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How to remove Treasurer from our Committee?

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Who's going to perform an audit? If your CO is a church, school, or community group chances are your liaison is another volunteer. If they don't suspect mis-conduct already, I find it hard to believe they are going to make it a priority to find the time (or someone else who is willing) to conduct an audit.

 

This reminds me of when I joined scouts 5 years ago.... I thought BSA was ultimately in charge and took an interest in each group's well-being. I used to say things like "They ought to make sure den leaders receive better training" or "They really should.... [insert Pack failing here]." Now I laugh at that because I realize there is no "They". Just a bunch of volunteers who may or may not improve things as they pass through but are just as likely to mess things up or barely keep the status quo. By all means, strive to do better. But you'll catch more flies with honey. If you have already pushed back and raised some hackles, this might not work but your "I'm in training and just want to learn" approach is definitely the way to go. Seriously reconsider the audit approach. There is no District, Council, or BSA accounting service. There are no pro-bono accountants waiting in the wings to fight scouting corruption. 

 

Instead consider taking it slow. Start by making sure the committee nominates and seconds you as Treasurer for next year and account signer for this year. (Our bank requires a copy of the Minutes stating this before adding a new person to the account). Then ask the current Treasurer to set up a time to meet you at the bank to add you to the account so you can start learning the ropes. This HAS to happen eventually so avoid making an enemy of the current Treasurer. Being on the account will allow you to at least monitor the situation and catch a mishandling of funds. You don't have to overthrow the current treasurer just keep tabs and mitigate disaster.

 

If the key 3 refuse to do this, then you gotta' wonder if they are worried about their incompetence coming to light (or if they are really planning on making you treasurer next year). It's one thing to be lazy but another thing to hinder you from transitioning altogether. If that ends up being the case, I would take that to the CO rep (not allegations or audit demands). Just innocently say, "I don't want to be lost next year and have no tools to do my job. Please come to the committee meeting and ask them to help me put a strong transition plan in place."

 

If they do agree to nominate you and add you to the account, then you're golden. Just start putting in place the proper systems and bide your time on the other stuff. Create a Continuity Binder or Treasurer's Book. Print up a year's worth of bank statements from online and stick them in there. Start putting a copy of the Committee meeting minutes in there. Put a budget in there that lists every event. At each committee meeting ask what the most recent events actually cost and what the budget is for the events coming up in the next few months. If they push back say you just want to have good records for setting next year's budget. Don't worry about receipts just totals. Also ask for and collect fundraising data (popcorn should be in full swing, so the Popcorn Kernel should be giving updates at the meetings). You can also ask the Popcorn Kernel to login into the Trail's End website and print you up some historical data.

 

You don't need the current treasurer to get prepared for next year if you just get on your game now. If anyone thinks you are overstepping, then play the absent-minded professor.... say, "I'm gonna' be lost next year if I don't have a year's worth of bank statements, Minutes, etc." Personally, I just embrace my inner accountant and say "I'm an OCD nerd... that's just how I roll...." that's usually enough. I am surrounded by incompetence, but the worst thing to do is make them feel judged. That just puts up defenses and makes your life harder. 

 

Good luck! I do feel your pain.

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Good advice already posted above.  Wife and I are accountants with 40 years experience between us.  In the past she volunteered to be the cubs treasurer.  The previous guy had been doing it for a long time but requested to step down and became a no-show and was only communicating through occasional emails.  She finally got the "books" from him and he hadn't balanced the account in over a year.  Don't think there was anything shady going on, he just didn't want to or couldn't do it anymore.  She got the books balanced and we moved forward. 

 

I don't think an audit will do much good.  There was all kinds of unprofessional things going on with our group, not shady, just inappropriate.  The records were so poor sometimes, it was impossible to know what money was spent on.  Good or bad, the COs at our cubs and the scouts are not involved at all and would not be much help. 

 

A few tips from an accountant that you may already know.  The following suggestions will require more effort for everyone involved but will make the bank account more secure and protect you as treasurer. 

 

Two check signers on every check, with no more than four possible signers.  Guarantees that a third person knows what funds are being spent on and how much.  DO NOT make your spouse a signer if you are.  If anyone is upset that Joe spent $500 on crafts and you gave him the check, you can say you confirmed it was ok with Bob because he signed the check too.  Also unlikely but not impossible that four signers would be corrupt together.  Two signers should guarantee that the treasurer can't write themselves a check for the entire balance of the account.  Your bank would set this up.

 

Avoid collecting cash if possible and NEVER pay by cash.  Checks are proof of receipt and can be easily traced.  You can't avoid all cash but the less, the better.

 

The bank account will most likely have an online account.  This should only be used to balance and print statements.  Never use it for any type of transaction. 

 

No bank debit cards if possible.  There is no control of funds.

 

No blank checks.  There is no control of funds.  This caused a lot of controversy in our scout committee but seems like common sense to me.  Why would you give anyone the opportunity to take every penny in the account?  We are all friends at committee but I don't know their personal lives and they don't know mine, good people do bad things all the time.  It is inconvenient but we feel its necessary to protect the funds.  

