2.8.2 Setting up Financial policies and procedures

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This section shares some ideas about tools and examples to use when defining a VOPE’s financial policies and procedures.

"Underpinning all financial management systems is a series of financial policies and procedures which guide operations and lay out how your organization uses and manages its money. A financial procedures manual brings all these together in one document. It helps to establish financial controls within the organization that ensure accuracy, timeliness and completeness of financial data. The manual is generally used by finance staff, but it can also act as a reference for Board members, managers and other staff." (Source: Financial Management Manual Guidelines. 2011. Management STRATAGEMS Group. Accessed 20/05/2014 at 21:31 at http://www.orgwise.ca/sites/osi.ocasi.org.stage/files/resources).

A good financial policy should be easy to understand, flexible, developed by involving employees and other stakeholders as well as easy to implement and administer.  It is imperative for a VOPE to practise sound financial management in the most efficient way possible since VOPEs generally do not have the personnel to maintain and work with complicated financial systems. 

Orgwise (http://www.orgwise.ca/sites/osi.ocasi.org.stage/files/resources/Financial%20Man...recommends that your policies should address the following aspects and these should be documented in your financial management manual:

  • Board Members’ financial responsibilities;
  • Controls on Expenditure - who can spend what and with whose authority;
  • Controls on Income;
  • Controls on Financial Accounting - for example, who records cheques received and who banks them;
  • Exercising Budgetary Control - who can spend how much and on what and what expenditure needs special permission;
  • Controls on Human Resources - who can recruit and for what roles, what permissions are needed and who authorizes pay grades/scales;
  • Controls on Physical Assets - for example, who can authorize the sale, purchase and lease of buildings or equipment.

Additional topics that may need to be addressed in the financial policy include a gift policy, a reimbursement policy for employee and Board expenses, the roles and responsibilities of the Financial and Audit Committee, as well as policies and procedures on the preparation, publication and distribution of financial and tax reporting (i.e. Financial Reports).  Since VOPE Board members are generally not permanent employees and rotate often, you would also need to ensure that all new Board members are made aware of the policies and procedures, and that there is an engagement with old Board members to ensure knowledge is passed on between Board members. 

Keywords: 
Finances, Accounting, Policies

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