Accounting for charitable giving in business

I read a bible verse from Nahum 3:16 this morning, where Nahum judged the business people of Nineveh for exploiting resources with no intent to replenish what they used. Interestingly enough, I’ve know clients that exploit their employees, vendors and customers. Thankfully these companies don’t last forever. I’ve also run into a few clients that actively give back as a normal practice of their business.

One professional service client set up a scholarship fund to his alma mater, and quietly donates money to his church, as well as individuals in desperate need. A retail business I work with donates there facility to nonprofit organizations so that they can hold fundraising events. Finally, a contractor I work with pays his staff to assembly community gardens and pick up litter.

From an accounting perspective it’s had for me to draw a direct line from these examples of charitable giving, over to an amazing bottom line (profit), but I have to admit that each one of these businesses is doing very well indeed. I should also point out that they didn’t wait until they were successful to begin giving money or time to their community. It was part of their business from day one.

I’m certain that generosity, combined with the correct frame of mind, will be rewarding. In other words, if you’re going to give, you need to do so because you want to give and because it makes you feel great.

Sadly these giving organizations are the exception to my client base, and small businesses in general. Do you have a serious plan for giving back within your business? If so, please tell me what you do, and how you’ve been rewarded in the comments section.


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