Non-profit organisations (vzw/asbl): accounting obligations

Last modified:

Thursday 31 October 2019

A non-profit organisation is legally obliged to keep accounts and draw up annual accounts. As to the system used, that depends on the size of the association: small, large, or very large.

Small non-profit organisation

A non-profit organisation is labelled as ‘small’ if it does not exceed more than one of the following criteria:

  • An annual workforce average of 5 full-time employees
  • Yearly receipts: 312,500 euros (excluding exceptional income)
  • A balance sheet total of 1,249,500 euros

Accounting obligations

Small non-profit organisations may opt for simplified bookkeeping, based on a system of ‘receipts and expenditures’ that are kept in two daybooks.

However, a small non-profit organisation may choose to use a double-entry accounting system, just like large non-profit organisations. In they do, instead of filing the annual accounts with the National Bank of Belgium, they file them at the registry of the Commercial Court in their district.

Large non-profit organisation

A non-profit organisation is labelled as ‘large’ as soon as it exceeds at least two of the following three criteria:

  • An annual workforce average of 5 full-time employees
  • Yearly receipts: 312,500 euros (excluding exceptional income)
  • A balance sheet total of 1,249,500 euros

Accounting-obligations

Large non-profit organisations must use a double-entry accounting system with annual accounts. These annual accounts must be filed with the National Bank of Belgium within thirty days of their approval by the General Meeting.

Good to know: large non-profit organisations may use the abbreviated model for associations and foundations when drawing up their annual accounts.

Very large non-profit organisation

A non-profit organisation is labelled as ‘very large’ as soon as it exceeds at least two of the following three criteria:

  • An annual workforce average of 50 full-time employees
  • Yearly receipts: 7,300,000 euros (excluding exceptional income)
  • A balance sheet total of 3,650,000 euros

Good to know: As soon as a non-profit organisation has a workforce in excess of 100 full-time employees, it is automatically a very large non-profit organisation, regardless of the income or the balance sheet total.

Accounting-obligations

Very large non-profit organisations use the double-entry accounting system and draw up their annual accounts according to the full model for associations and foundations. These annual accounts must be filed with the National Bank of Belgium within thirty days of their approval by the General Meeting. In addition, they appoint one or more accredited statutory auditors to carry out the audit of the financial situation and the annual accounts of the non-profit organisation.

General obligations

Budget

All non-profit organisations must draw up an annual budget for the next financial year and then have it approved by the General Meeting. The non-profit organisation may determine the form of its budget, as there are no legal provisions to that effect.

Good to know: The budget remains internal. Unlike the annual accounts, there is no obligation to submit it to an external party. 

Social balance sheet from 20 employees

Non-profit organisations with an average annual workforce of 20 employees or more – including small non-profit organisations – must complete a social balance sheet. This is part of the standard models (abbreviated and full) of the annual accounts for associations and foundations. Click here to view several social balance sheet templates.

Let's stay in touch

Join more than 25,000 subscribers and receive every fortnight in your mailbox our free newsletter (French or Dutch), packed with the latest news, fascinating testimonials, actionable advice and an overview of useful workshops and networking activities for entrepreneurs in Brussels !