Note from Director of Financial Operations
Oversight of Southern Vision Alliance’s financial processes and procedures is regulated by a system of checks and balances, and also requires approvals across the board to ensure that we are upholding our fiduciary obligation to our programs and fiscally sponsored projects. Our goal is to make financial processes streamlined, easy to follow, and in accordance with our current and increasing capacity as we evolve as an organization.
According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, “Segregation of Duties (SOD) is a basic building block of sustainable risk management and internal controls for a business. The principle of SOD is based on shared responsibilities of a key process that disperses the critical functions of that process to more than one person or department. Without this separation in key processes, fraud and error risks are far less manageable.” AICPA ‘Value Strategy Through Segregation of Duties.’
This document serves as a manual and internal controls document, generated for understanding, referencing and general operational practice of how financial transactions are monitored, regulated and implemented on a continual basis. As our organization grows, we will be making updates as needed, with notations at points where information has changed or new practices will be implemented.
Director of Financial Operations
Southern Vision Alliance Internal Financial Controls Document
Section I: Cash Disbursements & Accounts Payable: Check Requests, Payroll & Reimbursements & Accounts Receivable; ACH Grant Requests & Incoming Grants by Mail
V. 0.01 Updated August 2019
Standard Operating Procedures & Internal Controls
- Cash Disbursements
- Accounts Payable
- A/P for Program Staff
- A/P for Fiscal Sponsorships
- Check & Payment Requests
- Requesting Payment by Check, E-Payment, ACH/Bank Wire & Gift Card
- Required Documentation (Invoices, w9and/ors, Contracts)
- Turnaround Time for Check/Payment Requests
- Delays & Approval Processes
- Updates to ACH/Check Ledger
- Procedure for Payroll
- Required Documentation (w9s, NC-EZ, w4s, Contracts & Direct Deposit Forms)
- Pay Cycle
- Adding New Contractors/Employees to Payroll
- Terminating Contractors/Employees from ADP
- Issuing Live Checks & Special Payroll
- Procedure for Requesting Reimbursements
- Mileage vs. General Reimbursements
- Required Documentation
- Turnaround Time for Reimbursements
- A/R Accounts Receivable
- ACH Grant Funds Requests: Procedure for setting up ACH Payments
- Required Documentation
- Incoming Grants by Mail
- Procedure for Checking Mail
- Procedure for Logging Incoming Grants by Check
- Procedure for Depositing Checks
- Procedure for Filing Grant Letters & Documentation
1.1 Accounts Payable
Accounts payable are monies owed to groups, organizations, companies or individuals who have been contracted for organizing work, consulting services, fellowships, speaking engagements, products or services, and can be paid out as stipends, fees, employee/contractor payments or honorarium in the following ways:
- Electronic Payment/ACH
- Gift Card
Currently, the responsible team within Southern Vision Alliance for all financial tasks is the Finance Team, comprised of the Director of Financial Operations, Accounts Manager and Finance Associate. The Finance Team reports to the Co-Directors of the organization, as well as the Finance Committee of The Board of Directors.
A/P General Procedure
- All outgoing accounts payable, including outgoing checks, ACH payments and payroll disbursements, must be approved by the Director of Financial Operations, or in their absence, the Board Treasurer and/or Co-Directors of Southern Vision Alliance.
- For accounting purposes, there must be complete documentation accompanying any outgoing payments, and consistent filing/archiving of those documents on a weekly basis.
- Accompanying documents includes but is not limited to invoices, contracts, w9/w4 tax documents, ADP direct deposit forms, and, in some cases, signed off payment waiver/signature forms.
1.2 Accounts Payable for Program Staff
All requested accounts payable from Programs (Ignite NC & Youth Organizing Institute) must be first approved by Program Directors, then approved by the Director of Financial Operations and/or the Accounts Manager. Contracts and tax forms must be submitted within 1-4 weeks before payment can be issued. Last-minute requests may result in delayed payment.
For services/products, a copy of an invoice, contract (if applicable), and w9 must be submitted to the Director of Financial Operations or Finance Staff before payment can be issued. Please send within 1-4 weeks for timely payment.
Contracts issued to individuals employed by Southern Vision Alliance (including program and operations staff) must be on the organization’s letterhead, and approved by Co-Directors first.
Program Directors/Staff may NOT, under any circumstances, issue or sign checks, perform ACH/Bank Wire transactions, nor run payroll on behalf of programs or the organization. This is a task specific to the Finance Team and other supportive operations staff. Please be advised that there are legal implications for unauthorized payments and contracts issued/signed without the written and agreed consent of The Director of Financial Operations and/or the Co-Directors.
