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SeattlePioneer

Unit Treasurer

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<< I have written bylaws for non-Scouting local organizations that DID need them. But it's an advantage I don't want and don't need, when dealing with my fellow Scouters. The "book" as provided by the BSA is not perfect, it does not have all the answers to every single question that might arise on the local level, but when applied with common sense and a shared objective, it is good enough that you don't need bylaws. The ONLY exception I could understand would be in the financial area, but my troop has never had bylaws even for that, and we seem to get along okay. >>

 

 

 

Let's start a discussion of what accounting policies Troops and Packs ought to have, and why they ought to have them.

 

 

You don;t want policies that are complex or burdensome for volunteers to administer, but you do want policies that allow unit leaders to review what is going on with the money routinely and easily, and to have a reasonable trail of accounting transactions so that money can be tracked coming into the unit and when it goes out from the unit.

 

That's my basic theory, anyway.

 

How would you do that or how would you change the objectives just listed?

 

What kind of good and bad examples have you seen in Scout units or other small organizations?

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If there are rules and regulations concerning the finances of a unit it should be dictated by the CO, after all it's their money!

 

Stosh

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Fiscal Policies and Procedures for BSA Units FAQ is a good start:

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/mission/pdf/Fiscal_Policies_Procedures_BSA_Units.pdf

 

Alot of practical, common sense information "Treasurer - Good Practices"

http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Treasurer_-_Good_Practices

 

IMO, the critical measures:

1. As with all leader positions, GET THE RIGHT PERSON - SOMEONE WHO WILL FOLLOW THE ABOVE COMMON SENSE (and IRS) POLICIES. No corporate control freaks please..And if a prima donna will not follow the policies, replace that person with the RIGHT Person.

2. Dual signatures for all checks and other account withdrawals.

3. The WHOLE Unit Committee is responsible for financial oversight so the Treasurer must bring the latest real bank statements and the unit check ledger/book to Committee meeting. No transcriptions to a spreadsheet. Real balances and transaction histories should be reviewed.

4. THRIFTY - look at all expenditures. Are you re-registering dead wood adults at recharter?

 

I have recommended the following for every non-profit that I am involved

1. Treasurer should be a 1 year term position with a new RIGHT person each year.

2. At least 3 authorized signatories with two of those 3 required for every check or cash withdrawal.

3. Temporary cash withdrawals should have exact amount matching deposits. So say the troop needed $200 cash for change at Popcorn Show-n-Sells. Two signatories withdraw $200 cash for popcorn sale. Unit takes in $427 that day. There should be two deposits of $200 and $227 and not one deposit of $427. This makes auditing easier.

4. Periodic account reconcilation (audits).

 

Don't assume TRUSTWORTHY where money is involved, rather Trust, but Verify. Yep been burned more than once. :mad:

 

My accounted $0.02

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<<2. Dual signatures for all checks and other account withdrawals.

3. The WHOLE Unit Committee is responsible for financial oversight so the Treasurer must bring the latest real bank statements and the unit check ledger/book to Committee meeting. No transcriptions to a spreadsheet. Real balances and transaction histories should be reviewed.>>

 

 

 

I don't agree with these.

 

Dual signatures is a burdensome requirement and is easily circumvented if a treasurer wants to do so.

 

My preference is to provide the Committee Chair with the checking account statement each month for his review, which includes the images of all checks processed.

 

The CC is welcome to raise any issue he wishes with the Treasurer or the Committee.

 

Trying to hash out everything a Treasurer does at each Committee meeting is a waste of time and energy and an invitation to a sloppy and incomplete job. Far better to have one person (the CC) responsible for reviewing what the Treasurer does, in my view.

 

<<1. Treasurer should be a 1 year term position with a new RIGHT person each year.>> I have been the unit treasurer for three years now, and plan to continue indefinitely.

 

It takes a year or so of experience just to understand how spending a revenues work. Much better to have someone who develops some experience than someone whop is perpetually new to the financial issues, and tough to find a new good person each year to do the task, in my experience.

