Finance Policy

Introduction

As a registered charity and company limited by guarantee it is imperative that we adopt rigorous financial controls and procedures throughout the organisation, which will enable us to fulfil the expectations of the Charity Commission, Companies House, funders and donors, and other stakeholders. It will also ensure financial viability for the future of the organisation.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is responsible for:

  • Safeguarding the assets of the charity
  • Preventing fraud
  • Avoiding mistakes
  • Keeping financial records in accordance with the governing document and relevant legislation such as the Charities Acts 2011.
  • Preparing Annual Accounts in accordance with the governing document and relevant legislation

To enable the Board of Trustees to carry out these responsibilities, the Finance Policy must be followed at all times by all Board of Trustee members, staff and volunteers. This policy in exceptional circumstances may be overridden with the approval of the Treasurer; any such override will be immediately reported by the Treasurer to the Board. A Board decision may also override the policy in exceptional circumstances.

A copy of this policy will be given to all Board of Trustee members on their election / appointment to the Board, and to all relevant staff and volunteers.

Organisational Information

Accountants Larking Gowen LLP, King Street House, 15 Upper King Street, Norwich, NR3 1RB
Bankers CAF Bank Ltd, 25 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4JQ
UK Independent Examiner Mr Michael Steed MA (Cantab), CTA (Fellow), MAAT, Chute House, The Street, Appledore, Kent, TN26 2BX
Uganda independent auditor J R & Associates. Certified Public Accountants, Plot No 70, Bukoto Street, Kamwokya, Kampala

Bank Accounts

  • The charity maintains two bank accounts in the UK, and two in Uganda.
  • All bank accounts must be in the name of the organisation
  • No account may ever be opened in the name of an individual or individuals.
  • New organisational accounts may only be opened by a decision of the Board of Trustees, which must be minuted.
  • Changes to the bank mandate may only be made by a decision of the Board of Trustees, which must be minuted.
  • Two people must be involved in counting cash receipts.
  • All cheques must be signed by two signatories. The signatories are responsible for examining the cheque for accuracy and completeness.
  • All Internet Bank Transfers must be authorised by two signatories.
  • Only the precise amount needed to carry out a specific piece of work will be transferred from the UK CAF Bank Account, to the Uganda Bank Account.
  • The Treasurer is responsible for ensuring accuracy and completeness prior to transmission.
  • The signatories are responsible for examining the payment documentation (purchase invoice etc) prior to signing the cheque or authorising an Internet Transfer.
  • Blank cheques must never be signed.

Signatories to the accounts

UK Account Chair of Trustees

Treasurer

Uganda Account Projects Director

Charity Administrator

Overseas donations

No overseas donations can be received in the UK except with the approval of the charity’s Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be aware in advance of the name of the donor and the size of donation. CAF Bank shall always contact the Treasurer prior to any donations being accepted.

The charity’s Bank Accounts in Uganda may not accept any payments except from the charity’s main account in the UK.

Prior to any donations from overseas being accepted, the Treasurer must be satisfied of their bona fides. This can be done through:

  • Personal recommendation from other Officers such as the charity’s Patrons
  • Checking website and public information sources.
  • Checking against HM Treasury Current list of designated persons, terrorism and terrorist financing

All suspicious donations will be reported to the Charity Commission and ActionFraud https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Financial Reports

A Management Accounts report and a Cash Flow Report will be prepared for every Board of Trustees meeting. The report will consist of:

  • Income and Expenditure Accounts
  • Balance Sheet
  • Notes to the accounts and commentary

Reports will be disseminated 10 days in advance of each board meeting to enable Board members to scrutinise in readiness for discussion at the next Board meeting. All reports will be prepared by the Treasurer

Accounting and other Financial Records

The organisation has robust procedures in place to ensure that all legal and statutory responsibilities are upheld.

The organisation maintains a cashbook accounting system in the UK, and a Quickbooks system in Uganda which records:

  • Cheques and cash received and banked
  • Cheque payments, Internet Banking Transfers and other amounts paid from the bank accounts

Every transaction will be entered into the finance systems and will include:

  • The date of the transaction
  • The name of the person or organisation money was received from or paid to and the full amount
  • A brief description of why the money was received or paid

All documents relating to receipts and payments will be kept

Authorisation and Payment

Receipts MUST accompany all purchases. All receipts MUST be approved before an order is placed by the Treasurer in the UK, or by the Projects Director in Uganda.

All receipts must be recorded and allocated a reference. In the UK, purchases of items may be approved by the Treasurer with oversight from the Chair of Trustees. In Uganda, purchases of items may be approved by the Projects Director with oversight from the Treasurer.

No Trustees or staff member may solely authorise payment to themselves, their partner or relatives.

All invoices or receipts should be checked before payment is authorised. All goods received must be signed for and checked for completeness before payment. Once payment has been made, the invoice (or other receipt) should be marked “Paid”, together with the reference and date. All payments must be entered on to the accounting system on receipt.

Card Payments

  • Only two trustees may have a credit card. Staff cannot obtain a Credit Card.
  • Provision of a card can be withdrawn by the Board at any time.
  • If a card user ceases in their role with the charity, their cards will be retrieved, cancelled and destroyed with immediate effect
  • All expenses incurred using a card must go through the usual authorisation processes
  • There will be a six monthly review of card use to ensure proper practice.

Reimbursement of Expenses

A common set of financial controls is applied to all expense payments, without exception, to all those involved with the charity whether staff, trustees or other volunteers.

All expenses will be authorised and reimbursed by the Treasurer with oversight from the Chair of Trustees.

All petty cash transactions should be recorded and receipts kept.

Staff Salaries

  • All employees (including sessional and part time employees) must complete and submit relevant invoices before they receive any payment.
  • Payroll and all calculations will be made by the Treasurer in the UK, and the Projects Director in Uganda.
  • All staff changes and changes to terms and conditions of employment need to be approved by the Chairman and will be processed by the Treasurer.
  • The charity does not issue loans or salary advances under any circumstances.

Checks and audits

In the UK, the Treasurer checks all receipts and payments as and when they are made. The cashbooks are sent to our Accountants who use these to produce monthly management accounts.

In Uganda, the Charity Administrator uses Quick Books to account for all the expenditure and bi-weekly pays the bills, monitors the bank accounts and inputs all the receipts and petty cash vouchers into the system. The Projects Director makes sure all charity permits are up to date and that salaries are paid. The Treasurer makes sure that the accounts are audited and submitted to the Ugandan Revenue Authority and the NGO board annually.

Both the UK and Uganda offices will be independently audited by a qualified examiner each year in accordance with legal obligations, prior to the preparation of formal accounts.

Fundraising Applications

All fund raising and grant applications undertaken on behalf of the charity will be done with the prior approval of, and the oversight of, the Board of Trustees.

Confidentiality

The confidentiality of employees’ financial circumstances will be respected at all times.

Policy Revisions

This policy will be reviewed every two years and amended as necessary, or earlier in accordance with any forthcoming legislation or changes to the operations of the organisation. All employees should pass suggestions or recommendations for the revision of any aspect of the policy through normal channels to the Treasurer.

This review: October 2020

Next Review: May 2022