A policies and procedures manual (also referred to as a data entry guide) specifies how an organization enters and maintains records and performs various functions related to your accounting database.

By documenting rules and guidelines for data entry, organizations can ensure the consistency of their data. Consistent data entry is crucial to the accuracy and validity of reports, summaries, and queries and helps use features of the Financial Edge more efficiently. The manual can also be used as a training guide for new employees and volunteers and as a resource for handling infrequent tasks.

Here are some tips for manuals:

  • Start with the basics: When should data be recorded? What fields must contain data? What post dates should be used? What transaction types, if any, should not be posted. Getting started can be as simple as asking each member of your staff to document their normal duties.
  • Include administrative information, such as the security policy and backup procedure.
  • Involve everyone in the process; divide the manual into sections and review it together.
  • Include a section on subsidiary ledgers with any policies unique to that ledger (such as a Fixed Asset inventory policy), and policies and procedures for reconciling to the General Ledger.
  • Include a reports section, listing your weekly, monthly, and annual reports and their parameters.
  • Include information on preparing for the annual audit.
  • Add it to the intranet or network and save a shortcut to it on every desktop.
  • Remember to update your manual when a new situation arises; make it a living document.

Organizations should also create a records retention policy to ensure that their financial records are available in accordance with state and federal laws.