As a final word on the topic of a VOPE’s financial management, keep these tips in mind for running your VOPE’s finances in an efficient and transparent manner:
- Be realistic when you budget and forecast.
- Pay attention to the record keeping of the organization, develop an efficient and easy to use filing system. This will enhance your internal control and will be vital when managing finances. If you are able to access the correct information quickly, you will be reminded of decisions made about financial and other matters and meet legal requirements effectively.
- Develop, document and implement a process to monitor performance against the budget on a monthly basis. This will assist in ensuring your operations are going according to plan and afford you the opportunity to make early and less costly changes.
- If you take on special projects and need to produce special financial reports for donors, make sure that there is an agreed timeframe for the submission of such a report, and plan all payments and accounting tasks in order to meet this deadline.
- Use a cashflow forecast to ensure that there is enough cash in the bank to cover expenses throughout the year. If you take on special projects, make sure that the donors commit to paying the money in time for big disbursements, or make bridging finance arrangements. In the case of hosting a conference - it may be necessary to pay a conference venue deposit or other deposits well before the VOPE has received any conference registration fees, and while the VOPE is still negotiating with potential donors to support the conference.
- Consider outsourcing financial aspects to experts in the field. Consider various options, for example some organizations outsource only their bookkeeping function while keeping the higher level financial management function of analysis, reporting and budget preparation with an internal staff member. It might be cost effective to utilize an external source to set up systems for financial management (e.g. receiving payments), once these systems are running smoothly, you can create capacity in your VOPE to attend to the day to day operations.
- Always remember the most basic financial control is the involvement of at least two people in every transaction or activity.
- All financial controls should be documented in writing and distributed throughout the organization.
- Be "business-like". Manage your finances carefully, take time to attend to them on a regular basis, keep records and use the financial information to plan for future growth.