SSP Basic Fiscal Structure and Process Hacks

Choosing Cash vs. Accrual Accounting

You will also need to decide on either cash or what is known as “accrual” accounting. Cash accounting is accounting for transactions at the time payments are made or received. For many small organizations this will be perfectly adequate. However, because there is often a disconnect between when a transaction occurs and when payment is received or made, accrual accounting allows organizations to account for transactions when they are made, rather than when payment takes place.

The primary advantages of accrual accounting are, that it:

  • Makes the relationship between revenue and expenses clearer
  • Creates a more accurate picture of an organization’s assets and liabilities
  • Makes audits possible
  • Helps with budget preparation and long-term planning

The primary disadvantage of accrual accounting is that it can provide an inaccurate picture of cash on hand. Accrual accounting is required of larger organizations, who are expected to have their books audited annually by an outside firm.

More Resources

Don’t reinvent the wheel
During our development Harm Reduction Hacks have collected together a large number of resources from around the web you can find these in our resource folder in Google Docs. We are also always looking for more so help us by suggesting any resources we may have missed.
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External Resources

Collected from around the web
There are a number of external resources that contributed to the development of Harm Reduction Hacks. Here are a selection relating to this section:


The hacks on this site are shared with you under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence. This allows you (with attribution) to adapt content for your own use, although we do ask you to then also allow others to have equal access to anything you develop. More details of this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website.


We do not claim that this is an exhaustive set of strategies, shortcuts, or tips for running an SSP. What we do suggest is that Harm Reduction Hacks offers down-to-earth, practical information for being a better leader, starting and running an SSP, and providing syringe access services. We feel we can say this with confidence because the Hacks are based on interviews with, and the experiences of, literally generations of people who have been doing harm reduction work.

Please note that nothing in this guide should be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney local to your area to ensure your program is in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations that apply to your situation. 

Harm Reduction Hacks site design and implimentation by Nigel Brunsdon

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