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Accounting Manual Samples: Examples of Accounting Manual Policies & Procedures

An accounting manual outlines a company's accounting rules, policies and procedures. Here are some samples that get it right.

Introduction

When it comes to company accounting, you leave it to the experts. Alternatively, you can find accounting manual samples to help you build your accounting policies and procedure manual. Either way, you need an accounting manual sample to stay on top of your accounting. 

But there's a problem. Not so many businesses can build accounting policies and procedure manuals. Why?

Creating an accounting procedures manual is often a huge task to start or can take a lot of time to complete. So, few bother to do it.

But you can easily create your own accounting policies and procedures manual through templates.

This accounting manual samples post describes accounting policies and procedures currently in use with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and samples to start you off.

You'll understand what to include in an accounting manual and its components, and get a starter accounting manual template developed using Scribe and Scribe Pages.

What is an accounting manual?

An accounting manual is an internal handbook outlining all of a company's pertinent accounting rules, policies and procedures for its accounting staff. 

It is a technical document that can be used as a reference tool by employees, a training guide for new hires or to cross-train associates.

Sometimes, an accounting manual may include the company's annual budgeting forms for department managers to fill out, then forward to the accounting department for the annual budget.

But, an accounting manual does not comprise a company's ongoing standard operating procedures (SOPs.). Businesses develop separately from accounting manuals and revise them as ongoing procedures change. Accounting manuals are only updated annually and need the approval of an Audit or Finance Committee before Board approval.

Accounting operation manuals may offer guidance on the following.

  • An overview of the business/organization and its entities.
  • General ledger accounts and definitions.
  • Accounting policies and high-level procedures.
  • Budgeting roles and responsibilities.
  • Internal controls.
  • Asset management guidelines.
  • Financial statement processing guidelines.
  • Government accounting reporting and tax returns.
  • Assurance and risk management.

Benefits of accounting manuals & procedures samples

The benefits of having an Accounting policies manual or template include the following.

  • Ensuring compliance. The consistent application of accounting policies and procedures helps in compliance because they serve as a reference for your internal staff and leadership.
  • Reducing fraud risk. The policies, internal controls and procedures outlined in accounting policies manuals minimize financial misconduct.
  • Satisfying audit and regulatory requirements. The IRS (Form 990) and Auditors require companies to have an accounting manual.
  • Efficiency in employee onboarding and training. Having an accounting manual is a key tool in training new employees.
  • Enabling staff and Board to work seamlessly. A comprehensive accounting manual sample answers many accounting questions, so you don't waste time reinventing the wheel.

Components of accounting manuals & procedures

Accounting manuals often differ in content and size depending on organization type, size or industry. So, one company's accounting manual sample may not work for another. But, the general components and inclusions of accounting manual samples are often almost similar.

Components of an accounting manual 

An accounting manual usually contains the following components and processes.

  • Introduction. Detailed descriptions of scope and purpose.
  • Organization Overview and Responsibilities. Typical accounting department and organization structures and responsibilities. 
  • Chart of accounts. This lists all account numbers and names used in a company's general ledger. 
  • A list of core accounting processes and the interaction of the organization's accounting sub-processes.
  • A list of the organization's accounting policies.
  • The accounting resources required.
  • Listing all accounting policies (and applicable accounting procedures) together allows accounting managers and department heads to recognize alignments, inconsistencies or conflicts in the policies.

Components of an accounting procedure

Accounting procedures sections in the accounting policies and procedures manual are usually divided into the core accounting process.

  • General and Administrative such as personnel records, payroll processing, office task lists and more.
  • Cash: Cash receipts, inter-account bank transfers, cash disbursements & expense allocations, credit card policy and charges, accruals, bank account reconciliations, etc.
  • Inventory and assets such as property and equipment, bonds, stock and more.
  • Revenue to define and classify revenue types.
  • Purchasing.
  • Tax filings.
  • Budget process.
  • End-of-month and fiscal year-end close.
  • Financial reports.
  • Fiscal policy statements. 

Each section documents the procedures in detail with sub-processes that constitute these listed core accounting cycles to complete the accounting manual.

6 Examples of successful accounting manuals

 (pulled from different businesses) and why they work well. 

#1. Accounting policies & procedures sample manual for nonprofits 

This Accounting Procedures Manual Template was developed by Deborah Connors on October 12, 2011, for Nonprofit organizations. The document list different accounting policies and procedures, including:

  • Introduction and scope.
  • Responsibilities.
  • Chart of accounts and general ledger.
  • Cash receipts. 
  • Inter-account bank transfers.
  • Accruals.
  • End-of-month and fiscal year-end close.
  • Financial reports.
  • Fiscal policy statements. 
  • And more.

Once you download the template in a Word document, everything you need to fill in is marked in red. You will just insert the name of your organization and make a draft of the whole accounting manual in under 30 minutes. 

