Not-for-profit certificate program

Enhance your technical skills as a not-for-profit board member or accountant.

Event Details

Location and date:
Online On-Demand Event

Charities and not-for-profits make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy. The industry is in need of skilled professionals that have solid financial acumen and an understanding of the differences between for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises. CPA Canada has developed this unparalleled program to help empower not-for-profit professionals.

You’re serving on a board or you're working in a not-for-profit organization (NFP). You’re ambitious and looking to make a difference. Your goal is to hone your skills in key accounting and governance concepts with the ultimate goal of adding significant contribution and impact to your cause or organization. This program can help you achieve those goals through:

  • understanding financial statement concepts unique to NFPOs, including concepts from the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting, Part III
  • knowing your reporting obligations
  • understanding the restricted fund and deferral method of revenue recognition
  • understanding the nature of NFPO governance and key roles and responsibilities of the board and various committees

Presented in a flexible online format that consists of seven modules and 40 hours of interactive online learning, this certificate program includes built-in knowledge checks and a final assessment to help create a confident not-for-profit board member or accountant.

This program is designed for those new to the not-for-profit industry, either participating on a board or working in an organization. It is recommended to have a base understanding of business and financial management.

Note: If you are not a CPA member, you will need to purchase access to the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting for this course.

View the agenda

Special offers/promotions

Get free access to complementary resources

Until March 31, 2020, receive free and immediate access to invaluable resources that will complement your NFP Forum learning experience. These relevant resources include:

  • Not-for-Profit Governance: Summary Resource Guide
  • Performance Measurement for Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs): Case Study – University Canada
  • Performance Measurement for Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs): Case Study – Habuela Springs Swim Club
  • Management Accounting Guideline: Performance Measurement for NPOs
  • Financial Reporting Alert: Accounting Standards Applicable to Canadian Private Sector Not-for-Profit Organizations (NPOs)

Additional options and pricing may be available. See pricing and registration for more details.

Members $1,225 | Non-members $1,225

40 CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

You will learn about:

  • not-for-profit industry and reporting obligations
  • unique requirements for registered charities
  • basics of not-for-profit governance and oversight
  • financial statement concepts unique to NFPO’s
  • overview of the deferral and restricted fund methods of revenue recognition

Who should attend?

  • CPAs new to not-for-profit accounting
  • not-for-profit board members
  • non-CPA’s looking to gain sound knowledge in NFP accounting
  • charitable organizations and NFP entities using CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting, Part III and wanting to refine knowledge in this area

This course is not intended for public sector entities.

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Introduction to not-for-profit organizations
• Explain the relevance of NFPOs in Canada.
• Describe the differences between an NFPO and a charity.
• Identify and describe different methods of creating an NFPO.
• Explain how to formally register as a charity and why an organization would choose to do so.
• Describe the financial reporting obligations of an NFPO and the sources of these obligations.

Governance and oversight
• Describe the nature of NFPO governance and the roles and responsibilities of members, the Board of Directors, employees, and volunteers.
• Describe the composition and responsibilities of the Board of Directors, including committee and officer position responsibilities.
• Describe the operating procedures of a Board of Directors, including reporting relationships and liability.
• Describe appropriate ethical considerations in the NFPO context.
• Explain the role of internal controls within an NFPO.
• Explain how an external audit contributes to good internal control.
• Describe the role of budgeting within the context of planning and internal control.
• Explain the role of accounting information in the preparation of grant and funding applications.

Financial statement concepts
• Understand the accounting concepts and principles that are unique to NFPOs.
• Describe the information needs of not-for-profit financial statement users and explain how these are different from those of for-profit organizations.
• Describe the key NFPO accounting concepts of contributions and matching, and explain how each is accounted for.
• Describe how NFPOs determine the criteria for performance measurement, the types of measures that may be used, and how these are communicated.
• Become familiar with Part III of the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting and identify which accounting standards are unique to NFPO reporting.

Registered charities
• Understand the unique requirements for registered charities, including the categories of registered charities and the requirement to use assets for charitable purposes.
• Understand the characteristics of donations and how to issue correct receipts.
• Prepare a basic annual Registered Charity Information Return.
• Describe the process of dissolving a registered charity.

Fund accounting
• Describe fund accounting and the aspects of using fund accounting that are not obvious from reviewing the financial statements.
• Record revenue transactions using the restricted fund method of revenue recognition.
• Provide required disclosure when financial statements are prepared using fund accounting and the restricted fund method of revenue recognition.
• Record basic transactions using fund accounting.

Deferral method
• Record revenue transactions using the deferral method of revenue recognition.
• Prepare the required disclosure and accounting entries when NFPOs receive tangible capital assets as contributions.
• Provide required disclosure when financial statements are prepared using the deferral method of revenue recognition.
• Explain when revenues and expenses must be presented at gross amounts rather than at net amounts.
• Contrast the key differences between the two methods of revenue recognition for restricted contributions.

Endowments and other key NFPO concepts
• Prepare the required disclosure and accounting entries when NFPOs receive endowment contributions.
• Distinguish between a registered charity and other NFPOs.
• Understand basic GST/HST implications for charities and other NFPOs.
• Explain the ethical responsibilities of volunteers, employees, and board members, and the various ethical opportunities that arise in the not-for-profit sector of accounting.

Frequently asked questions:


This material is provided for educational purposes only. Although it has been carefully prepared and reviewed, the presenter and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) cannot accept legal responsibility for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use. The materials are meant to provoke and facilitate thought and reflection. The guidance provided to participants in response to these items is not to be interpreted as conclusive judgment on any specific situation and should not be directly applied to other situations.

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Please contact:

Member Development and Support
Tel: 1-800-268-3793