Bank and Cash Management and General Accounting of
Save the Children International
Save the Children is one of the best welfare organizations for children around the world. It was founded by Eglantyne Jebb on 1919 in England. At present it operates its activities in 120 countries around the world. In Bangladesh it has started its activities since 1972. The mission of this organization is to provide maximum benefits to the underprivileged children of the world. In order to do so they operate different programs around the world, most of these programs are based in the world’s poorest countries, where millions of children struggle to survive and thrive.
Health, Population and Nutrition (HPN), Education, Field Operations and Disaster Management are their program focus point. Save the Children has worked through direct implementation and partnerships in many parts of the country, including Dhaka, Chittagong, Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet divisions. Save the children mainly collect its fund from the individual foundations, government and different corporations, and spends as much money as possible on programs which benefit children directly. To achieve the aim of Save the Children is the mission of finance department of the organization. They are committed to managing the funds in a fully accountable way. Effective administration does cost money, but they try to keep this cost as low as possible. Save the Children is working to align their financial processes, planning and reporting through the transition to one Save the Children where, instead of many member organizations delivering programs in a particular country, there is only one Save the Children organization – bringing significant cost efficiencies in-country as well as across the rest of the organization. This allows them to focus more on working for children.
SCI (Save the Children International) does all its financial activities through bank and cash management. So bank and cash management process is very important for running the financial activities efficiently as well as to achieve the goal of the organization. In SCI all bank & cash related activities are accomplished by the accounts & treasury section. SCI has its country office in Bangladesh to operate the regional activities, so after a certain period of time it has to top up its bank and cash balance according to the need determined by the budget & analysis department and operates its all necessary activities through bank and cash management by obliging the SCI fiance policy.
Besides as SCI is funded by different government, individual foundations and corporate organizations so to maintain the transparency of their expenditure on different program and activities is another important aspect of finance department. To maintain transparency in the financial activities financial management system (FMS) section records the transactions by using coding attribute in an online spreadsheet (Agresso) for keeping record and generating report for various users. This section also reconciles the bank account and the SCI account on order to ensure the accuracy of the financial activities of the organization.
Mission and Vision for the Future
Ninety years ago Eglantyne Jebb, started a worldwide movement. She was driven by the belief that all children – whoever they are, wherever they are – have the right to a healthy, happy & fulfilling life. And the belief that changes is within reach, if courage, determination, imagination and good organization are there. Save the Children’s experience in changing children’s lives for the better in the past decades is the foundation for what they do today and tomorrow to build a better future for children.
Mission of Save the Children
The mission statement of Save the Children is “To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.”
Vision of Save the Children
The vision statement of Save the Children is “A world in which every child attains the right of survival, protection, development and participation.”
Description of the Job
Reviewing and checking the financial data in FMS: Reviewing and checking the financial data of transaction of different sub office as well as the main office and entry them in the offline spread sheet or online spread sheet (Agrosso) is one of the important responsibly of FMS department. In order to maintain a sound recording of data it is very important to recheck the entries before upload them in the Agrosso (Accounting software used in SCI).
Generating reports for various users: SCI is a donor based organization so it has to prepare report to show the financial updates. FMS generate report for various users for example Grants, Sub-grants, Budgeting, different donor etc. They also support the report preparation for monthly finance meetings and Preparing management reports as per the schedule
Support the month end process: By entry transaction in the online software and reconcile the bank account & SCI account support the month end process of Finance Management.
Receiving bill: Receiving bill and fund request from the vendors and staffs.
Preparation of voucher: For every bill payment preparation of voucher is must. Have to prepare voucher with proper coding.
Bill Voucher Checking: After receiving the bill it have to be checked, because without proper checking of bill voucher can cause overpayment or under payment to the payees.
Vat & Tax calculation and deduction: For every bill vat & tax should be calculate according to the vat tax policy and government. Vat & tax should be calculated properly and deducted from the bill payment.
