Managing financial accounts for parish and town councils can be a complex task, with various rules and regulations to follow, and records to track and manage. While many councils use purpose built software, such as Scribe Accounts for this task, some very small councils may choose to use spreadsheets instead..
We previously wrote a blog which hightlights the Dangers Of Using Spreadsheets For Managing Parish, Town And Community Council Finances. If you still choose to take these risks, then this blog post will provide you with some tips to ensure that you reduce the risks of human error, data protection, business continuity, security vulnerabilities, GDPR compliance, withstanding scrutinity, and creating and sharing financial reports. So where we go.
📋 Create data entry templates: Using templates can help ensure consistency and accuracy when entering data into spreadsheets. You can create templates that include formulas, formatting, and validation rules to minimise the risk of errors.
📊 Create financial reporting templates: Creating templates can help you to structure your data and present it in a clear and concise manner. Ensure that the template includes all necessary information required for regulations and compliance.
🔒 Control access: It's important to control who has access to your spreadsheets to ensure that sensitive data is protected. You can use password protection and restrict editing permissions to ensure that only authorised personnel can access and modify your spreadsheets.
💾 Backup your data: Backing up your spreadsheets regularly is crucial to ensure business continuity. You can use cloud storage services or external hard drives to store your data securely.
🔄 Use version control: Maintaining multiple versions of a spreadsheet can lead to confusion and errors. Use version control tools to track changes and ensure that everyone is working on the latest version of the spreadsheet.
👨💼 Train your team: Provide your team with training and support to ensure that they are comfortable using spreadsheets and following GDPR regulations. You can also establish guidelines for data entry and management to minimise the risk of errors and ensure GDPR compliance.
📝 Create a handover process: Consider creating a manual so that if you leave your post as Clerk, the new Clerk can fully understand your processes when you are no longer available to train them.
🛡️ Use virus protection software: Install virus protection software to help protect your spreadsheets from malware and other threats. Ensure that your virus protection software is up-to-date, and perform regular scans of your computer to detect and remove any threats.
✅ Keep software up-to-date: It's essential to keep your software up-to-date to ensure that you have the latest security patches and bug fixes. You can set up automatic updates for your operating system (Windows or Mac) and spreadsheet software to ensure that you are always running the latest version.
🔍 Use audit trail software: Consider using audit trail software to track changes made to your spreadsheet. Audit trail software can help you monitor changes made to the spreadsheet, identify potential errors or fraudulent activities, and maintain a record of all changes made to the spreadsheet.
We hope these tips will help you reduce the risks associated with using spreadsheets for managing your financial accounts. If you would rather not take on that responsibility, then we highly recommend you use purpose built software.
⚖️ Introducing Scribe Accounts
Scribe products are super easy to use, and purpose-built for parish, town and community councils. It's a cloud application accessible via a web browser on your desktop, laptop, iPad or mobile device.
Key Features Include:
✅ Transaction input and editing
✅ Bank Reconciliations
✅ VAT Returns to Making Tax Digital portal
✅ Invoicing & Purchase Orders
✅ Budgeting & Forecasting
✅ Annual Return/ Year-End
All Scribe products come with:
👩🏻🎓 Free Training
👐 Unlimited Support
🧑🏻🤝🧑🏻 Unlimited Users
👩💻 Unlimited Software upgrades
What to find out more?
☎️ 01603 856521