#2. Accounting procedures manual by California Department of Food & Agriculture

This 288-page document is a state-government-provided accounting procedure manual by the California Department of Food & Agriculture. It is designed to provide California's farmers with a network of fair guidance on state-mandated accounting policies and procedures. It derives guidance from different sources, such as:

  • State Administrative Manual (SAM).
  • Applicable laws and regulations.
  • Division of Fairs and Expositions (F&E) financial reporting policies and procedures.
  • Department of Food and Agriculture Audit Office.
  • F&E Fiscal Unit expertise in accounting practices.

This document has everything one needs to create a complete accounting procedures manual.

#3. Small business accounting manual template

This accounting manual template by Sample templates allows you to easily create your own accounting policies and procedures manual. It's ideal for startups and small businesses. Its format gives you information such as payroll, revenue, cash receipts, assets and liabilities, financial reports, small businesses' internal reports and administration aspects. It helps you get everything on track regarding accounting policies and procedures. You can download and use it as a template or sample for your accounting manual policies and procedures. 

#4. Bizmanualz accounting policies & procedures manual

This paid accounting policies and procedures manual sample saves you countless hours! It's written by CPAs and technical writers and reviewed by accounting professionals, making it faster to produce your company's accounting manual. It includes accounting policies and procedures for cash, revenue, purchasing, G&A, inventory and assets. You can download it as an editable Word file or any other document processing software. You can also make it part of your process documentation embedded in your knowledge base.

#5. Copedia accounting manual templates 

Copedia provides accounting templates for nonprofits, businesses, education and governments, the tools, text and templates for creating standard accounting policies and procedures. Copedia also includes key content and spreadsheets for creating accounting policies and procedures. Various Copedia template libraries, editions and software are designed for enterprises, small businesses, and organizations pursuing great corporate governance. Copedia's templates vary depending on your company size, industry and more.

#6. Make a template using Scribe & Scribe Pages

One of the key tips for streamlining your accounting and finance processes is to embrace technology.

Currently, many software solutions are designed to reduce manual processes, improve a company's DataOps, streamline accounting and encourage agile workflows.

But you have software that can do more than just help you create accounting policies and procedures. The software should help you store the software, allow team collaboration and sharing, and be easily searchable. This will allow you to scale effectively and make sure your accounting manual is tailored to your company's needs rather than just the industry.

Software that provides you with all that is Scribe and Scribe Pages.

Scribe is the best way to create, document and share step-by-step guides for any process. It captures your screen and keystrokes and automatically creates how-to guides or processes with screenshots and annotations. This includes creating accounting manuals and SOP templates.

If you're drowning in staff or customer questions, Scribe might just be your lifeline. You can train, onboard, and support clients 93 percent faster with Scribe's auto-generated step-by-step guides. 

You can make accounting Scribes (Processes) for any department or team and share with them or embed them in different accounting or company handbooks. Here's an example of How to create an invoice in Xero created using Scribe. 

You can create such an accounting process in Scribe and embed it on other documents as Scribe pages. Here's how to use Scribe Pages to embed documents.

How to build your own accounting manual using Scribe and Scribe Pages

Here are the steps detailing how Scribe works

Step 1: Install scribe chrome extension or download the desktop app

You use Scribe automatic capture. You need a Scribe Chrome extension or download and install the desktop app. As long as you have an account and sign in, Scribe automatically captures your screen

Step 2: Capture your screen

Turn on the Scribe recorder, then go through your process step by step. Scribe will start automatically capturing your screen with screenshots and annotations. Once you're done, you can turn off the recording.

Step 3: Your manual is automatically generated

Scribe automatically creates a process or how-to guide with screenshots, instructions and clicks.

Step 4: Add edits & customization

If you want to add more detail, you can edit Scribe screenshots, redact sensitive information or add annotations text and custom branding. 

Step 5: Share your process guide

You can also share the document with others to help you edit its content. This way, your accounting manual can have more content with relevant information to the organization or staff.

Scribes you've created are ready to share with anyone, anywhere.

  • Send to staff or teammates with a URL link.
  • Embed Scribe Pages in your existing tools and wiki knowledge bases.
  • Export a Scribe process as a PDF document. 
  • Copy it into a document with Markdown or HTML.

Scribe Pages 

Once you've created a process guide, you can transform them into pages. Scribe Pages allow you to organize multiple Scribes (processes) into a single document. So, if you've created different Scribe account policy manuals for different departments, you can combine them into one document as a scribe page for anyone who wants to compare or learn about them. Here's how to use Scribe Pages.

Conclusion

Accounting manuals and procedures are key to any organization, regardless of the size, type or industry. Although creating an accounting manual or procedure may seem daunting, it's worthwhile. The best way to approach it is using a process documentation tool to help you document the policies and procedures and store and share them easily. Try Scribe to create accounting manual samples and combine different accounting procedures using Scribe Pages.