Specific Responsibilities of the Job
As per the academic rule I must have to do three months internship. I did my internship in Save the Children International. It is situated in the House No.CWN (A) 35, Road No. 43, Gulshan-2 Dhaka. The internship period started on 1st of February, 2012 and ended on 30th April, 2012. During this internship period I used to work in the Finance Department of Save the Children International. I had some responsibilities related to Financial Management. Though I was assigned for FMS department I have worked in the accounts & treasury and budgeting department also. The specific responsibilities of mine during this internship period are given below:
Reviewing and checking the vouchers:
Reviewing and checking of bill voucher according to the requirement of money is very important. Checking the vat/tax deduction in the voucher is also necessary to ensure the proper transaction. As an intern I checked bill vouchers to ensure proper transaction.
Entry transactions in the template:
To keep the proper record every month transactions are entered into the offline spread sheet than after checking, it has to upload in to the online spread sheet or Agresso. I have entered the transactions into the offline spread sheet. Every transaction has got specific voucher number, account code, project number, cost centre, analysis number and DEA code. So in order record the transaction every transaction has to entry twice in the template as debit and credit.
Prepare journal voucher and entry journal voucher:
In order to reconcile the Bank and SCI’s account balance reconcilation journal vouchers and journal entries against the transaction which are creating difference between the bank and accounts balance is necessary. In the month closing process I have made journal vouchers and entry reconciliation journal.
Assisted to prepare the monthly report:
Financial Management System is responsible for preparing a report on the monthly expenditure of SCI. They have to record all the data, reconcile the record of bank account and SCI’s account balance. I have assisted the FMS to prepare report by posting transaction as well as preparing journal for reconcileting the bank and cash balance.
Budget VS Actual Expense Analysis:
Budget and Analysis department has to make a yearly “Budget vs. Actual Analysis” report for different users. As an intern I have worked in that department and help to make the report. In this report according to the source of fund (SOF) every project/program budget and actual expenditure is compared. It is very important to maintain the donor transparency and control over the expenditure.
SCI has a policy of keeping the record of transaction up to 5 years after transaction. It is also very important for future audit purpose. In order to do that vouchers has to file according to their serial numbers. Last three months I had to file all the vouchers.
After completing the internship at Save the Children International and observing all the core activities of FMS (Financial Management System) of Finance department of SCI, it is a wonderful opportunity for the fresh graduate to have a practical experience. The work environment was very friendly. All the employees and colleges were very helpful. It was really a pleasure for me to work with them. But as an employee of SCI I have observed certain facts which can be considered as problems or criticisms. The issues where SCI faces problem are as follows:
Lack of Human Resource: In the whole Finance Management team there are only 12 employees including the finance management director and managers of FMS, Accounts & Treasury and Analysis & Budgeting sections. According to my observation the human resource available is fewer in the proportion of work volume.
Work pressure: As the work force is not enough so there is more work pressure on the individual employee of the sections which increases the possibility of mistakes. Though working in the finance department required more attention if there is more work pressure than the man power it increases the possibility of mistakes.
Lack of Training Program: In order to render a quality service to the organization every employee needs to be up to date about the policy and other changes of the organization. World is changing and to keep pace with the world the policy and different activities of the organization is also changing. To increase the employee’s knowledge and capability training program is very important, but SCI are not organizing as much training as the employees required.
Job Security: SCI has a policy that they can change their organ gram anytime if the management thinks that will increase the productivity. So it is seen that there is always an anxiety exist among the employees about their job which can affect their productivity.
Objective of this report includes two types of objectives. They are broad objective and specific objectives. A broad objective and some specific objectives are included in this report. They are:
To describe the information gathered from practical experience of working in an international NGO’s Finance Department.
The specific objectives of this report are given below:
- To have a practical idea about financial activities and management of an international NGO.
- To relate the practical knowledge with theoretical knowledge.
- To work in an accounting software “Agresso”.
- To discuss about the Bank & Cash management procedure.
- To discuss about the General accounting and record keeping process of financial transaction of SCI.
- To find out problems faced for conducting the procedure.
Methodology describes the manner in which data is collected, analyzed and interpreted. The data that will present in this research paper would collect from primary and secondary data source. The sources are mentioned below:
Primary Data Source
Primary data are those data which is originated by the author for the specific purpose of describing or analyzing something. In this report the primary data source would be raw data gathering from own observation. The primary data source that will be used in this report is data obtained through practical involvement with job responsibilities.
Secondary Data Source
Secondary data are data collected for some purpose other than the main facts. Secondary data are quick source of background information. In this report the information collected from indirect source will be considered as secondary data sources. The secondary data source that will be used in here would be:
- Interview with the Manager of FMS.
