FINANCIAL CONTROLS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR THE FRIENDS OF THE HISTORIC UNION COMMUNITY HALL
Purpose. The Friends of The Historic Union Community Hall are a nonprofit organization committed to protecting and using our assets for our nonprofit mission. Proper financial practices are very important in doing this, since proper practices help to prevent and detect errors and fraud. Good financial practices also assure our donors that we use their gifts for the purposes for which they were intended.
I. GENERAL PRACTICES
Review of Risks. The Board will review these policies each year to consider whether the risks have changed.
Executive Board. The Friends of The Historic Union Community Hall Executive Board is made of The President, The Secretary and The Treasurer.
Segregation of Roles. There are several fiscal “roles” in our organization—custody, authorization, execution, and monitoring. For example, the person who has authority to sign checks is acting in the custodial role. The person who approves payment of a bill is authorizing. The Board as a whole acts in an authorizing role when it approves the annual budget or makes a decision to purchase a major item like a copier. The person who prepares the checks for signature by an authorized check signer is acting in the execution role, executing an action that has been authorized by the Board through the annual budget or by the individual responsible for approving payment of the bill. The person who reconciles the bank statement acts in the monitoring role. The Board also acts in a monitoring role when it reviews the monthly financial reports to be sure that its plan—the budget—is being executed properly.
When possible, the Board seeks to separate the responsibilities for fiscal roles so that at least two and preferably more individuals fulfill these roles. It is particularly important that the same person does not authorize, execute and monitor any transaction. At each step of handling funds, the organization shall ensure that more than one person verifies that the step is done correctly.
II. RECEIPT OF FUNDS
Our organization faces the risk that funds that we receive may be stolen or lost or that someone may be falsely accused of stealing funds. We also face the risk that we may fail to record a restriction that a donor has placed on our use of funds.
All funds, whether cash or check, which the organization receives will be deposited intact into the bank account, with no monies removed to make payments or for other purposes. All cash receipts should be deposited into the bank as soon as possible. This allows for a complete accounting and
independent verification of what happens to our funds.
Communications from donors that establish restrictions on the use of their contributions will be saved.
1. Receipt of Checks in the Office. The President opens all mail addressed to the organization.
The President will endorse all checks by an endorsement stamp or written statement that provides that the check is “For Deposit Only” and will be paid to the order of the corporate bank and lists the organization’s name and account number. This lessens the risk that a check may be stolen and cashed.
The President then logs to checks to show that the checks have been received.
The Treasurer logs and makes a photocopy of all checks received. The Treasurer then deposits checks.
A copy of the checks are supplied to the Secretary for tracking, receipts and “Thank you”
2. Receipt of Cash in the office. Cash is easily stolen and must be handled carefully. If cash comes into the office, the person accepting the cash must provide a written signed receipt when taking the cash:
• The receipt should state the person’s name, the date, the amount of the cash and the purpose of the payment.
• No pages may be removed from the receipt book.
• Cash donations are logged and provided to the Treasurer
The Treasurer will compare the receipt book and the bank’s list of cash deposits when making the Bank Reconciliation described below.
3. Bank Deposit. If no cash is present, the deposit may be mailed to the bank. If cash is present, a second person (if available) shall verify deposited funds prior to the Treasurer sealing the envelope and making the deposit in person. The person verifying the cash shall initial the cash on the copy of the deposit slip retained by the organization.
4. Receipt of Checks and Cash Outside the Office. If checks and/or cash come in outside the office (such as at a fundraising event), we need to take special precautions to protect these receipts from theft and to ensure that no one is falsely accused of stealing funds.
• Two people must count the cash and initial the cash count on the copy of the duplicate deposit slip kept by the organization.
• If the individuals accepting the contributions at the event know the names of the individuals making gifts in cash, they will provide a receipt using the pre-numbered receipt book. If the funds are received through a “pass the hat” style collection in which it is not possible to know who gave what amount, the individuals accepting the contributions will note that no receipts were provided to donors on the duplicate deposit slip.
