Accounting and finance manual
Standardization, guidance, control systems for accounting staff.
An accounting & finance manual supports the accounting & finance staff in carrying out their day-to-day work systematically and consistently. Such a manual may contain pertinent rules, guidelines or policies as well as organisational standards for corporate accounts. An accounting & finance manual should provide detailed information on various tasks and procedures, such as budgeting, bookkeeping, or preparing financial statements and reports.1
PURPOSE & LINK TO INTEGRITY
The overall purpose of an accounting & finance manual is to set out an organisation’s principles, policies and practices on all finance and accounting matters. An accounting & finance manual serves as an umbrella for more detailed tools relating to accounting & finance (such as External auditing and Reconciliation of accounting records, Computerised accounting, Accountability for expenditures.). Clear, transparent and understandable policies as well as defined responsibilities are essential to prevent fraud and misconduct in finance and accounting departments, but also to prevent misunderstandings and lack of consistency.
Specifically, an accounting & finance manual should:2
- Standardise the way finance and accounts activities are carried out, in order to ensure consistency
- Provide overall guidance to all staff of accounts and finance for smooth execution of their duties
- Have in place an adequate system of internal controls that promotes a high level of compliance with a company’s / utility’s policies and procedures
- Continuously review the internal control system to be able to meet the challenges of growth and globalisation
Implement and maintain this system of control to assist the organisation to carry out its activities in an efficient and orderly manner, ensure adherence to management policies, safeguard the organisation´s assets, and secure the accuracy and reliability of its records.
- Does your organisation already have accounting policies and procedures in place that can be included in an accounting & finance manual?
- Does your organisation already have a clear organisational structure with designed roles and responsibilities in place?
An accounting & finance manual should include:3
- Organisation’s values, mission and strategy
- Key responsibilities and organizational structure
- Detailed explanation of specific finance policies and corresponding procedures (i.e. budget planning, budget expenditure, financial statement, payroll, etc.)
- Specific finance procedures (i.e. banking, accounting routines)
- Chart of accounts
- Additional information, i.e. examples, resources materials, checklists.
KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS
UN HABITAT, 2008, Finance and accounts policies and procedures manual, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN HABITAT), Uganda
MANGO, 2012, Financial Management Essentials – A Handbook for NGOs, Management Accounting for Non-governmental Organisations (MANGO), UK
MAF Europe, 2006, Finance and Related Matters Reference Book, MAF Europe, UK
Mosin, 2009, Sample accounting manual, Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank und ATC Consultants, Austria
- Investopedia, no year, Accounting manual, Investopedia (web), http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/accounting-manual.asp; accessed 02.12.2015
- UN HABITAT, 2008, Finance and accounts policies and procedures manual, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN HABITAT), Uganda
- MANGO, 2012, Financial Management Essentials – A Handbook for NGOs, Management Accounting for Non-governmental Organisations (MANGO), UK