 

<<4. Periodic account reconcilation (audits).

>>

 

 

The CC gets the checking account statements each month and can schedule whatever additional inquiry he likes as often as he may like.

 

 

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Transparency. Talk about the money at each and every Unit Committee meeting. Have a checking account statement ready and a "spreadsheet" of the expenditures and income along with it. The treasurer should NOT be allowed to go any length of time with out such presentations. The bank signature cards should be include two signatures. The CO should be included in this. Ask the bank to send out TWO statements, one to the treasurer, one to the CO's treasurer and/or the Unit Leader/CCh.

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Haven't found dual signatures burdensome as checks are signed either at troop meetings or Committee meetings. The Treasurer (TC) cannot make any payments not expressly approved by TC so after a vote at Troop Committee meeting (TCM) is a good time to dual sign checks. You do need a bank that can diligently handle dual signature checks.

 

We units are thankfully not like Council :D, any troop adult can raise an issue with Treasurer, see the troop budget and bank statements. The whole Troop Committee has the opportunity to look at the current bank statement at each TCM, not just the CC.

 

Unit Treasurer responsibilities are similar to handling a home checking account - deposits, withdrawals, record keeping. Just say no to add-on responsibilities that are not part of the job, e.g., FOS, bill collecting, scout accounts are now gone (IRS). If 1 year term is too short, how about 2 years then? I have seen too many problems with Treasurers and Committees who consider the position a lifetime appointment. "I've been doing this for x years and no one has ever asked/questioned/..."

 

Another $0.02

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Dual signatures but NOT husband and wife.

 

Detailed Treasurer report (statements) at every Unit Committee meeting. (Quicken works well for this)

 

Limit to expenditures that can be approved by the Treasurer without the vote of the whole committee (registered Scouters, NOT parents) and/or COR.

 

Expenditures to be supported with receipts or invoices.

 

Audit of records annually or whenever the position changes to a new person.

 

(just thinking out loud here)

 

 

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<<~~Haven't found dual signatures burdensome as checks are signed either at troop meetings or Committee meetings. The Treasurer (TC) cannot make any payments not expressly approved by TC so after a vote at Troop Committee meeting (TCM) is a good time to dual sign checks. You do need a bank that can diligently handle dual signature checks.

>>

 

 

Doing accounting at a Committee meeting IS distracting. Just since our Committee meeting a couple of weeks ago, I've written a $500 check for rechartering and a $900 to pay money to the council for popcorn sales made on a "Square" card so we could take credit cards for popcorn sales.

 

Also received cash for a district bowling tournament which I deposited and wrote a check to the council for that bowling tournament entry plus two youth BSA membership fees.

 

I provide a year to date statement of revenues and expenses (Quicken) quarterly, and a balance available to spend at each committee meeting. No one has expressed interest in looking at the accounts in more detail --- not even the Committee Chair.

 

I point out that the Pack Committee can appoint a new Treasurer whenever they might wish by a majority vote on a resolution, (needed for the bank to act).

 

The only spending decision I haven't liked was the Cubmaster's desire to spend $200 for a pack flag. I didn't like spending that amount of money for that kind of frippery, and favored having the Scouts make a pack flag, which I thought would be more interesting and a better expression of Cub Scout program and values. But the Committee supported the CM's request --- so he got what he wanted.

 

 

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Everyone emphasizes controls over EXPENDITURES. That tends to be easier to document than receipts, especially cash receipts, in my experience.

 

I maintain a receipt book and my aim is to provide a receipt for each payment I receive. However, that can be difficult at pack or den activities where people thrust cash and checks at me and don't wait around for a receipt. Receiving cash in particular is slippery if a receipt isn't issued.

 

When I get home I aim to enter each payment in Quicken, detailing the receipt number and listing the date that the payment will be deposited in the bank,. That gives me a good audit trail, even though no one else seems to be interested in checking out payments received.

