The treasurer is responsible to the association committee for the proper management of the funds. He/she therefore has to make sure that the books are kept properly even where some other person spends the money. It is not the treasurers function to raise funds or decide on their expenditure, but only to ensure that authorised transactions are properly carried through and recorded.
For convenience, it is usual to have three or four office bearers or Committee members as authorised bank signatories. Their names are recorded in the minutes of a committee meeting. A bank mandate form is then completed, with their specimen signatures. It is normal to require that two authorised signatories one of whom should be the treasurer sign all cheques drawn on the association’s account.
The treasurer should always be present when matters of major financial importance are discussed. The treasurer will give regular financial reports at the committee meetings. The reports should be given in writing (using the annual WDC income and expenditure book) and cover the money received (from what sources), money paid out and cash on hand. All books and bank statements should be available at meetings to allow committee members to ask questions. The treasurer should advise on the availability of funds and warn of outstanding commitments and possible excess expenditure. He/she should make sure that any decisions to spend money are based on sound estimates of cost and these decisions should be recorded in the minutes.
The treasurer should have the books audited by an independent accountant. A list is available from the T.P. staff. They should be submitted to the accountant with all the required information such as bank statements, receipts, books, cheque stubs and current cheque book. The audit must be completed before the AGM. The treasurer should present the financial statement and the books at the AGM.
Receipts must be obtained for all sums of money paid out, however small the amount and cross-referenced in the income and expenditure book. If a committee member wishes to claim expenses he/she should complete an expenses claim form for the month and attached receipts. The amount should be re-funded by cheque at the committee meeting. Groups might wish to meet 10 or 15 minutes before the start of the agenda allowing the treasurer to make these payments. Each individual item of income should be recorded separately in the books and should be paid into the bank (not necessarily individually) to confirm the record. Money received in the form of cash should never be used to make a payment by should be paid into the bank intact. This is essential to make sure that receipts tally with the books and bank account when the accounts are audited. All payments should be drawn from the bank (i.e. by cheque) and entered in the books. A petty cash imprest replenished from the back account, should be used for small cash payments. No large sums of money should be kept on the premises or in someone’s house.
Bookkeeping is not difficult. It requires learning certain rules and sticking to them. It means being methodical and setting aside a fixed and regular time to enter all income and expenditure into the books, pay cheques, etc. By using the annual WDC income and expenditure book, you will record the monthly income and expenditure (pink page) and on the following page (blue) give a monthly financial report at the committee meeting.
In practice, the treasurer should be able to assess the Association’s cash requirements and see the cash float accordingly (£50 maximum). The imprest should be reimbursed on a periodic basis (every fortnight unless the imprest is short of cash). The petty cash book should be ruled off and the reimbursement should equal expenditure, since the last reimbursement, thereby restoring cash on hand to the imprest level. A cheque for cash on the group’s accounts should be drawn to reimbursement the petty cash float. The treasurer should make sure that money is not ‘borrowed’ from the imprest. However, if possible try to avoid having a petty cash and make all payments by cheque.
The income and expenditure book should be squared off on the last day of each month and reconciled to the bank statement, which are received monthly. The bank reconciliation shows which cheques the bank has cleared (i.e. cash drawn from the account), cheques outstanding (i.e. those drawn on the account but not yet presented at the bank).
It is important that bills are paid regularly – do not become a debtor. Set aside a particular time each week to pay outstanding bills and enter transactions in the income and expenditure book. If possible, this should be done prior to the monthly committee meetings.