Northeast Kingdom Community Action provides its program managers with real time access to fiscal information as a mechanism to fulfill their role with fiscal oversight.
Northeast Kingdom Community Action recognized the need to increase attention to financial oversight responsibilities among the agency’s program managers. A mechanism was developed to give managers real time access to fiscal information to facilitate this effort. Previously, there was a tendency for managers to rely on the Finance Director and Executive Director to fully ensure proper accounting and management of program funds. This resulted in a weakness between program operations and budget planning and management.
NEKCA’s finance system uses FundWare accounting software. NEKCA has set up a system to provide READ ONLY accounting data to program managers either at the NEKCA office or through off-site dial-up access. CAA’s with other accounting software packages could investigate the possibility of incorporating this feature with whatever system is being used.
Components of the accounting system that can be accessed include:
- Payroll data to monitor assignment of proper department pay rates and benefits
- General Ledger to monitor spending by Expense Category
- Cash Receipts to track revenue and income
- Monthly and Yearly Budget v. Actual to monitor overall program status and to make adjustments as necessary
NEKCA works with program managers to help them understand their role with financial management. This includes an overview of the budgeting process, as well as hands-on instruction for use of the fiscal information that should be regularly reviewed.
Financial Management for All Senior Managers? Why This? from the National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise presented ten reasons why it is essential for senior managers to develop certain financial competencies.
The benefits of greater involvement in financial management among program managers include:
- Accountability of both finance department and program managers related to the timeliness and accuracy of finance department processing coupled with appropriate coding of budgets by program managers
- Stronger relationship between budget planning and program priorities
- Greater awareness of funding limitations among managers
- Increased efficiency in program operations to make best use of available monies
- Fewer inaccuracies in classification of program expenses
- Improved budgetary controls
- Recognition of the importance of documenting outcomes in order to build continued program support
Paul Denton, Executive Director