Recent high-profile financial mismanagement and governance cases involving UK charities have shone the spotlight on accountability. Charities and not for profits not only have to do the right thing; but increasingly, they have to be seen to do the right thing.
It has not been a good few months for charities and it’s unlikely that the cases currently attracting negative media coverage on their governance will be isolated ones.
Some commentators are warning that the fallout will mean that scrutiny can only get more probing as charities compete for a smaller pool of funding and donations. This added pressure is against an already challenging backdrop of rising expectations and demand, combined with lower government funding and increased costs.
The growing challenge of managing restricted fundingWorried by ‘horror stories’ in the press of inflated overheads and inappropriate use, donors and funding agencies are more likely than ever to specify exactly how they wish to see their money used and may check in future to see if their wishes have been respected.
All this means you need to be able to allocate funds received to the right project or fund, monitor costs against this fund, and be able to quickly provide evidence of sound administration if requested by donors, funders or the regulators.
Tight financial control and good governance require being able to track and report on fund allocation and expenditure. How easy would you find it to demonstrate correct fund allocation and show the full picture on expenditure across multiple projects? How do you assign staff, materials and other costs to specific events, projects and activities?
As has become all too apparent in the past few weeks, there are serious consequences in getting it wrong.
Misposts and mistakesIf you are still managing your finances with a simple accounting package, you are probably heavily reliant on spreadsheets for entering the donation or funding, recording the specific fund it’s been allocated to and then tracking spend.
It’s a risky, error-prone way of managing your finances: multiple manual data entry increases the likelihood of misposts and mistakes creeping in. The donation or funding and its usage can come adrift and it’s then a lot of work to reconcile the two.
Financial pressure is now the norm for most UK charities. You need to deploy limited resources wisely and be ‘watertight’ on showing how funding has been deployed. If your people have to spend valuable time on labour-intensive manual administration or need to devote too many hours to compiling reports, it is worth considering software that’s specifically developed for charitable and not-for-profit organisations.
With more automated and integrated accounting software, once a donation or funding is entered any changes to it or deductions from it are tracked and ripple through to all the areas where it appears. Internally, managers have a clear, up-to-the-minute understanding of their actual spend against budget, while external stakeholders can be provided with reports.
Don’t let the prospect of financial scrutiny keep you awake at night. Advanced Exchequer’s charity edition software has been developed with the specific needs of charities and not-for-profit organisations firmly in mind. Download our brochure to discover more or visit our on-demand webinars page to see the Exchequer solution in action.
Tags: charity, Exchequer, accounting solutions, NFP
Accounting Software | News | Topical
If your company is already established and you’re comfortably making a steady profit on the products and/or services you sell, then now is the time to start thinking about how to grow your business.
Many companies and organisations think of growth as purely increasing sales, but it’s also essential to think about not only achieving it but maintaining steady growth to continually improve on profitability. With this in mind we’ve created a handy guide containing 20 tips to grow your business by looking at 4 areas, strategy, customer, staff and systems.
Check out the full guide to find out how making some simple adjustments to your strategy, such as challenging the norm and diversifying your offering, can pay dividends to your business. There are many small changes revealed in this quick guide that could have a big impact on your growth, from simply looking at what makes up your most profitable customer, to building a high performance team or mobilising your workforce and automating processes.
Take 5 minutes to find out more and read our full guide on ‘Top tips for business growth.’
A quick guide to eXchequer 365's key featuresWith more of us working on the move across different office locations and even countries, it’s common to see today’s professionals checking in with the office on trains, planes, buses – wherever there’s a connection for smartphones and tablets. This flexibility does potentially create its own problems as certain processes still require access to the business management system.
In recognising this need, Advanced Business Solutions has developed eXchequer365 which is a mobile application that sits alongside the standard Exchequer platform. Designed with business continuity in mind the application can be used on both iOS and Android devices as well as through a Windows desktop app.
The data the application receives from the central system is live as long as there’s connectivity, ensuring users have access to up to date information. The main processes it supports are procurement, allowing remote users to raise purchase requisitions which can then be authorised. Functionality also includes general enquiries – allowing access to customer and supplier records, as well as stock information to check availability. It can raise sales orders remotely, which is especially useful for businesses with sales representatives out on the road. Newly introduced in 2015, the solution can now send “push” notifications to alert users of action required.
Figure 1. Exchequer 365 Home screen
Reducing invoicing costs
Designed to be intuitive the mobile app can be used to raise a purchase requisition (PR) which can then be sent through a defined authorisation route depending on its value or what needs to be bought. Each authoriser is notified of the pending transaction as it arrives whatever device they are using. On approval of the PR, office based staff are able to raise the purchase order (PO) which can be sent as a PDF via email or in the post.
In-line with individual company processes or requirements, if the PO needs to be authorised before sending we can also do that by sending out to the relevant people once again. At some point the goods or services that have been ordered will arrive and we can match what is actually received against what was ordered and deal with any discrepancies. The system will automatically deal with the accruals for goods received and not invoiced and reverse these out at the appropriate time. At the point the Purchase Invoice (PI) arrives we can then reverse the process to authorise this getting paid. The invoice is entered on to the system either manually or via one of our document management systems.
Figure 2. Supplier Ledger Figure 3. A list of existing PO's Figure 4. A line on a PO