- Interview with the Payables Officer.
Save the Children receives income from a wide variety of sources including individuals, foundations, governments and companies. These valuable contributions make it possible for them to secure improvements for children all over the world. They have a clear responsibility to the world’s children, and to all of their supporters, to make the best possible use of these resources.
To improve their cost-effectiveness, Save the Children International works together with partner organizations where feasible. SCI spend as much money as possible on programs which benefit children directly. Most of these programs are based in the world’s poorest countries, where millions of children struggle to survive and thrive.
Save the Children national organizations also operate domestic programs to meet the particular needs of children in their own country.
They are committed to managing the funds in a fully accountable way. Effective administration does cost money, but they try to keep this cost as low as possible. Save the Children is working to align their financial processes, planning and reporting through the transition to one Save the Children where, instead of many member organizations delivering programs in a particular country, there is only one Save the Children organization – bringing significant cost efficiencies in-country as well as across the rest of the organization. This allows them to focus more on working for children.
These are the recent picture of SCI, which are showing the income sources, expenditure by sector, expenditure by region and expenditure by program area.
Structure of Regional and Central Finance Departments
The Save the Children International finance function is headed by the Chief Financial Officer who has overall responsibility for the organization’s financial activities. Based in London, the CFO is supported by the Finance Director International Programming, the Chief Accountant, the Director of Financial Strategy, Planning and Reporting, and the Head of Global Assurance. The Finance Director International Programming works through the regional finance directors who are responsible for the support and oversight of the country office financial activities.
Based on the nature of responsibility and work Country office finance department can divide into four parts. A short description of those is given bellow:
Grants & Awards: Save the Children International (SCI) is a donor based welfare organization. So maintain a good relation with donor by providing necessary and clear financial information of expenditure and report is very important. On the other hand SCI works with different national and international organizations to accomplish its activities properly. The partner organizations with which they achieve their activities are called Sub-grants. Grants are those projects in which donor are donate directly. Grants & Awards division has these two part Grants & Sub-grants.
Grants division is responsible for grants management, grants development and donor compliance of the Global funded HIV/AIDS project including ensuring grant is developed and managed in line with SCI and donor Grants policies, support in preparing/overseeing cost proposals, overseeing amendments or modification to donor contract or budget, supervising tracking of all communication with donors, monitoring grant budget, record keeping and updating all grant related documentation, and preparing reports as per Global Fund requirements.
Sub Grants is mainly responsible for partners’ contracting and partners’ financial monitoring of Bangladesh Country office program Partners including formulation of procedures in line with global policy, ensuring preparation of partner contracts and amendments, preparation of partners budgets and phasing of budgets, accounting and tracking of partner payments, preparation of partner disbursements and supporting payables unit in estimating the fund requirement for partners. This will ensure financial monitoring of partners at field level, desk review of Partners financial reports, coordination with other finance units and budget holders on partner related issues, preparation of partner performance reports for internal decision making and ensure review of monitoring reports of partners.
At present SCI has 68 Grants. A list of Grants, donor of those grants, partner NGO’s of those Grants (Sub-grants) and location are given in the Appendix.
Financial Management Department consists with three sections. They are FMS (financial management system), Accounts & Treasury and Financial Analysis & Budgets
Financial Management System: FMS is responsible for FMS management (Agresso) and accounting and internal reporting of the Country Office including maintaining Fund Management System (FMS) master data. It ensures the review and checking of data, set codes, maintain the finance calendar as per HQ guidelines, and complete the procedures regarding the month end process. FMS prepare management reports as per schedule and also support the Grants section with required information for donor reporting, maintain compliance with local laws, legislations and procedures, and prepare monthly control checklist.
Accounts & Treasury: The major responsibilities of Accounts & Treasury include documentation and cash management of the Country Office as well as ensuring all payment processing in time and approving to process payments, overseeing the maintenance of cash flow in line with center guidelines, responsible for the transfer of funds from center and to sub offices, responsible to monitor and control For ex gain/loss. It also ensures all record keeping of all documents related to payments, responsible for keeping bank account related documents and maintaining liaison with bank/bank personnel.
