Quick Tips for Effective Association Financial Management
Effective financial management for associations can be maintained with the following tips to keep yourself and your clients on track:
1. Draft Procedures – Create procedures for specific tasks that you complete each month (i.e., check writing, vendor payments, bank reconciliations, revenue recognition, and more). This is especially helpful when starting a new position and working on new systems. It not only allows you to refer back to the instructions while acclimating to a new environment, but these procedures can also be shared amongst fellow or incoming team members to make the transition easier for all.
2. Stay Organized – Keep calendars, create organized file paths, and maintain all notes and log ins in their proper place. This helps avoid wasting time searching for items throughout the work day and proves useful when hunting down information in the future.
3. Create a Monthly Calendar – Create a monthly calendar that outlines specific due dates and tasks to stay on track. This helps ensure that you do not have due dates too close together and can turn in accurate reports and other items in a timely manner.
4. Add Notes – Add brief details on the side of any spreadsheet or transaction that you produce. This will help you remember why you treated a transaction a certain way or help explain to a client what a particular figure is for. It is also beneficial to add a copy of the invoice to the transaction so that you can refer back to the initial source document if need be.
5. Maintain a Set of Trouble-Shooting Instructions – 0To help keep our heads straight in the daily rush, it is helpful to maintain a list of tasks that perhaps took a lot of work to figure out how to fix or that you don’t come across often. This way if you or your team members come across a similar situation you can refer back to your notes and quickly resolve the problem.
6. Get a Second Opinion – In accounting there are often several ways to handle different situations so it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each direction that you could take. Often a second opinion from someone on your team with diverse experience can help bring even more light to a situation. After all, two brains are better than one!
7. Keep Backups – In finance we are always asking questions that likely relate to financial data that occurred far in the past or at a time when you were not working with the client. In my experience it is incredibly helpful, especially when transitioning new clients and closing old accounts (i.e., bank accounts, payment processors), to download at least two years’ worth data that you may not have access to in the future. In this way, you can have an effective starting point that you can reference if you have to do some extra digging.
8. Ask Questions – When working with clients it is easy for both parties to get caught up in daily tasks and miss the details. To avoid issues in the future don’t be afraid to ask clients and fellow team members to clarify the items you’re discussing, even if it is something as simple as the type of expense you’re talking about. This creates clarity and efficiency as it is avoiding problems and adjustments to the financials in the future.
9. Set Realistic Deadlines – Be honest with your team members and clients and set realistic timelines when producing reports. If the same item is needed each month refer back to our tip on creating a monthly calendar and stay focused on completing the most important tasks first. Take advantage of those times when work may be slow. Get a head start on the next task because you never know when you may need to put out some fires and it is a relief to know you’ve already gotten ahead on your deadlines.
10. Set Up Weekly Calls with Your Team - This is super helpful for those who work remotely, as it is easier to get side tracked or have tasks lost in communication over email. Setting up a brief 15-30 min call every week allows each team member to bring their questions to the table and clarify any times that they may be confused about or have questions on. It also helps everyone stay on track and receive an early warning if the workload is about to increase.
To learn more about AMC Source's commitment to partnering with our clients in this area, speak with someone from our team today.
This post is the third in AMC Source's "Quick Tips for Association Management" series, highlighting 10 quick tips for various functional areas within association management. Be sure to take a look at the other posts in this series today!
LOURDES HERNANDEZ, MACC
Lourdes's primary role is to provide bookkeeping and data entry services. She earned a B.S. in Accounting and a B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, as well as a Master of Accountancy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Lourdes is currently studying to sit for the Certified Public Accountant licensing exams. Learn more about Lourdes and the amazing AMC Source team on the Our Team page of our website.