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not for profit

Accounting handover checklist for not for profit CEOs

Hand of a woman holding a pen and writing

Every individual within an organisation has their set of responsibilities. But what happens when a key staff member leaves and no one else in the company has access to the information that person managed?

Being left without access to supplier contacts, software logins or worse still… bank accounts, can be disastrous.

Kirsten Forrester, Accounting For Good’s CEO, discusses what should be included in an accounting handover checklist.

Multiple bank teller booths

Banks and other financial institutions

An incredibly important transfer that must occur sooner rather than later is updating your bank signatories. If you don’t proactively manage the authorisations against your bank account, you could end up in a very difficult situation. Kirsten recommends that you always have multiple signatories against your account to make sure you can transact as required.

“Bank accounts have the potential to be extremely stressful, especially if there is a full board turnover… imagine if you have only one signatory left but two are needed to sign off your transactions.

Of course, if you want to maintain probity… the individual who has left shouldn’t be able to transact on the account… and you need to make sure you hand over quickly. You should always assign authorisation to someone else and remove the other person at the same time.

When someone is exiting the business it’s important that you still have plenty of signatories signed up. You definitely don’t want to have just one left… this can lead to some tense situations with CEOs standing in a queue at the bank with their 100 points of identification and a letter from the board.”

Note that some banks will want to see a board minute ratifying the change of signatories, so that’s another item to factor into your planning.

Woman working on her laptop

Software subscriptions

There are many different types of software that organisations use on a regular basis. From online ordering systems to cloud accounting, they all have their own login processes. Kirsten highlights this as one of the most important pieces of information that should be handed over, with special focus given to accounting platforms.

“Software subscriptions are where we often find a problem… especially if the software has a two step or two factor authentication process. Once the authenticator person has left the organisation, it’s really hard to be able to access the system.

Xero is a prime example of this… it requires you to authenticate at least every 30 days – which is definitely a good thing. But if you don’t set up another team member it can leave you unable to log in and this creates a big hassle. It’s critical that you get the subscription transferred to somebody new before the outgoing subscriber exits. Even if you only have short notice, you need to be proactive.

Unfortunately, if you are on the back foot asking Xero for access to your account, they will make you jump through hoops because it’s highly confidential data… they can’t just give it to anybody.”

Image of number of online mails

In addition to Xero, you should review all types of subscriptions. You don’t want renewals for website domains or digital security going to a deactivated email account. Kirsten continues,

“This includes your fundraising platforms, too. You need access to your login so you can download your reports. You need to make sure you have access to your finances.”

To support login management, you could consider a password manager or keeper system. Utilising a company administered corporate account can minimise the possibility of losing important access. Administrators have the ability to manage everything… if someone leaves you can still securely access the information and transfer password ownership. These systems don’t bypass a two step process but can reduce the risk of losing passwords or important login information.

Image of a telephone

Supplier and service provider contacts

The next important contacts to update are your service providers. In our experience, telecommunication companies can be notoriously difficult to deal with if you’re not the registered person on the account. Kirsten explains,

“We know that telecoms can be really picky about who they talk to… your stationery supplier might not be so fussy, but with Optus or Telstra… if you aren’t authorised on the account you can just about forget it!

This is where an enduring administration manual would be a good thing. It’s worth having someone create a complete manual with information about your company’s contact or account manager, the authorised person on the account, which email it is linked to… the stuff you don’t need to know every day. For example, your insurance renewal is only once a year – of course you aren’t going to retain that knowledge… but when it comes around it will be challenging and potentially time-consuming if you can’t action it.”

Man signin a paper in front of his colleague

ATO authorised person

Another critical organisation that will not discuss financial matters with you unless you are the authorised person is the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It is imperative that you update these details… both by removing the person who is leaving and adding a new contact. Kirsten says,

“Your authorised person might not necessarily be your financial administrator or bookkeeper… they could be the treasurer or board chair, so you need to keep this in mind. When they are leaving, it’s important that you arrange a new authorised contact before you lose the old one.

You can, of course, engage a registered BAS agent like Accounting For Good, and they are able to act on your behalf. We can certainly facilitate some ATO related processes for you but you will still need to have an authorised person within the organisation and you will need to action that in-house.”

woman using a key in a locked door

Building security

Who has access to your building? Who is the main contact for the security company? If it is an exiting team member, then you need to update this before they depart. Kirsten continues,

“Alarm companies are strict on security… and some accounts will have a password… if you don’t know that password they can be challenging to get through, so this is information you need to know.

Plus, if you have a restricted key that can only be ordered by an authorised person at an assigned locksmith… make sure your outgoing staff member isn’t the only authorised person.”

ATO handover checklist

Our list here is certainly not exhaustive… we have simply highlighted the most common situations we come across when supporting our clients. The ATO has a detailed list with many more recommendations for a handover checklist and you can review this on their website.

Here at Accounting For Good, our team of not for profit accounting specialists can help you navigate some of the challenges you face as your internal personnel change. If you’d like to find out more about our outsourced finance department services, please contact us today.

Download your copy of the Accounting For Good’s Handover Checklist or find out more about not for profit accounting.

Read more not for profit accounting articles.

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