Effective financial management is a key factor in maintaining the stability of your organisation. As a trustee it’s a vital governance responsibility to ensure safe stewardship of your organisation’s money.
One practical step you can take is to review whether you have the right bank account for your money.
Why not take a look at our newly updated charity bank account comparison table and see if you’re with the right bank? It doesn’t just feature the high street banks. There’s also some smaller banks which specialise in running accounts for community groups and charities.
Whilst some might not be household names, they’re still worth looking at. They generally have an arrangement which allows you to manage your account at a high street bank, even though your account is actually with a different bank.
Many of the high street banks and building societies offer special accounts for charities and not-for-profit organisations, and most offer free banking as long as your account is in credit. But it’s important not to not just necessarily go with the bank that you bank with personally.
You need to choose an account which offers the services your organisation needs. Find out about charges and processes, eg how do you change a signatory? Check if the account requires a high minimum deposit which may be of no use to very small organisations.
It’s important to consider whether your bank account offers online dual authorisation. Whilst we all know it’s vital to have two signatories for cheques and withdrawals, this safeguard also needs to cover internet banking as well.
To protect against fraud, any internet or card payments should be approved by two people for additional security and fraud prevention.
And what about ethical banking?
Should your banking policy reflect your charitable objectives?
Should you consider your bank’s social and environmental stance?
Determining ethics can be difficult as it can be subjective, but it is something to consider. A good place to start can be to look at your mission and then try to ensure your bank’s practices do not run contrary to that.
Recent research using the Charity Financials data tool found that three-quarters of the UK’s 5,000 largest charities are with one of the big four banks or their subsidiaries. Organisations, just like individuals, usually stay with the bank they’ve always been with, for fear of extra work and hassle, or a dread that something will go wrong if they switch.
But don’t be complacent and stick with the bank you’re with if it’s not coming up with the goods. Small charities with an income of less than £1m can use the free Current Account Switch Service This makes switching from one bank to another simpler, reliable and hassle-free.