The latest payment authorisations and internal budget control tools will ultimately leave your organisation better able to meet stakeholder goals, but the key is adopting a new system with minimal disruption when you have limited resources to begin with.

The benefits of improving payment authorisation and internal controls at the same time are many and run organisation wide. It inevitably means better outcomes for governance, financial management and staff processes. It almost always brings cost savings in the long run, making your organisation better able to meet stakeholder goals.

Costs over time of using outdated payment authorisation methods can be tallied in the manual effort of coding and sending invoices to be approved, waiting for the approved invoices and chasing up any unapproved invoices. There is also cost in suppliers having to wait for payments which can mean they are paid outside terms of trade and can affect the ongoing supply of goods and services. In addition, when auditors request copies of invoices, time and effort can be lost in having to manually locate and deliver invoices.

The challenge, of course, is that moving to a new system can cause disruption in the short term and that can feel overwhelming.

In the digital age, there are applications that help solve all the above challenges faced by not-for-profit and charitable organisations. Approvalmax, for example, can be integrated with other cloud-based accounting systems to route invoices electronically for approval helping those approving the invoices that they remain within budget.

The integration with cloud-based accounting systems such as Xero means that from the electronic receipt of an invoice from a supplier, the invoice can be captured in the system, sent for electronic approval, and authorised for payment. Batch payments from the accounting system can be uploaded into the banking system and the authorised invoice is paid. The invoice can then be attached to the transaction, thus providing a complete audit trail. All auditors need, when it comes time, is access to the system.

From an administrative perspective, this saves effort/time from the accounting and admin department chasing invoices to be approved, less hard copy paper to be filed and improved stringency around the invoice approval process. It also means members of the governing group have greater assurance that cash is more rigorously controlled.

Moving to a new system usually generates immediate financial benefits in terms of less time required by accounting staff as well as the management of the organisation. It frees the organisation up to focus on what they are there for.

We welcome calls to discuss how we can help your organisation update its payment systems and internal controls.

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