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Guide to the Fiscal Policies & Procedures Template
© 2012 CompassPoint Nonprofit Services Fiscal Policies & Procedures
How should we use this document
Do not feel that you must write a policy in each area. This is a framework to guide your thinking
and discussion process. You only need to implement policies that make sense for your nonprofit,
given the nature of your operations and extent of your resources available for financial systems.
Start with the areas that present the most potential risk or confusion to the organization.
Some things to keep in mind throughout the process of discussion and documentation:
Policies should be clearly documented and easily understood by individuals outside
of the particular department or the organization;
Write policies that you can realistically maintain given the organization’s resources;
Staff members involved in processes should be listed by job title;
Agency forms relevant to the policy should be cited; and
Relevant time frames should be indicated.
Who should be involved
The most important part of developing policies and procedures is that they are discussed,
agreed upon, and regularly reviewed by both the decision makers in an organization and by
those who will be implementing them on a day-to-day basis. In most organizations this will be a
combination of Board members (often delegated to a Finance Committee), management staff,
and front line financial staff. How this process occurs can vary significantly depending on the
size, structure, and culture of the organization.
In most cases, the high-level policy questions should be discussed between Board members
and management staff. The full Board of Directors has ultimate approval of the broad policy
decisions as recommended by this informed work group.
The day-to-day procedural steps are often best determined between management staff and
front line financial staff. Together they are in the best position to determine the most efficient
and effective ways to implement a given policy direction. The Board Finance Committee may
serve as another set of eyes on the procedures to ensure that they adequately address the
broad policy goal, but they often do not have the operational perspective needed to write them.
Ultimately the Executive Director has responsibility for administering the policies and ensuring
compliance with the procedures once they have been approved by the Board of Directors. It is
good practice to train staff regularly on the policies and procedures. This can often be done in
conjunction with a review process, which should occur every two years at a minimum.
Resources for more information
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