Accounting Procedures Manual Template

Has "Create an Accounting Procedures Manual" been on your To Do list for several months now? For several years? You aren't alone. We often stumble on this task for two, curiously contradictory reasons:

  • Creating an Accounting Procedures Manual seems like too huge a task to get started on.
  • An Accounting Procedures Manual is one of those things that takes a year and an hour to do.

So here's a template. Download the Word document, and everything you need to fill is in in red. So you can probably do a draft of the whole thing in 30 minutes.

Our thanks to Deborah Cooper of the California Association of Nonprofits, along with Meredeth Clark (also from CAN) and Steve Zimmerman, C.P.A., for this template.

Click here to download the Accounting Procedures Manual Template in Word.

Deborah Connors is the Chief Financial Officer of the California Association of Nonprofits and its for-profit subsidiary, CAN Insurance Services, and has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past 26 years. Her personal dream on the topic of accounting manuals is to create a "manual to account for" her teenage nephews’ thought processes.

See also in Blue Avocado:

Nonprofit Accounting Manual Document94 KB
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Dear Ms Conners, This is a wonderful and timely gift. I am in the early stages of establishing a non-profit corporation, and we don't have the funds to craft appropriate policies and procedures. I have been looking for an accounting manual, without success until now. Thanks. Lloyd Gardner

This template is very helpful for us at Communities that Can! Institute. Many thanks, Janet Keller

Anyone have such a template for a no-staff organization? If so, please send to

Not exactly the same, but might be helpful: Blue Avocado's article on "Eight Responsibilities of the Treasurer in an All-Volunteer Organization:

Good luck! Jan

Ms. Connors, My question is concerning an extremely small organization with no employees. I have suggested that the Treasurer not be the same person that collects funds for our small fundraisers. That way the Treasurer can verify the funds collected by another assigned individual. The assigned individual position would rotate as the fundraiser coordinator rotates. Others feel the Treasurer should be the only one to handle all the money at all times. All opinions would be appreciated. Thank You, Margaret Andrews

Margaret, Even in small organizations with few or no employees, it’s important to have at least 1 other person involved in financial transactions – whether it’s another board member or a volunteer. It’s never a good idea to have only 1 person overseeing all transactions involving money. Even in very small organizations, it’s important to have written policies about how money is handled and then to make sure they are followed. I hope this helps, Deborah

Thank you so much. This will help us greatly.

In more formal usage, revenue is a calculation or estimation of periodic income based on a particular standard accounting practice or the rules established by a government or government agency. Two common accounting methods, cash basis accounting and accrual basis accounting, do not use the same process for measuring revenue. Thanks.
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Your generosity has saved us so much stress in starting up our non-profit!!! Thank you!!

This is the best thanks so much!! Been trying to find a good template to help local non profit orgs. Sarah Chau Director of Finance Cultural Council Jacksonville, FL

Thank you for the use of the manual, very helpful and much appreciated.

Thank you - this has saved me a lot of time to develop the framework.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This tool has just made my year! Thank you for sharing!

Thanks you!!!! God bless you. We're already doing this but appreciate having it template form. A Ayris

Our non-profit is reviewing is policies and procedures and it will be good to have a source to refer to.

Going through this template is illuminating for me. For many years I have worked in nonprofits with the title of accountant or bookkeeper. Recently I have found it very difficult to get a new job. Now I see that, for at least some organizations, bookkeeper is actually an incredibly lowly position that isn't trusted to make any decisions or take any initiative (what I would call a clerk), and that for the past 15 years I've been performing as an Operations Manager without having the title or pay. No wonder employers have been passing me by.

Great job! It couldn't have been more helpful.

Thank you so much this article and template is very helpful as we are implementing policies and procedures!

This is brilliant thank you.

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