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Scout Accounts for Individual Scouts

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Hello Travis,


Your troop returns most of its fund raising money to Scouts. That's fine, but you need to charge enough to stay afloat.


Perhaps you should plan on charging $100 dues for 2013. Perhaps $200. And there is no reason not to charge $20 or more for monthly outings.


Charge what you need to to meet your expenses and retire any deficit.


I use Quicken for our Cub Scout pack financial records. Each Scout Account shows as a separate account and liability, so our net position after Scout Account liabilities is always known.

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While a SM does need to know that the Troop's program can be financed, unit finances are not his job to oversee.


A SM's job is the Scouts, and their program.


Unit finances, and doing all of the behind the scene stuff that supports the unit's program, is the job of the Committee Chair.


Any "discussion" with the Treasurer should include the Committee Chair.


BTW - Why is the Troop paying for the Scouts summer camp? The Scouts should be paying for their own campouts (summer or otherwise). If the Scout does not have enough in his Scout account to pay for his summer camp then his parents pay the balance due.

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Each year we lean on the SM to put together a "capital spending plan" of sorts. Boils down to "how much do you need to spend on equipment". Treasurer is responsible for factoring in the costs of registration, awards, reserving camp sites, trailer registration/inspection, etc ... We also try to have a little margin for SM discretionary (camperships, boots for the unprepared, etc) ...


All that is our "general fund goal". That get's filled first (usually by our spring spaghetti dinner). Then, any remaining profit (i.e. revenue minus cost of the fundraiser) is allocated to the boy's scout accounts according to their participation. That usually boils down to a commission (usually about 1/4 the ticket price) on individual sales + a share per shift worked at the dinner. We do not calculate the value of a share until we've accounted for expenses, allocation to the general fund, and commissions.


If you've already promised the boys a percentage of popcorn sales will be allocated to their scout accounts, you're stuck for now. (That Trustworthy thing again.)


So, in your case, I would talk to the treasurer to be sure you have your numbers right. Fess up to your boys that because of deficit spending, each scout account is currently about 1/3 it's face value. Ask them if they can hold off on drawing from their scout accounts until things are square. (You bet this will make some parent's angry. So you may want to delegate the announcement to the CC. ;) )


Ask them if, on the next fundraiser, a larger slice can go to the troop general fund so that the treasurer will be able to honor everyone's individual request to draw on their accounts. Promise that in the future you will try have a more honest balance between how much troop spends collectively for its own good and how much the boys spend as individuals for the good of the troop.


Get together with your SPL and QM and go over the troop gear to see if you can "run lean" for the next year. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to have the SPL in on committee meetings to make sure you all keep that balance.

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More information: I just spoke with the treasurer. I don't think this accounts for everything, but there are numerous scout accounts that are negative. Some should be easy to collect (my boys are down about $70, I think that is because they didn't get credited for a couple of fundraisers last year, but I'm just letting it go at this point and will make them current). Others will be difficult, like one scout who quit owing $400 and another that transferred Troops owing $350. Why those were allowed to happen I have no idea. I think with the current Treasurer Scouts won't be allowed to run a big deficit in their personal accounts. I have a bad feeling that the Troop is going to end up eating at least $1,000 from boys who have quit the program. Maybe 1/2 of the rest is from Scouts like mine that don't know they are in the red, and the other 1/2 is a true spending more than we make problem.

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They have a new treasurer, "old" treasurer is now CC.



If the new treasurer has had no links to the funds in the past, I think he/she would be independent enough to be trusted with the reconciliation (not really an audit per se).


It sounds like a policy needs to be put in place on deficit spending by the scouts.


I wish you and your troop luck!

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So then what is the troops current liability for ISA's?


Google docs for this is king my friend......I used it to track for the Pack and the troop prior to our switch to troopwebhost....it does it all and includes the ISA account balance in the weekly update.




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Our troop has never run that kind of deficit. Part of the problem as described is allowing boys to run a deficit on their scout accounts. Never should have happened. Also, it appears that the troop is not taking a large enough cut of fund raisers.


In our troop the major swings are Philmont expeditions and summer camp. The troop ends up funding the initial deposits which are eventually recovered from participants. We also end up funding a portion of each boy's summer camp.



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This got put off because of holidays and illness at the Treasurer's house, but is being readdressed. We have a committee meeting this evening. That is when the Treasurer and CC are going to explain the situation to the parents. I'm sure that will go well, especially since the CC is the one who allowed this to happen when he was Treasurer.


It looks like an even bigger problem than I thought, probably $5,000 after we account for a few "negative" scout accounts from boys that have quit and who have parents whom I am guessing will not pay. On the other side, there is over $1,000 in a scout account from a boy I haven't seen in a year. I would like him to return, but I am guessing that his account will end up in the general fund eventually. We have 25 scouts, plus at least 6 Webelos crossing over (possibly more).


