Standards for private organizations

2021 Edition

Financial Management Introduction


The organization's ability to achieve its mission is based on sound financial management practices that ensure efficient, data-informed use of its resources.


Sound financial management is the foundation for providing high quality services and achieving the organization’s mission. Organizational leadership must foster a culture of accountability in all areas of organizational practice, including the management of the organization's finances. Accountability is established through clearly defined lines of authority and responsibility, adherence to internal control responsibilities, and by making the strategic connection between efficient and effective use of organization resources and improved outcomes. Effective financial management ensures that resources are being directed to those programs or interventions that have the strongest impact on persons served. Additionally, the attention and commitment of the governing body to their fiduciary responsibilities are essential to ensuring that the organization's financial practices enable it to achieve operational effectiveness and efficiency, accurate and reliable financial reporting, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.



Note: COA’s Financial Management standards do not apply to for-profit organizations. For-profit organizations see COA’s Administration and Financial Management (AFM) standards.

Note: Please see the FIN Reference List for the research that informed the development of these standards.

Note: For information about changes made in the 2020 Edition, please see FIN Crosswalk.