On this page
- Review controls in your business
- Update key policies and procedures
- Review supplier contracts
Review controls in your business
Good controls will protect both the monetary and non-monetary aspects of your business.
How to do it
- make a list of all of the areas of your business where you think have potential risk. Remember to consider all aspects such as fraudulent activity and physical assets, e.g. cash
- review how each of your potential risk areas are protected by policies, procedures, physical security etc.
- identify those which need improved controls.
When considering risk and controls keep in mind that:
- nearly every area of your business should have some control elements in place
- small business is often at risk of employee fraud. Good controls minimise risk
- non-monetary items within your business such as IP and brand names with patents and trademarks also need protection
- controls must be reviewed regularly to be effective.
Update key policies and procedures
Well-documented policies and procedures contribute to greater control and transparency, higher productivity, increased customer service, and increased profitability and cash flow.
How to do it
- identify the key operational areas in your business
- use a one page template to document each policy or use the Financial policies and procedures manual template
- document a procedure to match each policy
- ensure all staff are aware of each policy and procedure so that it is actually implemented.
When documenting policies and procedures remember that:
- policies are clear, simple statements about how your business acts. They are guiding principles to help with decision making
- procedures describe how each policy will be put into action. Each procedure should include who does what, the steps that need to be followed and which forms or documents to use. Procedures can be forms, checklists, instructions or flowcharts
- staff can often provide helpful suggestions of key policies and procedures that need to be documented and you could also ask staff to do the documentation - if they are involved in creating procedures, they are more likely to follow them
- key areas of risk and compliance in your business are also a good place to look for ideas about what needs to be documented
- it’s helpful to ask staff members to review procedures to ensure all steps are covered.
Review supplier contracts
Review your supplier contracts to ensure you are getting the most from the relationship
How to do it
- make a list of what is important to your business from your supplier e.g. timely delivery, quality product, good price etc. Use our Checklist for finding and choosing suppliers to help you
- check each supplier against the list made to rank the importance and service of each supplier
- discuss any issues identified with your suppliers to seek improvements in line with your priorities
- research other potential suppliers that can match the criteria set out in your list and approach them for discussion on supply.
- meet with any suppliers whose prices are increasing. There may be an alternative solution
- keep all supplier contracts and agreements up-to-date and filed together to make the review easier
- have a back-up supplier for critical products or services to your business
- find out information about your industry trends from your suppliers. They may supply your competitors and have information that you can use.
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