The sad thing is that we don't really have a bunch of new shiny equipment to show for this. I think much of this debt is due to the boys not being charged for gas when prices went up a few years ago. There were big $$ being paid in reimbursements to drivers, but that wasn't ever charged to anyone's account. There are also numerous activities that were not charged to any scouts, and others where some of the boys but not all of the boys were charged who attended some event.


I'm going to give a few of these suggestions to the Treasurer and let her take it from there. Part of my issue is that I have a hard time recruiting Webelos when I know they are going to end up eating some of this. I also am having a hard time as a parent pushing my boys to build up their accounts much, since I know there is nothing to back up the Troop's "moral debt" back to the boys. The whole situation is a big distraction from what I am supposed to be doing as SM. Through a combination of poor record keeping and wanting to be generous to some of the active boys who were going on these big trips, a well intentioned Scouter has caused a pretty big problem.

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Fix this BEFORE the Webelos cross over. It's not their issue.


Families that were members when this happened own the issue. Remember that exisiting families BENEFITTED from lower costs and reimbursed expenses. Remember that existing families could have helped the treasurer or brought up the issue or changed reimbursement policies or cared enough to know what is going on.


#1 Make a list of who owes money. Review it. Decide who you want to collect money from. Call them at least twice. Follow up. Monitor it. Track it. Decide when you will give up.


#3 Audit what happened. Can you fix book keeping mistakes?


#4 Change policies. Your troop can do what it wants, but our troop doesn't reimburse scout leaders for gas or camping ... except in extreme situations like driving more than 100 miles each direction. Our scout leaders pay their own way and often pay the same camp fee as the scouts.


#5 Consider zeroing out ALL scout accounts. Do you have enough $$$ to cover committed expenses? Recharter. Outstanding reimbrusements. Camp registrations. Etc. If NO, then you are beyond discussing scout accounts. It's not fair to new scouts to pay for the past program. Leaders made mistakes and it damaged the existing scouts. Not the new scouts.


#6 Consider increasing dues or doing a special one-time due charge?


#7 Consider crediting scout accounts as you can. If you have some $$$ to give to scout accounts, calculate a ratio representing each scout's fair share. Even something is better than nothing.


Good luck. This will be emotional as some parents are out real money.

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I have just read two very good pages of reasons NOT to utilize individual accounts. The bookkeeping is an absolute nightmare. Been there, done that, and have the battle scars under the T-Shirt! :)


We have our 2-3 fundraisers per year. Those who participate will benefit. Those who don't participate will "pony up". Period. Making out monthly statements for each boy, (a committee decision) and then having them questioned by parents (even though the statements are totally accurate) could (and usually would) take up an entire troop meeting, if not more. Guess who had to sit and explain little Johnny's account to each parent? That's right, the treasurer. (That was ME.) The hassles greatly outweigh the benefits. It turns into a liability for the troop, not to mention the CO. As COR, this is one of the things that I definitely use my veto power for, because I've had the bad experiences. It's a scout troop run by volunteers, and the books are kept by volunteers; not Ernst & Young.


We've been using this system for years, and it seems to work. The BSA has laid it all out for us. It's called the Unit Budget Plan. Try it! It works!


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It has been discussed here before that the use of "scout accounts" is probably illegal and puts the CO's tax-exempt status at risk. Fundraising in the name of a non-profit and then converting the funds to personal use? I agree with the Unit Budget plan approach. Put all the funds in one pot and everyone benefits equally. And CERTAINLY no "deficit spending"...sheesh. If participation is an issue, then that's a separate program problem.

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I'm still a hold out on whether "scout accounts" are illegal. It really depends on the "how" it's done and IRS interpretations.


What is clearly illegal per IRS documentation is holding a unit fundraiser and then portioning the $$$ to those who worked the event. Non-profit dollars must be used to serve the non-profit purpose and not targetted to benefit specific individuals. So effectively, you can use the $$ to reduce the cost for everyone, but not for those who worked the event.


Similarly requiring members to participate in a fundraiser as part of membership in the non-profit is also a no-no. It's a pay-to-participate situation. So working the event is really paying fees that the members should be paying. Those fees are income to participants. Using your non-profit status to mainly raise income for those who participate is not kosher. The money (or the majority???) must go to the non-profit.


The scout account one is a vague not 100% clear situation. A few other things are not clear are ...


- If you don't treat it as a unit fundraiser (i.e. they are not tax deductible donations).


- If 100% of the funds go to the scout or some specific percent. In another words, if the money is never owned by the unit, is it an issue. It's very similar to hiring a company to raise funds. They charge a fee and benefit.


Leave that to your tax lawyers.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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