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Troop Bank Accounts

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I've mentioned in another thread that I have asked to take the vacant Treasurer job on our troop committee.

We are chartered by a church

 

How many units do not have their own bank accounts, but instead process financials through the church's book keepers?

 

Long story, but the short version is that the CC wants to switch banks before I take over...

 

We found out that the bank requires a letter from the pastor, authorizing use of the church's tax ID #

When requested, the church office staff of course thought that we should be using BSA's number.  I had to explain to them that this isn't how it works, that we are owned by the parish, and have been using their info for years, that we are not trying to establish some new budget but instead just a transfer and continuation of the way it is, and so on...

I have outlined how the charter is structured, committees, and so on.  And I explained that every unit is set up this way.

 

They seem to be under the impression that we shouldn't have our own account, and that everything should work through their office

 

So we're in a holding pattern until I can get the COR involved.  & I just hope taht he will be able to sort it out.

 

In the meantime, i just got to wondering if any units that you all know of are set up that way.

 

In our case, it would be a royal nightmare and very well could end the troop!  That's how easy they are to work with....

 

Secondary question:  Do any of you know of any documents I could use to help sort this out?

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The CO is the ultimate authority, they hold the charter agreement with the BSA.  It's their baby to raise as they see fit.  If they want all the money to flow through the church financials?  No problem.  Just put the parish's treasurer on your troop committee.  That will take all the hassle out of the troop's hands.  You won't need a bank account, the church already has one and the church's books are audited on a regular basis, probably more often than the average BSA unit.

 

As far as a death knell for the troop, I wouldn't worry about it.  Church youth groups have been working just fine with churches all around the country and not having any problems whatsoever with their finances.

 

It would be my guess that after a year of the work load necessary to run the troop's finances, the parish treasurer would dearly love to turn it back over to the troop.

 

Stop and think about if for just a second.

 

Church has financial problems.... their non-profit status is questioned and is in jeopardy.... serious outside auditors come in and look at the books, and lo and behold, there are two banks being used, what's with that?, where are those books? and why aren't they annually audited along with the rest of the finances?.... oh, by the way, what's with this ISA accounts?  And the parish treasurer stands there like a deer in the headlights with no answers for them.

 

As one who has stood on both sides of the fence on this one, I can assure you that the more the church takes over, the safer you're gonna be.  You're not gonna want to be around as treasurer if the $ hits the fan.  I for one would NEVER take the job of treasurer for any BSA unit for these reasons.  Too many troops think the money is THEIRS!  Sorry to pop your bubble, but that's simply not the case.

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I've operated a youth group and formerly-very-independent committee under this sort of thing. It actually works smoothly. Drop receipts off with an expense report, pick up a check. Drop deposits off, pick up an income report. Auditing is not your problem. Just sync up with the church treasurer every whip-stitch to be sure last year's surplus is carried over into the next budget year.

 

But, it does add demand on the institution. So, the COR, IH, and Treasurer just need to understand the volume of additional transactions they're asking to manage directly. When they hear that, they might be proud to help you bear that load, or they might rush you to the bank to get you your checkbook!

  • Upvote 1

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One solution you could suggest would be that a copy of the monthly bank statement be sent to the church treasurer - that way you would still be responsible for operating the account but they would have something for the a possible audit trail.  As long as each check requires two signatures, most auditors aren't worried about how many accounts a church has under their tax id number, just that the church has records for all the accounts.

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Having worked in a tax department of a large corporation, they are audited by hundreds of government entities a year.  Having a bank statement is not a paper audit.  They want to see individual transaction details.  You took in $ XX.XX and spent it how?  Ever wonder why businesses expect people to turn in their receipts?  Not just to cut a check on the total, but to verify what was bought in case of an audit.

 

And by the way, the government entities can go back 7 years and make your life miserable if they find a discrepancy in a current audit.  That's when the fun begins.

 

Let's just say that the tax department's xerox machine was the most used machine of any department.  :)

 

Oh, in case of a for-profit business, the audit assessment is usually measured in $$$ fines and penalties if there's something amiss.  With a not-for-profit, it means loosing your exemption and that means all that popcorn money you take in now become income taxable as well as sales taxable.    You don't want to be messing with auditors.  :)

Edited by Stosh

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As a tax attorney and having a wife who is our unit's treasurer, I understand Stosh's concerns.  

 

That being said, as long as you have the proper proceedures in place and follow those proceedures you don't have any personal risk.

 

Suggested proceedures:

 

1.  No receipt, no reimbursement.

2.  Keep track of all dues or outing payments and when they are deposited.  For example, if someone pays $100 in cash for their annual dues, mark that down and record when it is deposited in the account.  

3.  Don't keep petty cash.  All cash in goes to the bank all reimbursements are by check.

4.  Maintain a list of who paid.  Have a roster and check off who paid dues.  Have a roster for an outing and check off who paid for the outing.

5.  Get popcorn money when order is placed (don't sell on credit) and definately before popcorn is given to scout.

6.  Pay as many expenses by Troop check as possible -- camping fees, summer camp programs, etc.

7.  Ordinary expenses are reimbursed without SM or CC approval.  This would be food for campouts, supplies, awards, etc.

8.  Extraordinary expenses are only paid with SM or CC approval.  This would be troop gear and other large items.

9.  SM expense reimbursements are approved by CC

10.  ASM expense reimbursement are approved by SM or CC

11.  You husband's expenses as an ASM are approved by both SM and CC (clearly avoiding conflict of interest).

12.  Any checks issued to you are signed by someone else.

13.  Keep backup for every transaction in a binder.  If you don't have the paperwork, you don't write a check.

14.  Operate scout accounts in accordance with BSA guidelines.  There is another thread on this elsewhere.

Edited by Hedgehog
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Our troop has its own bank account (using the church's tax id #). As far as I know, the church has never asked to see anything, and nobody has ever done an audit.

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How many units do not have their own bank accounts, but instead process financials through the church's book keepers?

 

All LDS Scout units run their financials through the church's system.  

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ok, so far the only units that run it through the CO are the LDS ones....

Well that's a lot more than I had thought I guess, but it seems like for most of us here anyway, it's a troop account and troop managed.

 

Re the side note responses re. concerns and so forth....

Yeah, I totally get all of that.  Not popping my bubble about the whole ownership thing.  I've known that a long time.

Also, I'm like you @@Stosh..... I always stayed as far away from treasurer as I could get during my time with the pack.  Decided to do it after asked this time, because that was the hole they needed me to fill... & I figured I'll do everything reasonably possible to be transparent and above board.....

 

I'm not concerned really.  If the parish wants to take it, great.  It'll free me to help in some other way..... but I still contend it will be a nightmare. With as much as the CO helps and supports us, they are also at the same time a pain to work with.  I like your idea stosh, about just putting the parish bookkeeper on the committee....

but I'd imagine it might go something like this....

bet they would never attend meetings and barely be involved.... so expense reports submitted to them at at the office.  They are only available during their limited office hours for questions.  They might even try to demand that we have our committee meetings during office hours.  Oh, and most every expense line item would get nit-picked, only because they don't understand the program, the process, the terminology, etc....

 

Anyway, Have been doing quite a lot of reading... in another thread here, and several other sources.  One document I printed from meritbadge.org was very good I thought, with some cya ideas....reads much like your post @@Hedgehog but goes even more in depth on each bullet.  You make a few additional points that are really great too.  Thanks for that.

 

But back to my original question, i'm still interested if anyone else pops in on the thread, knowing anyone (other than LDS I guess) that doesn't manage their own unit finances.  I'm really just curious form the stand point of knowing what is "common practice"

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