A desktop procedure manual describes in detail each basic task and procedure needed to accomplish a specific job effectively and accurately. It assures consistency of task performance and allows you to make employees accountable for reliable results.
Many people confuse procedures and work instructions. I can help you develop a reliable desktop work instructions when starting your business, so that you can develop a reliable foundation for standard operating procedures as your business grows.
Most people write work instructions and call them procedures. Knowing the difference between procedures and work instructions can help you understand the documentation process much better and, therefore, develop great procedure documentation.
Establishing and maintaining good accounting policies and procedures for your organization is an investment of time and attention. There is no “one size fits all” and creating an accounting policies and procedures manual should be tailored depending on the size of the organization, complexity, staffing and business model.
Sound and practical policies and procedures are the foundation of accurate accounting and reporting of financial information. Creating policies and procedures may require working with several departments such as accounting, development, human resources, compliance, legal, and management, among others. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that organizations must have the ability to implement a policy that they decide to document. The organization needs to assess the resources available to them (time, systems, personnel, etc.) when determining what policies and procedures are practical for their organization.
The following basic elements should be addressed in any organization’s policies and procedures manual, although the order and details will vary.
- Overview of the organization
- Objective of the manual
- Organizational chart
- General policies
- Internal controls
- Accounting procedures for all components of the financial statements
- Financial statement close process-monthly and annual
- Accounting policies embedded within each section such as
- Signatories for bank accounts
- Investment restrictions
- Allowance and write off of accounts receivable
- Depreciation years and methodology for fixed assets
- Record retention of documents
- Tax filings
- Budget process
- Job descriptions
- Exhibits of key forms