• It is not necessary to write out a receipt for contributions made by check unless the donor requests a receipt. However, the individuals accepting the contributions should make a list of all checks received at the event, including the name of the donor and the amount of the contribution. They will compare this list to the deposit to be sure all checks have been included in the deposit.
• If no cash is received at the event, the individuals accepting the contributions by check will give the Secretary the list and the checks within 24 hours of the event.
• If there is cash in the deposit, one of the two individuals accepting contributions must deposit the funds immediately. If checks will be deposited with the cash, the individuals accepting the checks should be sure that the list of checks they prepare includes the donor’s address as well as name.
• The duplicate receipt book and the list of checks received shall be given to the Secretary who will send acknowledgement letters.
5. Credit Card Contributions. We accept contributions by credit card via paypal online. This account is linked directly to a saving account separate from the checking account to negate issues with Paypal
6. Acknowledging Donations. While IRS rules require that we acknowledge all donations that are more than $75, our policy is to provide written acknowledgement for every gift we receive( if requested). The Secretary shall respond to each donation with a letter thanking the donor for their generosity:
• If the gift was cash (which includes a check), the letter should include the amount of the gift and state that the gift was cash.
• If the gift was donated property of some kind, the Secretary’s letter does not need to and should not value the property. If the donor did receive something of value in return, the Secretary’s letter must contain a description of the donation and a good faith estimate of the value of what we gave back to the donor.
• The letter should include the statement: “Thank you for your contribution of $______, received on ________, 20__. [PICK ONE: “No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contribution” or “In exchange for your contribution, we gave you ___________ whose fair market value was $__.”)
In addition to thanking our donors and providing documentation the donor needs to deduct the contribution, the acknowledgment letter may alert donors whose amount is misstated to contact us to correct the error. Additionally, our records of the letters we send will help us keep an up-to-date record of how to contact all our donors.
III. DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS/USE OF CORPORATE PROPERTY A. PAYMENTS BY CHECK
We face the risks that that our funds will be spent on unauthorized items, that someone will steal our funds by taking blank checks or by writing checks to payees who are not our vendors, that someone will use corporate property for personal purposes or that payments we make will be improperly recorded.
Make all disbursements from the organization’s funds by check, with the exception of petty cash. This allows us to track how our funds are spent, who is spending them and who is authorizing expenditures.
1. Opening Bank Accounts. Bank accounts may be opened only upon authorization by the Board of Directors.
• All bank accounts must be opened with the organization’s employer identification number (EIN).
• The Board shall approve the authorized signers on the organization’s bank accounts.
2. Custody of Checks. The Treasurer is the only person authorized to have access to unused check stock. The checks should be stored in a locked location and information about how to access them should be kept confidential from everyone but the President.
3. Check Authorization. All invoices will be forwarded immediately to the President for review and authorization to pay.
• The President will review all invoices for mathematical accuracy, agreement with a written invoice, conformity to budget or Board authorization and compliance with grant fund requirements.
• The Treasurer will code the invoice with the appropriate expense or chart of accounts line time number and other information as needed for accounting purposes.
• By approving an invoice, the President indicates that he/she has reviewed the invoice and authorizes a check.
• The Treasurer is responsible for timely follow-up on discrepancy and payment. The President will send approved invoices to the Treasurer for payment.
4. Expenses Not Invoiced. In some cases, expenses may not be invoiced, such as rent. When such expenses are due, the President needs to ensure that the expense is in the budget and write a note authorizing payment of the expense and the amount of the expense and supply it to the Treasurer.
4. Payment by Checks. Upon approval of the invoice and note by the President, the Treasurer is authorized to prepare all checks and should do so.
• If a check is voided, the check will have “VOID” written in large letters in ink on the face and have the signature portion of the check torn out. Voided checks will be kept on file. • In the event that it is necessary to issue a duplicate check for checks in an amount over $50, the Treasurer will order a stop payment at the bank on the original check.
