ABC OUTREACH* is a nonprofit organization founded to advance policies and programs that help people address significant health care issues with social implications.
Before ABC reached out to us for fiscal management help, the Finance Department had been plagued by a lack of management and policy continuity for ten years. Compounding the problem, each new Finance Director inherited a fiscal office that was woefully behind in vouchering and swimming in open, critical and unresolved issues and whose financial statement audits were late.
Bottom line: Paperwork had been piling up for years on end, and the electronic files on the server were in total disarray. Meanwhile, the most recent financial statement audit (in late 2010) included management letter comments carried forward from prior years: 1) “Financial reports and related accounting records have not been completed on a timely basis.” 2) “There should be a list of who should review which documents, especially the ED reviewing the bank rec for the operating and payroll accounts.” 3) “One invoice was missing out of five items reviewed [at random] for credit card expenditures.” 4) “Whenever someone performs services on the premises on a regular basis, there should be clear documentation in the records reflecting why that person was not classified as
Because program managers did not have ready access to needed materials, a transparent system was set up and resolved the issue.
Basically, then, when I walked into ABC as interim Finance Director, charged with restoring order to chaos, while also doing fiscal planning and attempting to locate a qualified replacement for myself, the ABC Finance Department was a shambles.
That was in the spring of 2012.
Today, thanks to the combined efforts of strong ABC in-house support and my spending many hours at a desk not my own, I can safely say that ABC is looking far better than it was:
- A mountain of physical and electronic documents is nearly completely organized, filed and accessible.
- A reporting system has been put into place to manage staff daily activity.
- A system was created for vouchering to funders.
- A detailed budget for 2013 was created, reviewed, finalized.
- An internal control review was done and improvements implemented.
- The Finance Policy & Procedure Manual was updated.
- $262,000 in (grant) reimbursable expenses was found, identified and collected.
- An out-of-New York State office was subleasing unofficially: a lease and insurance protection were implemented.
- The Washington, D.C., office hadn’t taken into account D.C. payroll regulations when it opened there. We were able to register ABC in Washington, D.C., without penalty.
- The ABC staff was not aware of the 403b savings plan (equivalent to the 401-K) available to them. Informed the staff.
- And as of this writing, the search goes on for a long-term, full-time CFO.
* The name has been changed to ensure client confidentiality.