Financial Analysis & Budgets: This department is responsible for budgeting, budget monitoring and Government reporting of the Country Office including preparation of master budget for the country program, ensuring update information on budget availability for all grants, preparation of required NGOAB budget and reports, monthly budget monitoring, maintaining and complying the Scheme of Delegation chart, building capacity on budget preparation and budget monitoring especially for budget holders.
Capacity Building & Support: Responsible for pre-award assessment of partner’s capacity, sharing findings to respective senior managers, documenting, analyzing gaps with cost effective plan to address those gaps, coordinating with Sub Grants Monitoring team, coordinating with Partners and staff as needed, designing and developing training manuals/materials, delivering trainings as per plan, providing technical support and ensuring follow ups.
Bank and cash management
Save the Children operate its all transaction through both Bank and Cash transactions. To operate all the activities every country office of Save the Children International has to top up the bank and cash balance.
After observing the entire financial need regional finance director request for the bank and cash balance. Each country office should agree with the regional finance director maximum and minimum balances of bank and cash. These should be sent to treasury at the centre for approval.
These balances are the amounts above and below which the total amount of cash in hand and at bank should not move. Between the maximum and minimum levels should be set for amounts held in the safe, rather than at the bank.
The amount and the reasoning for choosing these amounts should be documented and kept on file, along with the approval of treasury.
The aim is to minimise the cash held in country, while ensuring there is sufficient for operational and security purposes. There are a number of reasons for wanting to keep low balances in country:
- SCI (Save the Children International) does not receive all its funding at the start of the year, so only has a limited amount of cash at any one time for use in programs
- keeping cash at the centre until needed maximizes SCI flexibility to respond to any urgent need
- foreign currency (i.e. non-USD) balances held in country offices at the month-end are subject to revaluation and therefore potential foreign exchange losses
- high balances can be a security risk for staff (although balances that are too low can also be a security risk)
- Keeping high balances in-country exposes SCI to the risk of loss should there be instability in that country.
The amounts will vary by country office, and are affected by factors such as the speed at which cash can be transferred into the country, the security level of the country, the nature of the programme (emergency v development) etc.
The maximum level is likely to be the minimum plus one month’s average in-country payments. If higher balances are required for a declared or non-declared emergency this can be authorised by the regional finance director (with onward notification to treasury).
The country director should agree maximum and minimum levels for each sub-office and this should be documented.
Save the Children International (SCI) performs its most of the transactions by bank. All vendor payments as well as the fund request above BDT 10,000 of the staffs are operated by bank. At present Standard Chartered Bank is the treasury approved bank of SCI.
There should not be separate bank accounts for each grant. The number of bank accounts must be minimized to reduce risk. The accounts should be opened in the name of Save the Children International. If there is a legal or regulatory reason to hold the accounts in a different name, authorization must be received in advance from the regional finance director and the treasurer at the centre. Bank accounts should be in the currency in which the country office will undertake expenditure transactions.
The country finance team performs an annual review of bank accounts as part of the year-end process to ensure that:
- All accounts are still needed
- All institutions that SCI banks with are still financially stable/ reputable and are consistent with guidance from treasury.
Any accounts identified as being no longer needed should be promptly closed.
Where banks used are not the treasury-approved bank, it is best practice to review banking arrangements at least every 5 years through competitive tender. This will ensure they reflect best practice and represent best value for money. The details and results should be notified to central treasury.
Payments should only be signed when accompanied by auditable documentation and relevant authorization in line with the scheme of delegation. The list of authorized signatories should be reviewed by the country director on a monthly basis to ensure it is up-to-date and appropriate.
All payments (cheque, cash withdrawal or transfer) require two signatures and must be accompanied by auditable documentation
Appropriate controls need to be in place around physical cheques. If the fund request is more than 10000 Tk. then only cheques has been issued
Where the country office has to issue a letter to instruct the bank to transfer funds or make payments, all such transactions must be carried out on a pre-printed and pre-numbered form.
This form will need to be produced locally to ensure it meets local bank requirements regarding content. The stock of these forms should be under the control of someone who is not an authorised signatory.
Country offices must make every effort to obtain bank statements on a timely basis and once a month as a minimum. Month-end bank statements should be kept on file as part of the accounting records.
All bank accounts and transactions affecting the accounts must be recorded in the finance system.
