Not-for-Profits – Keeping your finances in order

charitable-givingYou may have noticed I like writing about not-for-profits. How great is it knowing that your hard work is benefiting others in need? Just recently, on behalf of a not-for-profit organisation, I purchased a bull for a community in Bangladesh. The small group of ladies had been fundraising for over a year to raise the funds. I returned home at the end of the day thinking “wow – how many bookkeepers can say they bought a bull as part of their day’s work?” I felt privileged to be able to share in their excitement and sense of accomplishment.

So here are my tips for keeping finances in great shape if you volunteer or work for a not-for-profit organisation…

  • Have financial procedures in writing and readily available for employees and volunteers to access. Communicate the importance of following these procedures and keep them up to date so that new volunteers and employees can step in to their roles easily.
  • Financial information such as Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Income & Expenditure Statements should be made available to board members prior to meetings.
  • Protect your financial data. This includes regular back-up of accounting data files, limiting who you give access to online banking passwords and keeping confidential employee information in a secure location. For more on protecting financial data, you can read my previous post Reducing the risk of fraud and error.
  • Present your financial information in a way that is easy to understand. Encourage discussion and questions in relation to the finances of the organisation. Board members need to understand where the finances of the organisation are at in order to make informed decisions.
  • Have a budget in place and check for areas that may have blown-out. Budgets may not be exciting, but are a must-have.
  • If your organisation has employed staff to take care of the day to day bookkeeping, the Treasurer should still monitor the overall health of the organisation’s finances and ensure procedures are being followed. If you are the Treasurer of a not-for-profit organisation, you may like to read my previous post What does a Treasurer do for more tips.
  • Have your financials audited regularly. For some tips on preparing for audits you can read my previous post Getting ready for an audit.

I hope my tips have helped you in your quest to stay on top of your organisation’s finances.

Happy bookkeeping…


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