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Segregation of duties

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This is a basic building block of internal control, implicit in everything, but a term often used without context or explanation.

The idea is that the more people that are involved in processing transactions, the less likely it is that a problem will occur.

If one person deals end-to-end with a transaction, for example the purchase of a desk - from making the initial request, through acknowledging delivery, to recording it in the books - there is more potential for error and also possibly exposure to fraud. 

This sounds obvious, but in a small organisation you may find it difficult to achieve, and let things slip because you have one key individual who deals with everything.  In this situation you need to take a risk-based approach when you design your financial processes and identify what leaves you most exposed, then design actions to compensate - the most common being dual signatories on payments. 

The policy is to remind people of the principle when they are designing processes.

Last reviewed: 30 May 2017

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 30 May 2017

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