jurisdictions to provide country specific guidance.

Funding and fundraising

No single body is responsible for the development of Accounting Standards for the Non Profit sector.  Following initial seed funding from two major Foundations, it is hoped that funding will come from a wide range of sector stakeholders.  See more information about the project finances and fundraising plans.

To see the range of contribution and visibility options available, see the Funding page.  Please do contact the project team who can help, as well as provide relevant documentation you may need to support the payment.

The project welcomes sponsorship of events such as Advisory Group Meetings, Country Awareness Events, Regional Consultations, and Donor Reference Group meetings, as well as webinars and online events.  Sustaining sponsors are given preferential opportunities to sponsor events. See the funding page for more information. Please contact the project team on info@ifr4npo.org if you are interested in sponsoring an event or exploring options.

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