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Should staff members be involved in formulating financial policies?

Cathi Hay's Profile

We are a community-benefit non-profit organization with a governing board and 6 staff members. We are in the process of formulating new financially-driven policies (such as travel & expense reimbursement policy, credit card usage policy etc). Should other staff members (non-finance) have the opportunity to provide feedback on drafted policies or should the board/finance committee simply dictate what the policy will be?

Answers

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Yes staff can contribute or formulate financial policies (your examples) but with guidance and goals. Feedback on policies from staff (affected by the policies) is CRUCIAL. You don't want to have financial policies that are unimplementable or a pain to execute. Policies affect culture and it is for you to decide what type of culture you want....hence the types of policies you need to come up with. It will be a balancing act for sure. Also, bear in mind that policies should not be set in stone....be open to tweaking and/or repeal/replace that will work for your organization.

Lyle Newkirk
Title: CFO
Company: Corrigo Incorporated
(CFO, Corrigo Incorporated) |

Feedback, participation and buy-in are all important and great from a team perspective. But, you still have some standards including IRS rules (especially on travel reimbursement policies), internal control, GAAP, etc.
All those helpers when you are setting up a policy will be of little help if a real financial problem develops.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Why is it felt that certain team members, based on their position in the company, have nothing to offer?

That's illogical and a disservice to them, the leadership and the company.

If I want to know something about the shipping department, I ask the shipping department. If I need to know what they need in order to do their jobs, I ask them. I will also ask others, but the person who does the job may have input others can't have.

It is my job to sift through the information and made hopefully sound and correct choices.

Lawrence Caffrey
Title: Accountant / Bookkeeper
Company: SES Foam
LinkedIn Profile
(Accountant / Bookkeeper, SES Foam) |

You should ONLY involve other staff members IF you want your policies to have support and acceptance.

Chad Gardner
Title: Vice President, Finance
Company: Sage
(Vice President, Finance, Sage) |

Of course. To produce the most comprehensive and aligned policies you should be engaging those asked to enforce them who are subject to them (often all employees). People WANT to be part of building great companies and soliciting their thoughts, opinions, and experiences aides in doing so. While this input process can surface topics that may not have otherwise been considered, it should not be attempt to capture every minute possibility. Policies often require some interpretation or judgment be used. That said, and already noted, certain areas are governed by IRS rules, GAAP, or IFRS and therefore must be more firmly addressed in company policies. Those asked to produce, enforce, and maintain the policies must balance the input with governance. In the end, involvement produces a more robust policy that you should not have to keep updating every time you realize you missed considering something the business encounters in its normal operations.

Gennady Shenker
Title: President
Company: GDS Solutions
(President, GDS Solutions) |

As with most questions, a correct answer to your question is contextual, hence "it depends."

Start with the end in mind. If participation of the staff contributes in the end to your enterprise's strategy and, ultimately, the mission, then, absolutely.

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