Underpinning all financial management systems is a series of financial policies and procedures which guide operations and lay out how your organisation uses and manages its money. A financial procedures manual brings all these together in one document. It helps to establish financial controls within the organisation 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 trustees, managers and other staff.
There is no one model of a financial procedures manual and yours will depend on the needs and structure of your organisation. Below are the content headings of each section of a typical financial procedures manual. They can act as the starting point for your own manual and can be adapted to cover the needs and activities of your organisation. Your manual may also need to include key elements of external financial regulations.
Typical content headings for a financial procedures manual
- Trustees' financial responsibilities.
- Controls on expenditure - who can spend what and with whose authority.
- Controls on financial assets - 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, and what permissions are needed.
- Controls on physical assets - for example, who can authorise the sale and lease of buildings or equipment.
In addition to the above headings, the manual may also include key elements of external financial regulations.
Source: Published with permission from Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness. This material is taken from "Tools for Success: doing the right things and doing them right", published in October 2008. Download or buy your copy from Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness.
Need more on financial procedures?
Have a look at our how-to guide on How to write a financial procedure guide.
- Guidance CC8: internal financial controls for charities - Charities Commission