The bank statement balance must be reconciled with the balance in the finance system monthly and action taken to resolve differences promptly. The person performing the reconciliation must not be a signatory on the account.
Bank reconciliation compares the balance at the bank, as shown on the bank statement, with the balance at the bank as recorded in SCI records at the same date. It is often the case that the two balances are not the same, and differences could be for a number of reasons:
- Outstanding cheques – SCI has paid a supplier by cheque and reduced the bank balance accordingly. However the supplier has not yet taken the cheque to the bank or it has not yet cleared the bank, so the money is still included in the bank statement balance outstanding deposits – SCI has paid funds into the bank but they have not yet cleared and so are not included in the bank statement balance
- payments from the bank that the SCI office did not know about e.g. bank charges
- bank mistakes
- SCI mistakes in entering information.
It is essential to identify and resolve these differences for every single bank statement i.e. the bank reconciliation process.
Offices with access to Agresso should do online bank reconciliations as follows:
- ensure all bank payments for the month have been posted through the system
- obtain the bank statement as at the month-end
- reconcile the balance on the system to the balance on the bank statement, using the bank reconciliation process in Agresso (see Agresso manual)
For offices using cash and petty cash offline spreadsheet (CAPCOS) bank reconciliations should be completed using the bank reconciliation template as follows:
- check that any reconciling items from last month have cleared (e.g. if there was a payment that had not cleared the bank, check that it cleared this month and so is included in this month’s bank statement)
- compare the transactions on the bank statement to the bank transactions recorded in CAPCOS – tick off those that match
- any items left in either CAPCOS or the bank statement will be reconciling items for the bank reconciliation
- complete the manual reconciliation template
A copy of the bank statement should be attached to the payment voucher as supporting documentation, and approval is required as per the scheme of delegation. This should occur before finalizing the month-end accounts.
All reconciling items (such as outstanding cheques or deposits) appearing on the reconciliation for more than 1 month must be investigated and the reason for delay in their clearance must be stated on the reconciliation.
Any un-reconciled differences must be investigated immediately. If they cannot be resolved they must be brought to the attention of the country director and the regional finance director.
The difference should be posted to the suspense account while it is investigated. This will avoid misrepresenting the bank balance. This posting needs the authorization of the country director. The bank reconciliation should be reviewed and authorized as part of the month-end process. The person who prepared the reconciliation and the authorizer should sign the reconciliation. This should be filed along with the bank statement and supporting documentation in relation to reconciling items.
The finance team in each country should maintain a documentation file for each bank account. The file should include all agreements and account related correspondence, excluding regular transactions, with the bank (transaction information and bank statements should be maintained separately in the accounting files)
The following standard information should be found in the file:
- approval to open account
- bank agreement
- date account was opened
- authorized signatory list
- fee schedule (original and updates)
- all correspondence and authorizations related to changes in signatories
- For closed accounts, date closed and a copy of the bank confirmation of closing.
Electronic banking has specific risks. Country offices must agree their use of electronic banking with the centre on a case-by-case basis.
There is certain fund requests for which SCI has to keep cash holding. In order to minimize the risk and to hold proper control over the treasury according to the policy of SCI the number of cash transactions and amount of cash on hand should be minimized. Cash holdings are approved for offices which rely on cash payments to suppliers and for program advances for projects. These should have a designated cash account code in Agresso. Bank transfer or cheques are used in place of cash whenever possible.
There are certain key points which have to keep in mind for cash holding:
- Cash balances must be counted and reconciled to the finance system on at least a weekly basis, as well as on the last working day of the financial period.
- Cash withdrawals should be made by a minimum of two staff members. They should travel by vehicle to and from the bank to and once the cash has been withdrawn they should return directly to the office.
- The days and times of cash withdrawals should be varied, to reduce the likelihood of being targeted by thieves. As far as possible the fact that staff members are undertaking a trip to the bank to withdraw cash should not be made public knowledge in the office.
- If available at a cost-effective rate, cash should be insured ‘in transit’.
- A cash hand-carrying limit should be set. This needs to be approved by the country director, in consultation with the regional finance director, and documented in writing.
If cash-in-transit is insured, the hand-carrying limit should be set so that this does not exceed that set by the insurer.
Importance of sound cash management practices
It is critical to the efficient operation of country offices that they have access to the level of cash needed to fund normal operations, however excess cash balances leave SCI exposed to a number of risks, including theft/loss.