5. Duties of Check Signers. All checks will be signed by the signers designated by the Board of Directors. Prior to signing a check, a check signer will do the following:
• Compare the check to the original invoice or the Treasurer’s note to pay the expense. o Compare the amount on the check to the amount on the invoice or note. o Be sure that the Treasurer has initialed the invoice. This is to protect against the risk that you are paying based on a copy of the bill that has already been paid.
o Check the date on the invoice or the Treasurer’s note against the date of signing the check. If the difference is more than 60 days, get written approval from the Treasurer before signing the check. This is to mitigate the risk that the organization is paying the same expense twice.
• Check to be sure that the amount of the check is not clearly unreasonable. For example, a $30,000 monthly payment for bookkeeping services would be unreasonable for most small nonprofits.
6. Prohibited Practices. In no event will:
• invoices be paid unless approved by the Board;
• blank checks be signed in advance;
• checks be made out to “cash,” “bearer,” etc.
Each check signer will be made aware that signing blank checks exposes our organization to theft since the bank is entitled to charge our account for any check that has a valid signature. A signed blank check is an invitation to theft.
7. On-line Payments. If we make online payments, we will make arrangements with the bank that allow the Treasurer to have online, read-only access to the account. We will also arrange with the bank to be sure that only the individuals the board has authorized as check signers will be permitted to authorize the payment of bills electronically. In addition to the monthly reconciliation, the Treasurer will periodically spot-check the account to compare the bank automatic payments with the vendor statements.
B. PETTY CASH FUNDS
Payments by cash are not as completely documented and are not as easily monitored as payments by check and thus subject the organization to greater likelihood of errors and fraud.
The Petty Cash Fund should only be used when payment by check is impracticable.
Administration of Petty Cash Fund. The Secretary is responsible for the administration of the Petty Cash Fund. The Fund shall be funded with checks made out to “Petty Cash—name of Secretary” and initially recorded in the Petty Cash Fund account. The Secretary will require receipts for all purchases and may ask those reimbursed to sign for money the Secretary provides as reimbursement.
The Secretary will record all cash purchases in a journal and save the receipts. When the fund gets low, the Secretary will apply to the Treasurer for authorization to reimburse the fund for the total amount expended. The check written to reimburse the Petty Cash Fund will be recorded in the appropriate expense accounts for the items that were purchased with Petty Cash, so that these expenditures made through the Petty Cash fund are properly classified by type – for example, postage, parking fees, etc.
C. EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT
The organization does not have the same level of control over expenses incurred on behalf of the organization by those who pay with personal funds and seek reimbursement as it does for expenses paid directly by the corporation. The corporation is not in as good a position to determine whether the goods purchased might have been obtained at a lower price elsewhere, whether there is a personal benefit to the person seeking reimbursement and how the expenditure fits in with the rest of the organization’s budget.
In proper circumstances, Board members, employees and volunteers are entitled to be reimbursed for expenses related to the organization that they incurred on behalf of the organization. To receive reimbursement, you must meet the following requirements:
• Your expense must have been authorized in advance by the Board or by the Secretary or later approved by the Board or the Secretary.
• Your expense must have been incurred for goods or services purchased for the organization.
• If your expense is for travel, the travel must be for work related to the organization. We will reimburse no more than the standard mileage rate for business use of a car as established by the IRS. The organization will reimburse meal expenses incurred in direct connection with the organization’s business, or at the per diem rate established by the IRS.
To be reimbursed for expenses:
1. Documentation. You must provide reasonable documentation showing the date, amount and what the expense was for. Credit card receipts and store receipts that do not describe the purchase are not reasonable documentation. Your receipt must describe the purchase.
2. Other Reimbursement. Your voucher must reflect reimbursement from sources other than ours.
3. Timely Submission. You must submit your documentation with a request for payment within 60 days from the date the expense was incurred.
4. Overpayment. If we overpay you, you must return any excess reimbursement within a reasonable period of time.
The corporation wants to ensure that all purchases on behalf of the corporation are authorized by the Board or by Board policies. Unauthorized purchases deplete the organization’s resources and interfere with the Board’s ability to govern properly.