1.3 Accounts Payable for Fiscal Sponsorships
All requested accounts payable from Fiscal Sponsorships must first be approved by Financial Point of Contact, in conjunction with their Advisory Board, then approved by the Director of Financial Operations and/or the Accounts Manager. Contracts and tax forms must be submitted within 1-4 weeks for payment to be issued. Last-minute requests may result in delayed payment.
For services/products, a copy of an invoice, contract (if applicable), and w9 must be submitted to the Director of Financial Operations before payment can be issued. Please send within 1-4 weeks for timely payment.
Financial Points of Contact for Fiscal Sponsorships may NOT, under any circumstances, issue or sign checks, perform ACH/Bank Wire transactions, nor run payroll on behalf of any fiscally sponsored project or program of the organization. This is a task specific to the Finance Team and other supportive operations staff.
Please be advised that there are legal implications for unauthorized payments and contracts issued/signed without the written and agreed consent of the Financial Point of Contact, Director of Financial Operations and/or the Co-Directors.
2.1 Procedure for Requesting Payment by Check, E-Payment, ACH/Bank Wire & Gift Card
Program Staff/Directors, Operations Staff/Directors and Fiscally Sponsored Projects may request payment by check for monies owed to groups, organizations, companies or individuals who have been contracted for organizing work, consulting services, fellowships, speaking engagements, products or services.
Please be advised that funds requested from Programs or Fiscal Sponsorships for payment (including check requests, reimbursements and other A/P) come out of Program budgets or Fiscally Sponsored project budgets, unless otherwise noted.
Check Requests must be submitted by EMAIL to the Finance Associate and/or Accounts Manager, with the Director of Financial Operations CCd on the email.
The following format should be used in the subject line for best results:
CHECK REQUEST <Insert Name of Payee>, <Insert Name of Program/Fiscally Sponsored Project> <Insert DOLLAR AMOUNT>
Example: CHECK REQUEST, FANNIE LOU, YOI, $4,000.
Please include in the body of the email:
- Date of the event
- Name of the Program/Project
- Check Made Payable to: FULL LEGAL NAME of the payment recipient.
- Full Amount of Payment $______
- Physical Mailing Address of the payment recipient. (Including City, State & Zipcode)
- Any accompanying documents, including w9, contract and/or invoice attached to the email.
This format will ensure emails with urgent check requests are not overlooked and can be prioritized so payment is made in a timely manner.
CHECK REQUESTS WITHOUT THE ABOVE INFORMATION WILL RESULT IN DELAYED PAYMENT.
Please submit check/payment requests within 1-4 weeks BEFORE payment is required. Please be aware that individuals, groups, organizations and companies owed payment may not actually receive payment until 1-2 weeks following the performance of service. A buffer period is needed for the increased volume of check requests that come in on a daily basis.
For material product orders such as t-shirts, printing, equipment/transportation rentals, venue and lodging, payments will be made immediately by credit card or other form of payment, but will still require notice of 1-4 weeks in advance.
2.2 Required Documentation
All outgoing payment requests require a combination or all of the following sources of documentation for accounting and tax purposes, depending on the circumstances:
- Tax Forms (w9, w4, NC-EZ Forms, I9)
- Invoice (if applicable)
- State Issued Driver’s License or acceptable photo ID with Full Legal Name
2.3 Turnaround Times
Checks By Mail
Allow up to 10 business days for funds to be received by mail. If checks haven’t been received within 14 days of notification that funds have been issued, please contact the Finance Associate or Accounts Manager immediately. Please be advised that correct mailing address is necessary to ensure checks are received in a timely manner. If any check comes back ‘Return to Sender,’ a member of the Finance Team will contact Program Directors or Financial Points of Contact immediately for updated information.
For E-Payment (electronic invoice) most payments should arrive immediately, but may vary depending on the recipient’s bank and payment processor. If there are any issues with receiving funds via e-payment method (ie; Paypal, Stripe, Intuit etc.), please contact the Finance Associate or Accounts Manager immediately. Please be advised that the SVA Finance Team does not issue payments via CashApp or Venmo.
For ACH funds, please allow up to 3-7 business days for payments to process. Bank Wires typically are available the same day, but may vary depending on the recipient’s bank and payment processor. Please be advised that the SVA Finance Team does not issue payments via Western Union, or MoneyGram.
