Simple Treasurers Guide Part 1
Treasurers are usually unpaid volunteers (if you are one of these, welcome to the club!). Your job can range from the ridiculously easy to the incredibly complex. However, if you have just volunteered to be a treasurer for your local club/society/charity, help is at hand.
First off, it can be a pleasure (really!) provided you can get along with your colleagues. Suppose your distant cousin happens to be secretary of your society and informs you via an email that a cheque was used to purchase some equipment. Here are the steps you will need to make in order to write up the transaction in your account book:
1. Reply to your cousin asking how much the cheque was for.
2. Write again asking who the cheque was paid to (so you can find out yourself how much it was for).
3. Write again asking for the cheque book to be forwarded to you.
4. Telephone your bank to cancel the cheque book and explain that the secretary has lost it.
5. Wait for the bank statement to arrive so you can find out how much the cheque was for.
6. Write to your bank and ask them for a photocopy of the cheque.
7. Write a letter to the recipient of the cheque asking if they could supply a duplicate receipt (because the original was lost along with the cheque book).
8. Hand in your resignation!
Alternatively, you can go along to your first committee meeting and lay down some ground rules:
1. All (large) purchases must be agreed by the committee (the committee to agree on what constitutes ‘large’).
2. It is the purchaser’s responsibility to get a receipt – no matter how small the amount (no receipt – no payment).
3. Cheques must be signed by (at least) two committee members.
Getting agreement to the above will make your job a lot less stressful.
Although the whole committee is collectively responsible for the finances, it is the treasurers job to ensure that everything of a financial nature is accounted for.
This section outlines the things you should do to ensure your job as a treasurer is made as easy and trouble free as possible.
It is important that you set aside a certain amount of time on a regular basis to keep the accounts up to date rather than throw everything in a shoe box and do it every quarter. The reasons are simple:
- easier to pickup where you left off last time
- easier to produce answers to your committee should they ask
- helps to keep track of the bank account and the current balance
- less time required overall
The amount of time you will need to spend depends on a lot of factors, but the two most obvious ones are:
- how well you understand accounting
- how many transactions you process
If you use a good accounting program it will certainly speed things up. Even if you only have a few transactions a week it will still save time – your end of year reports will be ready at the click of a button.
An understanding of double-entry accounting is useful (but not necessarily a requirement). If you do possess the ‘knowledge’, it will help if you need to present the accounts to an accountant.
Book-keeping is no different whether it is for a business or as a treasurer: your job is to record the flow of money into and out of the organisation. The labels you use to summarise these flows may be different, but the concept is the same.