First, refer to the finance systems and forms the CP provided.
If there are no established systems or you cannot access them, refer to the Finance section of this manual.
But however you get your forms and processes, keep these important things in mind:
- Quickly establish how you will get additional cash to the field location.
Don’t wait till you’ve run out of cash to figure out how you’re going to get more. Start thinking about this even before you arrive on site. If there are no banks, or if getting a bank account set up will take a while, you will need some other way of getting cash to the location. Avoid having people carry it. Check with other NGOs to find out how they are getting cash. Look into non-bank cash transfer services like:
- Mobile phone cash transfers through mobile phone service providers.
- Cash transfer services through other public offices like the Post Office.
- Hawala systems
- Private security firms that will carry cash for you (This is usually a very expensive option. Also, this method will be a security problem if the company has to drive up to your office in an armored vehicle to deliver it. But still, it is worth checking out.)
- Get away from running the office on individual Travel and Short Term Operational Advances as soon as possible.
There are two ways to do this, and you may have to use both of them. Both of these actions will require significant involvement of the main office finance department. Talk with them about this even before you leave for the field. If you weren’t able to do that, talk with them now, today.
- Set up a bank account. This should be one of the first things you do when you get to town, if you haven’t set up something from the main office already. Order three months’ worth of checks to start out.
- If there are no bank accounts, or while you’re waiting for the bank account, ask the main office to set up an Operating Cash On Hand (OCH) account. Details of how to manage an OCH account are in the Finance In Emergencies Handbook found in this resource. Again, this is something you should try to arrange with the main finance department before you get to the field.
- Establish someone other than the team leader as the OCH (cash) custodian.
You will need someone to keep up with the financial records on a daily basis. However, if at all possible, this should not be the Team Lead. Assign someone else. The Team Lead should not be tied down logging transactions into the spreadsheet.
Instructions on the OCH Custodian’s responsibilities are in the finance section of this manual.