Front page of our local paper this morning was the story: Police inquiry into missing students funds
It’s very distressing that organizations that should be doing so much good in the community are put at risk because of the dishonesty of a few. Unfortunately we see this occur far too frequently.
Desktop accounting software, where just a few people have control of financial records, makes it very easy and tempting for fraud to occur. It’s relatively easy to cook the books or just not provide them. It could be months later when fraud is discovered.
Online accounting is the ideal control for reducing the temptation and ability for fraud in community organizations. Here are some of the ways.
- Multiple people can see the books at any time. Xero even has a read only view for trustees to sort through the numbers.
- Direct bank feeds allow anyone authorized to see the bank balance, without needing access to online banking.
- Expense claims and Accounts Payable have to be approved. There is workflow and multiple user roles to ensure proper segregation of duties.
- Reports are easy to generate and can be done and circulated within days of the end of month
The benefits in terms of cost and continuity (if your treasurer resigns you can simply give the new person access with no downtime) are obvious enough. Simply for good governance reasons, online accounting is compelling.