One saying that’s been used in our organization for years is “If it’s not documented, it’s not done.”
Documenting your processes and procedures is important for efficiency and effectiveness. From a risk-management standpoint, it is also imperative. Consider what would happen if your key financial person was suddenly out for three months—a realistic possibility that has affected many ministries in the past. Would your ministry be prepared to have someone step in and continue providing the same level of financial service without significant difficulty?
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is commonly thought to only impact for-profit companies. However, it contains two provisions that apply to all corporations, including nonprofits: (1) whistleblower policies and (2) document retention and destruction policies. This reflects the importance that should be placed on documentation—not only what you document, but how long you keep documentation and how you dispose of it when an appropriate amount of time has passed.
If you don’t have effective written documentation in place, start by considering the following:
Corporate and Administrative Matters
- Are you in compliance with your governing documents, such as the bylaws or constitution?
- Do you have a conflict of interest policy, and are questionnaires completed annually by board members as well as individuals in leadership?
- Have you adopted an accountable reimbursement plan to allow for non-taxable reimbursement of expenses?