Don’t let spare cash sit in your bank account! Most business chequing accounts pay 0% interest. Work with your bank, accountant, treasurer and other advisors to identify investment vehicles that offer the right mix of risk and return.
Target a minimum bank balance that works for your organization, considering rent, payroll and other overhead as well as the ebb and flow of project expenses. Think well in advance to plan around peaks and valleys.
The penny is gone – but only at the check-out counter. Cheques, credit cards, electronic transfers and other methods of payment continue are still calculated to the penny – so you must still pay the exact amount.
The penny is gone! But businesses can continue to accept them. Wondering how to deal with GST/HST at the check-out counter? Add sales tax to the price, then round to the nearest nickel. Amounts ending in .01 or .02 round down to .00. Amounts ending in .03 or .04 round up to .05.
Don’t pre-sign cheques. Although the convenience is tempting, this is an “end run” around the authorization process. Signing officers’ responsibility is to review and approve transactions.
Management should count floats and petty cash periodically, as spot-checks on accuracy.
If you sell merchandise, keep a separate float for making change – don’t use your petty cash box for this purpose. Confusion is often created when the same “pot” of money is used for both spending and receiving money.
Office petty cash is often managed as an “imprest fund” – i.e. a fixed amount. Cash plus receipts should always equal the value of the fund. For instance, if you opened your fund at $100, after your staff bought $30 of supplies, the box would contain $30 in receipts plus $70 in cash.
By Heather Young
I’ve been asked for advice on the least-expensive way to manage credit card processing.
Over the last number of years, sales by cash and cheque have dwindled, and the majority of earned revenues and individual donations are received by credit and debit cards and other forms of electronic transfer. In the past, processing fees applied only to a slice of our revenue base: now the “bite” can be significant.
On the plus side, the market is becoming more and more competitive. It’s not that long ago that we all had to have multiple bank accounts if we wanted to accept multiple payment methods, because some banks were allied with Visa and others with MasterCard. These days, numerous payment processors accept all major credit cards and funnel them to the bank of your choice
The array of payment methods continues to multiply. A quick Google search turned up the factoid that direct debit was invented only in 1984. More recently, arts organizations started wrangling the 24/7 payment universe as they put their box offices online. The next generation includes methods of accepting payments by smartphone – and the evolution will continue.
If you haven’t examined your payment processing costs (and methods) lately, maybe it’s time to shop around.
I put the question of inexpensive processing for Canadian non-profits to a number of LinkedIn groups, which provide a forum for sharing knowledge among colleagues internationally. The summary that you’re reading is therefore not the product of systematic research, but rather the contributions of a number of generous folk from Canada and the US who offered their recommendations, with a little fact-checking on my end.
I’m sure this list is far from exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point for comparison shopping. Readers will need to investigate which options are best suited to their needs.
After the penny disappears from our Canadian coinage, non-cash transactions will continue to be calculated to cents. If you’re writing a cheque or paying online, do not round to the nearest nickel: continue to pay the exact amount.