 

So how does your unit handle payments received, and is there an interest in checking up on those that many seem to have in checking on payments that are made?

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So how does your unit handle payments received, and is there an interest in checking up on those that many seem to have in checking on payments that are made?

 

Not entirely well, some checks would sit for months in the SM's attache case. Some parents insisted that payments be deposited after meetings, so the Treasurer got in the habit of collecting payments at Troop and Committee meetings and then an after-hours deposit at the bank. This worked for most situations but fundraising which often requires change and occurs at different times and with different adults remains problematic.:(

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If someone pays $10 cash to go on an activity, is there an audit trail that shows the payment was made, the money deposited and and activity or other account credited with the payment?

 

From talking to people, accounting for payments made to the unit, especially cash, tends to be lax.

 

If the checks don't get deposited for months ---- what happens to the cash collected?

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Mostly the only time we see cash is during fundraisers and that is documented by the sales transaction and resulting deposit. We did have a cash receipt book a long time ago. A scout paid $x for dues or campout and a receipt was generated. Maybe a practice we should bring back for the few transactions where checks are not used.

 

Or have these methods been replaced by credit cards, PayPay, Apple Pay, BitCoin? Our unit can't handle any of those methods.

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<>

 

 

 

What's the nature of the "sales transaction" if it's just a scrap of paper which will be discarded, it's not much of a record.

 

 

 

A receipt book with a copy or two of the transaction provides a record to the person making the payment, a permanent record in the receipt book itself and a receipt number that can be entered in the accounting record.

 

 

If you have a record of a $10 deposit --- which $10 payment was being deposited?

 

If you have a record of a $10 deposit for receipt #359213, you know which payment was received and actually deposited.

 

When the deposite is made, I not only enter the receipt number in the Quicken deposit record, but I note the date the deposit was made on the receipt book copy of the receipt.

 

That way from time to time, I (or anyone else) can go through the receipt book and verify that a deposit still needs to be made for a payment.

 

The receipt number can be checked in the accounting record and the deposit slip can be checked to verify that a deposit for the amount in the Quicken deposit record was actually made.

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Background:

 

We have a large troop. We maintain "scout accounts" and parents pay into the account and hold reserve funds for activities. We use TroopLedger software to move funds back and forth between scout accounts, reserve accounts and the general fund. I send families statements each month so they can see what is going on in their son's account. This takes quite a bit of time since we have a large troop.

 

Re: Financial Policies

​

We don't have a lot of written financial policies. Most policies are written after dealing with an issue. For example, fundraising funds cannot be written to an individual--they go into the troop general fund. Most of the policies are common sense practices.

 

Re: Tenure

 

As far as I know, the position is mine as long as the Committee is happy. The TroopLedger software has a steep learning curve. I dread training my replacement. I am making a "TroopLedger Tips" guidebook as I go to help out the next individual. IMHO--finding a new Treasurer each year would be a burdensome task. We have a lot of parents, but I don't think many would come forward to take this on.

 

Re: Cash deposits

 

I often get handed a large wad of cash from the fundraising chairs. I do not issue cash receipts for these. I do make separate deposits for each fundraiser and write on the deposit slip what the deposit was for. We use online banking and you can click on the deposit line item, download the deposit slip and see my handwritten note on the deposit slip. I will then email the spreadsheet to the fundraising chair to make sure we are in agreement.

 

When I receive individual cash payments, I issue a cash receipt and keep the carbon-less copy. If they do not want to wait for a receipt, I will still post the transaction in my receipt book. I will then make a separate deposit and again, write on the deposit slip the name of the individual that paid. Most folks pay with a check, so I don't have a lot of cash payments.

 

Re: Checking Account Statements

 

The Treasurer, SM and CC have online access to the checking account. Statements are not mailed. I will download the statements and save them. I also print off a statement to reconcile with and then staple all the deposit slips to it.