In special circumstances, The Finance Team may issue gift cards as payment for products or services. This is not a typical means of payment, and will only be an option in particular instances. Payment by gift card will still require accompanying documentation, and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please be advised that the same turnaround time for mailings apply with gift cards (up to 10 business days to be received by mail) unless issued directly to recipients at an event. In such cases, recipients will be required to sign off on a payment signature/waiver sheet to document that a gift card was given in exchange for service, honorarium or as volunteer/participant appreciation.
2.4 Delays & Approval Processes
All outgoing payments must be approved by the Director of Financial Operations. Some limited approval privileges will be given to Accounts Manager and/or Finance Associate.
Approval & Check Writing & Signing
According to the AICPA’s recommendation of Segregation of Duties, check issuing and writing is performed as follows:
Responsible Party: Director of Financial Operations, Accounts Manager, Finance Associate
Check Signing & Approval
Responsible Party: Co-Directors, Board Treasurer
Under no circumstances should any Operations or Program Staff person write/issue or sign checks on behalf of themselves or any other person who is not one of the delegated responsible parties aforementioned.
Please be advised that if any of the parties delegated as check signers are not available, payment may be delayed significantly. Under no circumstance may any party designated as a check writer sign checks.
2.5 Updates to ACH/Check Ledger
All outgoing check payments should be entered into the ACH/Check Ledger log.
- Check number
- Transaction Description
- Account type
- Account code
- Debit or Credit (void)
Responsible parties for updating the ACH/Check Ledger log are limited to The Director of Financial Operations, Accounts Manager, Finance Associate and/or supportive Operations staff as needed.
Under no circumstance should any party designated as check signer update the ACH/Check Ledger log according to our policy on Segregation of Duties in accordance with the AICPA’s standard recommendation.
3.1 Procedure for Payroll
Southern Vision Alliance’s procedure for payroll is a multi-step process that involves a number of parties to ensure that employees and contractors are paid in a timely manner and in accordance with state and federal tax law.
The Director of Financial Operations and/or Co-Directors are the only authorized parties approved to run final payroll. Information may be entered into ADP by the Accounts Manager, Finance Associate, Co-Directors or HR Manager.
Those steps are as followed:
- Intake and Employee Documentation
Responsible Party: HR Manager
- W9/W4, NC-EZ Tax forms
- Personnel Sheet
- ADP Direct Deposit Form (if applicable)
- Employment Contract
- Employee Details Entered into ADP
Responsible Party: Accounts Manager, Finance Assoc. Dir of Finance or HR Manager
- Add New Employee/Contractor Selected in Directory function
- Employee/Contractor’s Full Legal Name, Address and Social Security # entered into ADP
- Employee’s Tax information entered into ADP
- Employee’s Direct Deposit information entered into ADP (if applicable)
- Timekeeping Report Generated for Pay Cycle
Responsible Party: Co-Directors or HR Manager
- Co-Directors and/or HR Manager pull hours worked for each employee/contractor from timekeeping system (Toggl as of 08/2019)
- Adjustments made if necessary
- Generate Master Payroll Spreadsheet by Month
Responsible Party: Co Directors
- Co-Directors adjust salary updates, hours worked and employees/contractors updated in master payroll spreadsheet by month
- Bonuses, deductions and PTO are entered into master payroll spreadsheet
- Run Payroll
Responsible Party: Director of Financial Operations or Co-Directors
- The Director of Financial Operations enters updated salary, deductions, hours worked and PTO adjustments and bonuses into ADP
- The Director of Financial Operations updates check date if necessary
- The Director of Financial Operations runs Payroll
- Bank Transfer
Responsible Party: Director of Financial Operations or Co-Directors
- The Director of Financial Operations immediately transfers funds from General Operations Account to Payroll Account.
- The Director of Financial Operations makes notations as needed for special payroll, bonuses etc.
3.2 Required Documentation
Citing Section 3.1.A, all employees/contractors must submit the appropriate supportive intake documents before they can be added to SVA’s payroll system.
Those documents are as followed:
- W9/W4, NC-EZ Tax forms
- Personnel Sheet
- ADP Direct Deposit Form (if applicable)
- Employment Contract
Automatic Data Processing, LLC (ADP) is the current system used to process SVA’s payroll. Currently the only employees who should have access to SVA’s administrative account are the following:
- Director of Financial Operations
- HR Manager
- Accounts Manager
- Finance Associate
3.4 Pay Cycle
Citing New Payroll Protocol Memo v. 0.01 (Effective August, 2018)
New Payroll Protocol effective August 25, 2018.
