Saturday, 27 February 2010

Record Keeping for Smaller Not-For-Profits

No matter how small your organisation is you need to have an efficient record-keeping system in place.  Keeping the paperwork straight can sometimes be the messiest part of the job but it is your responsibility to do so.  It is this information which the committee will use as a basis for its financial decisions. 

The Australian Taxation Office says that  the basic records you may need to maintain are:

*cash book records of daily receipts and payments
*GST tax invoices and income tax records, such as debtors and creditors lists, stocktake records and motor vehicle expenses
*records of payments relating to employees, such as PAYG withholding, superannuation and fringe benefits payments
*records of payments withheld from suppliers who do not quote an ABN, and
*bank reconciliation statements.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants recommends that you also keep these records:

Asset Register – recording any office equipment
Insurance File – containing details of any insurances
Statutory File – containing Constitution, Minutes, etc.

Next time you are sighing over your record-keeping responsibilities remember that they also form part of your protection should something go wrong.  Decisions can be questioned months after they were made especially if they weren't minuted properly.  These records are the paper part of an audit trail that investigators will be searching through looking for their answers.   Keep them well and keep them carefully.