 

Re: Statements at a Committee Mtg

 

I bring all the receipts and statements and everything else to each Committee Mtg just in case someone wants to look at it. No one has asked to look at them yet. Agree with SP. To go over the monthly transactions would take way too much time at a meeting. I just present the bottom line. I provide a detailed spreadsheet of the troop's net worth at each meeting.

 

Re: Timely deposits

 

I like to make deposits within 1-2 days. The exception is when I get that wad of cash with two large envelopes of checks and it takes me several hours to count and re-count the stack. Usually I can get this completed by the end of the week and this only occurs twice a year. The issue I have is parents that hold fundraising checks for a couple of months and then they come back with NSF. Our bank charges us for bad checks. This has happened 3 times this year. Fortunately, 2 of them eventually made funds available and I put on my sad face and asked the bank to take care of the other charge.

 

Re: Dual Signatures

 

We don't do this. I don't know why. The CC and SM have signature cards on file with the bank. It would be easy enough for me to ask either of them to sign them at a meeting. I make sure I have a receipt for every check just in case someone wants to question/audit my work. I practice as though someone will be looking at my work at some point in time. (The CO does not participate with the unit's day-to-day operations.)

 

Re: Debit/Credit Cards

 

The SM, CC, an ASM and myself have debit/credit cards. I only use mine to make after hours ATM deposits. The others will text me a photo of the receipt matching the transaction. I will then email the photo to myself and then download the receipt into my "Receipts" folder which is organized further into months. I was leery when I found out about the debit cards, but it is quite handy for the ASM to use it on a campout to buy some last minute propane, paper towels and charcoal. There is no need to write him a reimbursement check.

 

Re: Online Account

 

I will go online and check our account 3-4 times/week. I look for fraudulent activity as well as debit card transactions. Sometimes the debit card is used and I don't get a timely receipt. Since the last 4 digits of the card show up online, I know who swiped the card and I send a gentle reminder to forward the receipt.

 

Re: Pile-o-Receipts

 

My goal is to start scanning all the receipts at the end of the year so I can get rid of the paper. Currently, I have two backup copies of my Troop XXXX Treasurer folder just in case my computer crashes. If folks want to look at an older document, it will be easy enough to attach it to an email or plug in the thumb drive at the church.

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Hey Polaris---

 

You are 18-21 years in age?

 

Wow, I'm impressed with your methods in managing a relatively complex organization!

 

You are the first unit treasurer I've encountered who does things better than I do, in my opinion!

 

Interesting about the debit cards. Our bank insisted that we have one, so I just cut it up when I received it. My opion was that debit cards add to complexity and make it more difficult to account for purchases.

 

That's true enough, but they also would make things easier for our Cubmaster. I have no qualms about him acting resposibly, aqlthough I might not get reliable reports back on purchases.

 

Probably it's a nuisance for volunteers to save receipts for expense reports if you aren't in the HABIT of saving receipts --- which I am.

 

I'd be interested in other comments about how expenses are reimbursed.

 

<

 

I often get handed a large wad of cash from the fundraising chairs. I do not issue cash receipts for these. I do make separate deposits for each fundraiser and write on the deposit slip what the deposit was for. We use online banking and you can click on the deposit line item, download the deposit slip and see my handwritten note on the deposit slip. I will then email the spreadsheet to the fundraising chair to make sure we are in agreement.>>

 

Can you describe this process in more detail?

 

 

I'm mainly concerned about losing track of money I've been paid, especially cash, and not being able to account for what I've been paid at a later time. That's why I aim to write each payment on a receipt, even if it's a sketchy one. With a receipt, you know you've bee4n paid money, and you ought to know how much and for what. And you can make later notes on it to record when the payment has been enetered into the accounting system (Quicken for me) and deposited.

 

It would be all too easy to be paid cash and not be able to account for it later. That's one of the things I'm most concerned about and most want to avoid. I do pretty good with that by using a receipt book regularly. But it can be tough when people are shoving money at you and don't give you the time to write up a receipt.

 

 

Anyway, you have my admiration and congratulations on doing a great job!

 

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