SVA’s current payroll system works as follows:
- Ex: Payroll Cycle is July 1st – July 30th
- Payroll is run within 3 days of the 1st.
- Checks/Direct Deposits are received on or around August 5th
SVA’s new payroll system works as follows:
- Ex: Payroll Cycle is July 20th – August 20th
- Payroll is run within 3 days of the 25th
- Checks/Direct Deposits are received on or around Sept 29th
This system is being implemented to pay employees closer to the 1st of the month, when bills such as rent payments are more likely to be due, without a delay and incurring of late charges.
The new Payroll Cycle is the 20th-21st of each month, with payroll being on or around the 25th of each month. (update as of Aug 2019)
3.5 Adding New Contractors/Employees to Payroll
*Please see Section 3.1B
3.6 Terminating Contractors/Employees from ADP
Employees and/or Contractors who have ended their employment or contract with Southern Vision Alliance either voluntarily or involuntarily should be terminated from ADP, or denoted as ‘inactive’ according to their termination date. The Director of Finance, Accounts Manager, HR Manager or Finance Associate should update as required, keeping in mind that in most instances, employee or contractor may be owed (1) additional check for work completed in previous month. As a general practice, we do not keep the personal information of previous employees or contractors in our payroll system.
If an employee is offered a severance package, that employee should NOT be terminated from ADP until the conditions/duration of severance package are met.
3.7 Issuing Live Checks & Special Payroll
In specific instances, contractors or employees paid outside of our pay cycle may be issued a live check. The Co-Directors, Director of Finance, Accounts Manager, or Finance Associate should ensure that live checks are entered into ADP, with all necessary deductions for tax purposes.
In specific instances, Special Payroll may be issued during bonus periods or when significant processing issues occur to the normal payroll. This should be done at the discretion of the Co-Directors and Director of Financial Operations, with Board Approval.
4.1 Procedure for Requesting Reimbursements
Program/Operations Directors, Staff and Fiscally Sponsored Groups may request reimbursements for money paid out-of-pocket expenditures related to programs, operations or fiscally sponsored project work.
It is recommended that if Program/Operations Directors, staff or Financial Point of Contacts have been issued credit cards or PEX cards, than these should be used instead of personal cash.
The current process for requesting reimbursements is as followed:
- Keep all receipts related to expense purchases
- Request a mileage or general reimbursement tracker
- Fill out reimbursement tracker with the appropriate information in each field
- Email the reimbursement tracker directly to Finance staff with the Director of Financial Operations CC’d on the email, and/or drop off tracker with receipts attached to finance staff mailbox.
- Reimbursement will be issued within 1-2 weeks of the following month.
4.2. Mileage vs. General Reimbursements
There are two types of reimbursement requests:
Mileage: a staff person or contractor travels to a location specific to programming or project event for a period of time, to do work related to a program or project 50 miles or more outside of the office location or city center. The individual will be reimbursed at a rate of $0.50 per mile for travel to and from the location.
General: A staff person or contractor purchases materials, supplies, refreshments, meals or other expenses relevant to a program or project’s event. The individual will be reimbursed for the full cost of the expense.
Please be advised: SVA does not reimburse for alcohol, tobacco or other items defined as ‘illegal’ according to state law. SVA does not reimburse for fuel costs. SVA does not reimburse for daily work commutes.
The current reimbursement process may change as we move to using Expensify. This manual will be updated as necessary, and staff will be notified.
4.3 Required Documentation
Reimbursement Requests require a completed Reimbursements Tracker and associated receipts (either attached to email or physical tracker). No tax documents are required for reimbursements.
4.4 Turnaround Time
Reimbursements can be completed and mailed within 1-2 weeks. Please allow time for mailing. Receipt of funds could take up to 10 business days. Please be advised that reimbursements are made by check, and require the same protocol for check writing/signing. Please refer back to Section 2.3, Checks by Mail & 2.4, Delays & Approval Processes.
Reimbursements for program/project staff must first be approved by Program Directors, Financial Points of Contact, and, in some cases, a Fiscal Sponsorship’s Advisory Board. Final approval is made by the Finance Team.
Please refer back to Section 2.4, Delays & Approval Processes
A/R Accounts Receiveable
ACH Grant Funds Requests
5.1 Procedure for setting up ACH Payments
Oftentimes, funders will request a routing number and bank account information to make ACH payments to ensure security when sending grant awards. This is typical for grants of large amounts, typically $10k or more.
If a funder requests bank account information, please immediately put them in touch with the Co-Directors and the Director of Financial Operations so that payment can be processed.
