Herts Mind Network were doing brilliant work providing the community with much needed mental health support. The trouble was they had a long task-list and were struggling to keep on top of their books. Their bookkeeping was sparse and patchy and this made it difficult to account for the grants they received, or assign them to the correct accounting periods. They had unreliable financial data and could not make business decisions based on the information they had. They were on course for some major issues and, recognising this, sought the help of Myers Clark. It was our job to help untangle the finances while creating manageable processes to continue into the future.
Hitting pause on your bookkeeping, even for a week, is a slippery slope.
When Myers Clark came on board, it was clear the charity was experiencing growing collateral damage of irregular bookkeeping and little to no accounting strategy. They had outdated sets of financial figures and issues with their grants. They were unable to easily state their financial position and were not able to confidently predict what they could and could not deliver to their service users. Finally, the data they had wasn’t educating them on potential inefficiencies, including wastage. This is a fundamental component of business strategy as it highlights where an organisation can save money. With new staff joining the organisation, the charity wanted to move forward but they were beginning to feel out of control.
The charity sought the help they needed to affect positive change.
Herts Mind Network knew they had to be honest from the get-go. It’s an ideal trait for a client because we’re quickly able to gauge the scope of the work. A willingness from the client means we can ask more intuitive questions resulting in a much more effective process. The charity were also great listeners, meaning we were able to provide them with a set of improvements to initiate change quickly and effectively.
An audit gives a business new life and the ability to plan for the future.
In our experience, some of our clients can initially be fearful of audits and it’s usually because they don’t know what to expect. Although an audit predominantly consists of sample based tests to ascertain whether accounting data contained with the financial statements is true and fair, a crucial element is for the auditor to understand the key business processes and operational environment of any entity. As part of this, we look at and review your internal process and associated controls, document these, and then we make any appropriate recommendations for improvements or highlight any areas where it would be beneficial for controls to be put in place. Yes, there will be new processes that require flexibility and learning but it will ultimately allow you to function in a more efficient way by adding processes to prevent and detect inconsistencies in financial data and/or operational activities.
Until you have accurate, reliable numbers, financial decisions will always be risky. You can’t truly know if your current financial circumstances are able to support things like new staff members, decide on new investments or apply for funding. An effective audit can therefore prove to be the start of a journey to more efficient financial practices and you need not view it as another challenge.
Knowing where you need help is a strength.
With Herts Mind Network, a statutory audit was required. The initial audit was time consuming for both sides because there were periods with partial information and others filled with inaccurate data. However, their willingness to transform their accounting records meant we could work together to identify issues, provide solutions and make appropriate recommendations to improve processes. Our feedback is always constructive; we proposed system improvements as well as some new processes, such as regular reconciliation of bank accounts and ongoing review of fund positions.
Our first audit made recommendations regarding more effective use of the bookkeeping software (QuickBooks) to make the reports clearer and more informative for the client, as well as for ourselves during the audit. Thanks to the client’s willingness to see improvements and move in the right direction, we trained the charity’s team in accounting concepts, like deferred income, to ensure compliance with accounting regulations and we were able to show them how to effectively record these on the accounting software. We identified several recommendations to ensure they were compliant with the SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice), as this is necessary for entities regulated by the Charities Commission.
We realised they also needed to implement better processes around record keeping, like ensuring maintaining grant agreements and retention of correspondence with their funders. It resulted in the client being more efficient in terms of record keeping and helped them grow in confidence with the work they were doing. It also sped up and improved the process of preparing the statutory accounts, making it an efficient and less time-consuming process in the long run for both parties.
The charity would no longer feel they were “stabbing in the dark ” when it came to making decisions, because they knew what they could reasonably spend money on. Better still, because they had a total grasp of their cash-flow, they could plan for organisational improvements for the future.
Relying on the experts means you can focus on what you love doing. Worry free.
Herts Mind Network has peace of mind now, they can trust their own numbers thanks to the efficient processes implemented, and can lean on us for help when necessary (they love how quickly we get back to them on their queries). If you’re someone who has been worrying about the position of your accounting records, the quality of your audit or compliance with accounting regulations for some time, imagine how wonderful it feels to know with certainty you don’t need to worry anymore. Better still, there’s someone there to answer any questions you may have too. It’s total peace of mind because now you’re back in control. That’s the standard you can expect when you work with Myers Clark.
If this client experience hits close to home, you can start by getting in touch with us here. We know how far a business can go and it all starts with numbers you can trust and a professional relationship focused on helping you achieve your ambitions.