Non-governmental organizations in the face of a dilemma: accounting books versus simplified record of revenues and costs


According to the latest report of the Central Statistical Office[1], about 91.8 thousand non-governmental organizations operate actively in Poland. It is estimated that more than half of them are faced with the dilemma of applying simplified record of revenues and costs as an alternative to accounting books. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is a benefit and cost analysis of both these forms of accounting records, with particular regard to objective premises determining the purposefulness of their application. To achieve this goal the following hypothesis was adopted: internal determinants of the NGO determine the choice of the form of accounting records. The analysis shows that the greatest benefits resulting from the application of simplified records of revenues and costs will be related to small non-governmental organizations, focused primarily on the implementation of local social initiatives and whose main source of funding are membership fees and donations. In turn, those entities, whose aspirations extend beyond local markets, characterized by a large diversification of financing sources and high growth potential, should decide on maintaining accounting books.

The author applied the following research methods: literature studies, the analysis of legal acts as well as induction and synthesis methods used in the formulation of conclusions.

PDF (English)


Agyemang G., O'Dwyer B., Unerman J., Awumbila M., The nature of knowledge sharing in NGO accounting and accountability processes, Royal Holloway University of London, London 2012.

Czubakowska K., Winiarska K., Rachunkowość jednostek nieprowadzących działalności gospodarczej [The accounts of entities not engaged in business activities], Polish Economic Publishers, Warszawa 2015.

Leś E., Leksykon polityki społecznej [Social politics lexicon], ed. B. Rysz-Kowalczyk, ASPRA-JR Publishing House, Warszawa 2001.

Moroń D., Organizacje pozarządowe- fundament społeczeństwa obywatelskiego [Non-governmental organizations – the foundation of civil society], Publishing house of the University of Wrocław, Wrocław 2012.

Nawrocki W., Rachunkowość fundacji i stowarzyszeń [The accounts of foundations and associations], ODDK, Gdańsk 2017.

Regulation of the Minister of Finance from 18 December 2015 on keeping simplified records of revenues and costs by some non-governmental organizations and associations of local government units (Journal of Laws 2015, item 2178).

Rydzkowski J., Słownik Organizacji Narodów Zjednoczonych [Dictionary of the United Nations], Wiedza Powszechna, Warszawa 2000.

Sadowska B., Modelowanie polityki rachunkowości Państwowego Gospodarstwa Leśnego Lasy Państwowe [w] Dylematy i perspektywy rozwoju finansów i rachunkowości [Modelling of the accounting policy in the State Forest National Forest Holding [in] Dilemmas and perspectives for the development of finance and accounting], ed. P. Szczypa, A. Zimny, Publishing House of the State University of Applied Sciences in Konin, Konin 2017.

Spiro P.J., Accounting for NGOs, Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 3/2002, No. 1.

Supera-Markowska M., Rachunkowość organizacji pozarządowych [The accounts of non-governmental organizations], Espol Sp. z o.o., Warszawa 2014.

The Act of 24 April 2003 on public benefit and volunteer work (Journal of Laws 2016, item 239 as amended).

The Act of 29 September 1994 on Accounting (Journal of Laws 2018, item 395 as amended).

The list of Public Benefit Organizations 2018, Department of Social Economy and Public Benefit, (access: 01.02.2018).