Good cash management requires planning and budgeting skills – the ability to accurately forecast needs and maintain appropriate levels of funds on hand. In addition, adequate controls must be in place to minimize the risk of funds being lost or stolen.
Cash in emergencies
Higher levels of cash-holding can be justified in emergency situations where rapid access to cash may be difficult. New limits for maximum safe-holdings, programme advance amounts and cash hand-carrying, as well as mitigating control procedures will be included in the emergency preparedness plan. In the event of an emergency, the country finance director and the country director will reissue the limits and finance control procedures within one week to ensure that cash is appropriately managed and controlled during the high-risk emergency response.
High cash holdings also increase the likelihood and impact of a security incident, so emergency limits need to be well through and documented with the advice of the regional finance director.
In the event of an emergency it may be necessary to transfer cash to areas of the country where SCI does not currently operate. If operations will continue in this area the country office should look to set up a bank account in this area as soon as possible. Until this time cash should be transferred using one of the methods below:
- set up agreements with banks whereby recognized individuals can pick up transfers specifically sent for their attention – “pay on application and identification”, and can take a couple of days to set up
- use a specialist agent (e.g. Western Union), who charge a commission
- use travelers cheques if accepted by local banks
- ask staff to hand carry a cash advance (by car, plane, helicopter) from country head office or the nearest SCI office with a bank account
In many offices certain staffs (usually administration and logistics) have frequent small purchases to make, for efficiency these staff may be given a small amount for petty cash purposes. Petty cash should be used only for small purchases, such as supplies or local transportation, where cheques cannot be used. This fund is not to be used to issue personal advances to any member of staff.
It must have a fixed maximum value which should never be exceeded, and a limit should be set which no individual payment can exceed. All disbursements must be recorded on petty cash vouchers. The vouchers and supporting documents are stored until the petty cash is ‘topped-up’ to its original limit.
Country director and sub-office managers are responsible for:
- Ensuring that appropriate controls over petty cash are in place.
Country finance director is responsible for:
- Effective implementation of controls over petty cash.
Petty cash holder is responsible for:
- obtaining appropriate authorization for petty cash payments before the payment is made
- ensuring the petty cash is kept in a lockable box in a lockable drawer, and that these are locked when the petty cash is not being accessed
- Accounting for petty cash on a monthly basis as a minimum.
Process for opening petty cash accounts
- Identify a requirement
Identify why the petty cash is needed, how it will be used.
- Seek authorisation to proceed
Seek approval from the country director and country finance director. A petty cash account opening request form should be completed, which should contain the following information:
- reason for the cash holding request
- currency to be used
- the maximum and minimum level of cash holding
- all individuals who will have access to the petty cash
- Location of the petty cash box.
- Establish petty cash box
- Set up in Agresso. The accounting entry to establish a petty cash account is to debit the cash in hand account (1050) and credit the bank account (1000) from which the funds were transferred.
Disbursements from Petty Cash
The cash in the petty cash box plus the total of all petty cash vouchers in the box should always equal the total authorized petty cash level. Any reimbursement of petty cash should be equal to the value of all the petty cash vouchers expensed. If this is not the case then any difference should be investigated.
All payments should be supported by a receipt or a document detailing why it was not possible to obtain a receipt. This document should be approved by the person authorising the payment.
The overall financial management of country offices is governed by the accounting policies and standard operating procedures of SCI. As SCI is a donor based Organization to keep the record properly, every transaction must be accurately coded before they are entered into the finance system. Expenditure should be incurred and coded in line with program requirements and donor regulations.
For every expense two parties become responsible. One is Budget holders another one is the Finance staff. The responsibilities are described below:
Budget holders should:
- code their budgets both by SCI chart of account code and donor expense analysis code
- Identify the complete budget code when authorizing a purchase request, an expenditure commitment (e.g. a purchase order), a program advance or a payment.
Finance staff should:
- set up and ensure the integrity of the overall program coding structure, in consultation with the progam staff and in line with SCI chart of account rules
- ensure consistency of coding across the program
- provide training, support & guidance to the budget holders on coding issues
- Seek guidance from regional finance staff if required.
