As a board member, it is your responsibility to keep tight oversight on chapter funds — even if you aren’t the treasurer. By understanding and implementing some of the following recommendations, you can greatly decrease your exposure to misappropriation of chapter funds and other problems.

Best practices work only if you use them! Problems occur when board members simply don’t take the time to review accounts.

Income and Expense Best Practices

  • Avoid large cash balances in the operating account; initiate a reserves or investment account with a higher level of restricted access.
  • Require two signatures on all checks. Designate another officer/board member or two as online banking administrator(s) to routinely review the account(s).
  • Circumstances may dictate that only one person, the treasurer, sign the check, but having a separate online banking administrator or two is still highly recommended.
  • Require officer approval of any expenditure over $50; board approval of any expenditure over $100 (or spending levels your chapter leadership deems appropriate).
  • All expenditures must have a receipt or paper to explain what the check was for, and to whom it was paid. Staple the check stub or write the check number on all receipts.
  • Income and expenditures should remain separate in your records. If you receive $100 for a pizza party and spend $50, you received $100 and spent $50, not received a net of $50.
  • Avoid credit/debit cards; they are too easily abused.
  • If a card is necessary, check with your bank to see if you can restrict the card’s use for large expenses only. For example, more than $100 but not more than $500 or only for bills above $500.
  • If using PayPal, have the treasurer transfer funds from the chapter PayPal account to the chapter’s general checking account after each event for which the PayPal account is used. Have a separate person monitor the PayPal account.
  • If the board votes on a money matter directly affecting a board member, that board member should recuse themselves, even leave the room to allow a full and frank discussion.
  • When depositing funds in the chapter bank account, use a “For Deposit Only” rubber stamp on the back of checks. No individual should sign a check made out to the chapter.
  • One person should fill out a deposit slip. Someone else should actually make the deposit and return the receipt to the person who filled it out.

The Treasurer’s Duties

The treasurer maintains the following financial records:

  • A record of all sources of incoming funds.
  • A paper check stub for each check written, or copy of self-duplicating check.
  • A computer record (Excel or Quicken) of each check written, with a detailed breakdown of specific amounts for various purposes.
  • Electronic and printed copy of each monthly bank statement.
  • A file of receipts, each notated with the check number for payment.
  • Information needed for financial section of the annual chapter report to the state association.

The treasurer prepares and/or files these reports:

  • Monthly report to the chapter board, detailing income and expenses.
  • Financial section of annual report to the state association.
  • All monthly reports generated are to be reviewed as part of the official record and accepted in the same manner as meeting minutes.

We recommend keeping critical records in a single three-ring binder as well as on your computer. Financial records must be kept for seven (7) years.

Budgeting

  • Create a budget, using the last 5 years of expenses as a guide. Plan for the worst year.
  • Examine whether you’re on budget each quarter. Spending/fundraising over or under?
  • Monthly treasurer’s report should discuss the state of the budget. Do you need to host a fundraiser or cut back on spending?

 

*Adapted from Society of Professional Journalists