All purchases made on behalf of the organization must be made pursuant to the Board-approved budget or Board rules.
The Board must approve purchases over $50.00.
E. USE OF CORPORATE PROPERTY
The corporation faces a risk that individuals will use corporate property without authorization for personal purposes. Usage reduces the life of property and eventually is an expense that the corporation assumes. It also betrays the trust of our donors who expect that the corporation will use its resources only for purposes that help us achieve our mission.
Property and equipment owned by the corporation may only be used for corporate activities or activities approved by the corporation. They may not be used for personal purposes.
If a Board member, officer, employee or volunteer wants to use corporate property or equipment for any purpose other than a corporate purpose, that individual must obtain permission from the Board of Directors.
IV. CREATION OF CORPORATE OBLIGATIONS
The corporation needs to ensure that any obligation undertaken in the corporate name is authorized by the corporation and is for a corporate and not a personal purpose.
A. CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS
The Friends of the Historic Union Community Hall is not providing credit cards at this time. One debit card does exist and is in the possession of the Treasurer.
B. BORROWING AND LINES OF CREDIT
The organization needs to ensure that borrowing in the corporate name is authorized.
The Board must approve application for and acceptance of any Lines of Credit. Once the Line of Credit is authorized by the Board, the Treasurer can authorize borrowing within the limit of the line of credit up to $300.00. The Board must approve all borrowing against the line of credit greater than that amount.
The full Board must approve any other borrowing of funds in the name of the corporation, including the use of any promissory notes. The Board must give very serious attention to be sure that the corporation will have sufficient funds available to repay any loans or lines of credit on time.
The full Board approval will be documented in the meeting minutes. Any two members of the executive board ( President, Treasurer or Secretary) can sign promissory notes on behalf of the Board.
V. BANK RECONCILIATION AND ON-LINE MONITORING
Even the most honest and attentive individual makes mistakes. Monitoring allows us to uncover errors. If our records and the bank records do not agree, it is likely that our records are wrong. Monitoring also assists us in identifying discrepancies between our accounting records and our banking records that suggest theft or fraud, checks signed by unauthorized signers, and identity theft.
The Treasurer will monitor the corporation’s accounts regularly and will prepare a written reconciliation of all bank or investment accounts which proves that the balances presented on our financial reports agree with the records of the financial institution.
1. Records. The Treasurer shall provide the Boardwith a copy of all records of deposits, disbursements (checks written), and other bank transactions and of our accounting records for review.
2. Bank Statement. The corporation will direct the bank to send the bank statements to the Treasurer.
3. Reconciliation. The Treasurer will reconcile the bank statement monthly. The reconciliation should be done within 7 days of receiving the statement, as follows:
• Check all checks for correct signatures and number of signatures and protest to the bank any incorrect signatures.
• Review the checks in the bank records to ensure that:
o the name of the payee, the amount of the check and the date of the check agree with the corporation’s accounting records;
o whoever the check was made out to was the depositor of the check; and
o each check has a valid signature.
• Compare the bank deposit records with our accounting records to determine whether each deposit recorded in the accounting records agrees with the bank record.
• Check the cash entries in the receipt book against the bank record of deposits to ensure that all cash was deposited.
• Check whether the ending balance in the general ledger cash account agrees with the bank statement, after making the adjustments on the bank reconciliation form.
• List all outstanding checks. On all checks outstanding over 90 days, take appropriate action. • List all deposits in accounting records not yet recorded by the bank.
4. On-Line Banking. The Secretary, President and Treasurer should have on-line, read-only access to the bank account. The Secretary should use the on-line access to check his/her work. The Secretary should review the account on-line on a weekly basis to check for identity theft that is diverting corporate funds. The Treasurer can reconcile the bank statements and spot-check the on-line payments as described above.
5. Return of Cancelled Checks by the Bank. The Board will determine whether it is necessary to direct the bank to return the cancelled checks with the bank statement. If the Board determines that it will not require return of the cancelled checks, it will establish procedures to ensure retention of the electronic images of the checks for at least 3 years.