Recording Attributes (codes)
Whenever enter data in the finance system, for example when making a payment, there are certain fields in which one must enter a coded value. These fields are known as attributes, and they are used to provide particular information about the transaction.
There are three types of attribute:
- account code
- posting attributes (direct dimensions)
- reporting attributes (indirect dimensions)
Account codes and rules
The first attribute is the account code. The list of account codes from which one can select a value at the time of posting is known as the chart of accounts and is standardized across SCI. The most up-to date version of the chart of accounts is available as a report in Agresso. Within the chart of accounts, the codes fall into three main groups:
- balance sheet codes: these are four-digit codes that have a value between 1000 and 2999
- income codes: these are four-digit codes that have a value between 3000 and 3999
- expenditure codes: these are four-digit codes that have a value between 4000 and 9999
Each account code is linked to an account rule. The account rule determines what other codes must be completed when entering a transaction.
For example, when recording a payment from the bank using account code 1000 (cash at bank), it is not possible to complete the entry without entering a code to identify the specific bank account being used.
Findings and Observation
Save the Children is an international organization which works for the underprivileged children around the world. SCI’s aim is to provide the children as much as benefit and to make it possible the finance department of SCI constantly tries to use a minimized the cost of SCI by doing all the financial activities in a proper and cost effective way. To minimize the cost of SCI it is very important to maintain a sound process in the finance department for transaction and recording. After observing the bank & cash management and general accounting procedure of SCI I can say that they are successful to achieve their goal to some extant but there also some factors which can be create problem in the way of proper finance management. Those factors are describing below:
- Dependency on manual activities: SCI is an international organization it has to operate lots of transaction every day. But from the process of receiving the bill or fund request to the payment all happens in a manual way. It increases the chance of mistakes.
- Improper use of human recourse: As the process depends on the manual activities in a large extant so it is found that it’s creating the improper use of work force. For example, responsible officer in payables and FMS section has to work with same bills again and again for checking, entry and various purposes. If the system is like, at a time the authorized person has to check and entry the voucher in the system I think it would ensure more efficient use of work force.
- Slower Software Operation: At present “Agrosso” is used as online spreadsheet, but it operation is very slow. Its slowdown the recording system and reporting to the other department as a result it affects the whole financial activities of SCI.
- Incomplete Supporting Documents: Sometimes the bills deposited by the vendors and staffs are not accurate. The supporting documents of the bills are missing, so it creates problem for the officer who makes the vouchers.
- Paper Vouchers: The payment vouchers can be required for various use including audit, prepare different report of different department and program, for justification etc. but all the vouchers made for the payment of bills are paper vouchers which can be easily damaged, so keeping bill vouchers for 5 years according to the policy of SCI is very tough.
- Documentation: For documentation vouchers are filed in a monthly basis. Voucher is required for the future reference, audit and different propose of different department. People of different departments and programs use vouchers but it is found that most of those are not put back in the same place. There is no authorized person or system to maintain the documentation, so these missing vouchers can create problems in the future.
- Irregular cross checking: Through there are several cross checking point from topping up bank/cash balance to payment process, but it is not practicing in the way it should be. So it increases the chance of mistakes and corruption.
After all the discussion and observation of the process of “Bank & Cash Management” and “General Accounting” of I want to recommend some points. Those are describing below:
Revised system: In order to maintain a sound finance management process they should make the system more revised and computerized rather than the manual process. For example, if there is a system of submitting the entire bill and fund request on online software than it will easy check, decrease mistakes and ensure the proper use of workforce.
Upgraded Software: To make sure the faster recording system the software used for recording should be upgraded or should be changed.
Internal Audit: To ensure the proper execution of the policy, appropriate financial activities and decrease the possibility of unfair means internal audit should be appointed.
Increase emphasis of cross checking: To increase the accuracy and decrease unfair means it is very important to give more emphasis on cross checking of bill vouchers, cheques and other financial data. So it should be ensured.
Improved procedure of documentation: One of the policies of SCI finance is to keep the financial document up to 5 years. But by the current documentation procedure is not possible. So I think more improved procedure of documentation should be introduced.
Decentralization of responsibility: SCI is an international organization, in Bangladesh currently it is operating different activities program for the under privileged children and finance department aim is to help to achieve the goal of this program. According to my observation to operate the financial activities more efficiently by more decentralization of the responsibility of top and middle management of finance.