5.2 Required Documentation
If there are any auxiliary documents required, or signatures needed for grant letters, please immediately forward the request to the Co-Directors, with the Director of Financial Operations and HR Manager CCd on the email. It is also standard for SVA to provide a w9 as a criterion to accepting a grant.
Many times, signed grant letters will need to be returned by mail.
Citing our Grant Compliance Memo, effective January 2019, please read the following for approval guidelines:
Protocol for Grant Applications
This protocol applies to every SVA program, member, or fiscally-sponsored project.
BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR A GRANT:
- Give as much notice as possible to the Grant Compliance Team that you plan to submit an application – at least two weeks is preferred.
- Send an email to the Grant Compliance Team with the following:
- Name of grant/foundation
- Application or link to website with the request for proposal information
- Amount you are requesting
- Name of the primary person working on the application
- Include very specific requests for any documents you need from the SVA staff. If you need financial reports, include the SVA’s Co-Directors and Director of Financial Operations in the email.
- If the grant request is for $10,000 or less, send the application/proposal to the Grant
Compliance Team after submission.
- If the grant request is for more than $10,000, submit a copy of the narrative at least 2 business days in advance of submission for review by the Grant Compliance Team, 1410 W. Chapel Hill St. Suite B, Durham, NC 27701, or to email@example.com with the Co-Directors and Finance Director CCd on the email.
SUBMITTING A GRANT APPLICATIONS:
- CC or BCC the Grant Compliance Team when you submit an application to a funder
- Forward any correspondence of acceptance or denial to the Grant Compliance Team.
- IF YOU ARE AWARDED A GRANT:
- First, congratulations!
- Second, send any grant contracts or legal agreements to the Grant Compliance Team.
- Member organizations are responsible for the narrative reporting and submission of any required reporting.
- Member organizations must submit grant reports on time, or document that an extension has been granted.
- Failure to submit grant reports on time jeopardizes the funding of others in the SVA community.
- If the grant report requires financial reports, these requests must be submitted in writing to SVA’s CFO and Co-Directors at least two weeks in advance of the report deadline.
- Send a copy of the report to the Grant Compliance Team for review a minimum of one week before the due date.
- CC or BCC the Grant Compliance Team when submitting the grant report.
- If the grant report is completed through an online form, export your answers into a document and send them to the Grant Compliance Team.
Thank you in advance for your help. Over the next few months we will send out grant opportunities and create a list of foundations that would be potential fits for SVA members.
If you have recommendations for opportunities that you would like to share or add to the list when it is sent out, please send those to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your program or project has been awarded a grant, you will be notified within 1 week. All supplementary documents and grant award letters will be filed on-site at Southern Vision Alliance’s main office. Please contact the HR Manager for questions regarding filing.
Incoming Grants by Mail
6.1 Procedure for Checking Mail
Co-Directors of Southern Vision Alliance are the only authorized parties to check mail from any of the receptacles, including our PO Box, and any alternative locations to 1410 W. Chapel Hill St.
Co-Directors are authorized to open mail, make notations on the back of envelopes, directly hand-off financial-related mail to the Director of Financial Operations, and distribute any other mail to appropriate recipients not related to the Finance Team. Financial mail includes but is not limited to bills and vendor invoices, grant checks, retirement mailing and reimbursements.
The procedure is as follows:
- Co-Director checks mail box
- Co-Director sorts mail
- Co-Director opens mail and/or makes notation on the back of the envelope
- Co-Director distributes mail to appropriate party/departments
6.2 Procedure for Depositing Checks
The Director of Financial Operations is the only authorized party allowed to deposit checks.
The procedure for depositing checks is as follows:
- The Director of Financial Operations sorts mail, following hand-off from Co-Director
- The Director of Financial Operations scans checks into Genius Scan
- The Director of Financial Operations removes pay stub from check and files in appropriate physical location
- The Director of Financial Operations stamps ‘For Deposit Only’ onto the back of the endorsement section of each check
- The Director of Financial Operations enters check information into Deposits tracker, including revenue source, amount, class, mailing address, memo and acknowledgements
- The Director of Financial Operations makes final deposit to SVA’s General Operations Bank Account
- The Director of Financial Operations gives any supportive documentation, stubs and grant letters to HR Manager or Operations staff for filing.
6.3 Procedure for Filing Grant Letters & Documentation
The HR Manager/Director will file grant letters and appropriate documentation on-site at SVA’s main office.
The HR Manager/Director and/or Supportive Operations Staff will notify program or group that they have received grant funds.