Controller Notes: The Importance of Documenting Financial Systems

Donna Urbank, Controller

With the current job market where staff turnover in the accounting field appears to be higher than experienced in recent years, it saves operating cash in the long run to ensure that a company’s financial systems and procedures are well-documented in the event of staff turnover, and also in the event of the sale of the company. Having a well-documented financial process also identifies areas where, due to a company’s growth, new systems or software may be warranted.

DMS can assist current and future clients in documenting current financial systems with the following procedures:

  • Review in-house staff financial functions and implement process improvements. As new staff are added to meet a growing company’s work requirements, there is a tendency for current staff to retain functions that would be better placed with a new staff’s job responsibilities.
  • Review inventory process and procedures. This is an area where an annual review is incredibly beneficial. DMS currently employs some of the best in industry inventory and accounting systems – staff that specialize in inventory process and procedures.
  • Establish cash forecasting and reports for management to review on a weekly basis.
  • Design or improve upon internal control procedures and policies so that best practices are followed such as segregation of duties, increasing workflow productivity, and eliminating redundant tasks. A real time example of poor internal controls is where an individual responsible for entering vendor invoices in the accounting system also has the ability to print checks and/or sign checks for vendor invoices that are not reviewed or approved by management.
  • Ensure that payroll procedures are well-documented and reviewed to minimize costly errors. An example of poor controls is where an employee is terminated but no procedure is in place to communicate this to the payroll department and the terminated employee is inadvertently paid in the next pay.

Please reach out to DMS to discuss these or other potential improvements to your company’s financial processes and procedures.