office operations

It isn’t personal. It's business.

It isn’t personal. It's business.

When a non-profit is just getting started, or perhaps, when a non-profit is a bit smaller in operations, it might not have all the tools a more established organization has put into place. From computers and printers to credit cards and accounts, it can be tricky to know whether the...


I am not the caterer

I am not the caterer

I remember the programming era pre-COVID, where workshops and gatherings rivalled a red-carpet event. Along with finding the right instructors and the best silliest prizes, we planned elaborate catering and hauled in all our own equipment. As we move to post-COVID home offices the landscape...


It will only hurt for 2 years

It will only hurt for 2 years

Posted in financial management / office operations / policy

It happens. You’re working on a grant application and the computer starts to get a little glitchy. No problem. It’s old. Probably just needs to do an update. You could use a break to stretch and wander over to the staff room to find a snack. 10 minutes later you get back to your desk and,...


Non-Profit Gift Guide

Non-Profit Gift Guide

Posted in office operations / vacation / staff team

People take jobs at non-profits, especially small and rural non-profits, knowing very clearly that they will not be paid anything close to their counterparts in the for-profit sector. Demonstrate an employee is valued. That disparity in wages is usually significant enough that it can be as...


3 steps to keep a non-profit chart of accounts simple...

3 steps to keep a non-profit chart of accounts simple...

A chart of accounts is a numbering system to organize a non-profit’s financial transactions. You can compare a chart of accounts to the Dewey Decimal System at your local library, where different groups of books have different number codes. In a non-profit, revenues have different number codes...


Employee Files: Why Privacy Matters

Employee Files: Why Privacy Matters

Posted in office operations / filing / staff team

Your non-profit likely has a privacy policy. If your non-profit has a website, you for sure have a privacy policy. The policy likely talks about how you will collect and store information about your customers, clients, and maybe stakeholders. But have you thought about a version of a privacy...


Still using the traditional petty cash box in the boss’s office? How’s that working?

Still using the traditional petty cash box in the boss’s office? How’s that working?

Petty cash is a small pool of money used for incidental expenses. Petty cash is different from a non-profit’s normal bill paying system because it is for much smaller amounts and for items that need to be purchased more occasionally. An example might include buying a couple of stamps at the...


How to Stop Non-Profit Policies from Becoming Mind-Numbingly Boring

How to Stop Non-Profit Policies from Becoming Mind-Numbingly Boring

Posted in office operations / filing / policy / board meeting

Non-profits have sooo many policies. Policies that define the work of the board. Policies that define what an executive director is and isn’t allowed to do. Policies that tell the staff team what they can and cannot do. A non-profit’s policies, from governing to operational, are the rules that...


The Challenges of Setting Up a Non-Profit Home Office

The Challenges of Setting Up a Non-Profit Home Office

Posted in office operations / risk management

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since offices were shut down and we started working from home. At the time, it seemed like a temporary move, kind of like being displaced because of a city street repair… in a couple weeks we’d be right back to normal. Not even close.   As the...


Can an employee expect privacy at work?

Can an employee expect privacy at work?

Posted in office operations / emergency / policy

Office environments have changed over the last few years. We went from working in a central office to being required to work from home during the pandemic. When it was finally allowed to go back to work in a central office, many employees continued to work from home or embraced varying...


3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

Posted in office operations / vacation / staff team

The holidays are right around the corner and taking time off from work can provide a much-needed break. Whether a non-profit closes for one week, two weeks, or a set number of days, a holiday office closure isn’t a simple weekend, with everyone back at their desks on Monday. The longer time...


Filing System Basics for Non-Profits

Filing System Basics for Non-Profits

Posted in office operations / filing

I remember a conversation I had with a colleague from another organization. She confessed she had all her hard copy files in order but didn’t really understand how to make a computer filing system. Whenever she created a document on the computer, she would print a hard copy for filing but leave...


Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Posted in office operations / executive director / staff team

Its easy to think time sheets are only for hourly employees that work a shift, no more, no less. Salaried employees often have an unwritten expectation to ‘just get the job done’ no matter how long it takes. But that’s a system that favours the employer and can quickly burn out an employee. If...


The Emergency Red Binder – Peace of Mind for HR Emergencies

The Emergency Red Binder – Peace of Mind for HR Emergencies

Posted in office operations / emergency / risk management

What is the emergency red binder? Let’s imagine you’ve just won the lottery (sigh); 60 million dollars in your name, received the very day after the board chair chewed you out over a trivial matter. Think you’ll give two months’ notice before you leave? I think we’re talking more about a text...


How to Make Non-Profit Deposits Easy and Accurate

How to Make Non-Profit Deposits Easy and Accurate

Payments and registrations are coming in and, frankly, starting to pile up. People will not be happy if their cheques are not deposited right away. A deposit is needed, and some sort of log is required. Writing up the bank deposit page is only one piece of processing accounts receivable. Each...


Learn to Process Hard Copy Mail Efficiently

Learn to Process Hard Copy Mail Efficiently

Posted in office operations

One of the surprisingly intimidating pieces of running a non-profit is the processing of the good ol' hard copy daily mail. It arrives every weekday and is filled with a combination of payments, bills, correspondence, miscellaneous, and junk. Let it go too long, and it can feel like a mountain...


5 Decisions Before Issuing Invoices so Everyone Follows the Same Procedure

5 Decisions Before Issuing Invoices so Everyone Follows the Same Procedure

Welcome back to our two-part series on invoices. There are two kinds of invoices a non-profit will encounter when handling bookkeeping. The first invoice is the one the non-profit receives and needs to pay. We talked about this last week and walked through the 4 steps to verify the purchase...


4 Steps Before Paying an Invoice to Ensure Expenses are Legit

4 Steps Before Paying an Invoice to Ensure Expenses are Legit

When a volunteer or employee is new to a non-profit, or new to the world of non-profit bookkeeping, the learning curve can be steep, and everything can feel unfamiliar. In our personal lives, its easy to know if we need to pay the plumber, because we are very likely the one who arranged for...


Cover Pages for EVERY Accounting Transaction Creates Transparency

Cover Pages for EVERY Accounting Transaction Creates Transparency

Digital or manual entry, the accounting for a non-profit will always produce a lot of paper. That paper trail will include the details for each financial transaction, be it an expense or revenue. It doesn’t matter how tidy the accounts are, if the supporting paperwork is messy, it will...


Easy Non-Profit Financial Filing System

Easy Non-Profit Financial Filing System

Posted in financial management / office operations / filing

It’s a typical non-profit office day and you are working on the accounts. Let’s imagine you’ve paid a bunch of bills, entering each one into your accounting software. Let’s also imagine you’ve opened the mail and there are a few receipts as well as a grant payment. And finally, you create a...