 

Watch bank fees.  Its our understanding that a non-profit should not be charged bank fees.  It was a long battle with two different banks on two separate occasions but we got bank fees removed and reimbursed for overcharged fees.  Some of these fees were high because the balances in the accounts were small (ridiculous).

 

Start fresh when you are treasurer and don't overwhelm yourself trying to investigate the mess from the past.

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An annual cursory audit is done by the committee as a whole, a financial statement of spending/savings/fund raising is created and shared with the CO and any family member of a registered scout who would like to have it is provided.   Everyone in the unit knows exactly what's going on financially in the operation of the unit.

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If my treasurer insisted on half of those proposals, I'd never get anything accomplished.  No bank cards?  All camp deposits and payments are made on the internet these days.  So I'm supposed to register everyone's camp on my credit card, incur interest, and hope to get two of the signers together some day to write a check (which I'm sure isn't going to pay me back my bank fees).  Two signatures on checks?  Is that even offered as an option anymore?  This lock-down procedure may work for larger non-profits, where you expect a treasurer to remain in position for a good number of years, and serious dollars are coming in.  But for a Cub Scout Pack where I'm changing leaders every two years, and the account never creeps over $1500, it's overkill.

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Two signatures on a check is a troop policy, not the bank's. We can go online and see the signatures on the scanned check if there are any doubts and respond accordingly.

 

Our Council still accepts checks for all scout activities.

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2 signatures on all checks, and limiting the number of people who can write them is just common sense precautions.   1500 may not seem like a lot until somebody walks off with it and blames you..........you had better have some written proof that it wasn't you.

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If my treasurer insisted on half of those proposals, I'd never get anything accomplished.  No bank cards?  All camp deposits and payments are made on the internet these days.  So I'm supposed to register everyone's camp on my credit card, incur interest, and hope to get two of the signers together some day to write a check (which I'm sure isn't going to pay me back my bank fees).  Two signatures on checks?  Is that even offered as an option anymore?  This lock-down procedure may work for larger non-profits, where you expect a treasurer to remain in position for a good number of years, and serious dollars are coming in.  But for a Cub Scout Pack where I'm changing leaders every two years, and the account never creeps over $1500, it's overkill.

 

 The banking in our troop is the one thing that works efficiently in my opinion.  Everyone wants their money so the treasurer gets receipts in a timely manner and signers are treasurer, SM, ASM and CC.  We all show up at every meeting before or after because our boys are there.  Most of the time we just sit in another room during the meeting because its easier then going home.  Treasurer always has the check book with her.  Anyone turning in a receipt can be reimbursed same day or at most a week if she's not there.  Can even drop it off during the week if needed. 

 

I don't know your situation but using the example you provided, you would print the confirmation of payment by credit card and give it to the treasurer at the weekly meeting and probably have a check that night.  Even if you waited until a statement arrived for some reason, you aren't immediately charged interest (not on my cards anyway) and there would be plenty of time to get you a check.

 

We don't change treasurers every two years either.  She was treasurer when our son joined cubs until he crossed over and she became treasurer for scouts until he leaves.  New accountant took over treasurer for cubs and its up to that person if she wants to keep the policy but I believe she has.

 

We also have always had what I call "cowboys" (no offense to any real cowboys) that feel they know what's bets and do what they want without clearing it by anyone first.  A bank card would be very dangerous in their hands.  Cubmaster was telling me a story the other day about one of the den leaders wanted the boys to make a lamp as a gift.  I think it was mothers day cause this was an old story.  Anyway, the den leader went to all of these fancy craft stores to buy supplies and by the time it was done, the homemade lamp by a scout was $45 each.  Den leader didn't understand what the problem was.  Things like that will quickly bankrupt a small group.

 

You gotta do what works for you.  It might only be $1500 in the account but I know someone that ruined their life for $2k.  People get desperate and bad things happen.  ounce of prevention vs pound of cure.

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Good story on the debit cards.  Our CO shut them down after finding abuses on the bank statement two months after the Pack got them. Why DOES a Cub Pack need a large coffee, a breakfast sandwich, and two packs of Marlboros? :)

Edited by frankpalazzi

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I don't know your situation but using the example you provided, you would print the confirmation of payment by credit card and give it to the treasurer at the weekly meeting and probably have a check that night.  Even if you waited until a statement arrived for some reason, you aren't immediately charged interest (not on my cards anyway) and there would be plenty of time to get you a check.

 

 

If you are good and thrifty and pay your cards off in total every month, then this might be true.  However, if there is any balance on the card, then the interest charge starts immediately with the moment the purchase is made and remains until the moment the CC company receives the funds from the cashed check.  Higher math functions involving the natural log can be used to calculate the exact amount.

 

In our council, while they do accept checks for payment, you cannot complete online registrations without online payments, and if things fill up while waiting for that check to process - sorry.  They also don't really provide a mechanism for each parent to electronically pay for their own scout, the troop as a whole needs to make the payment at once - so that's usually on someone's card / trust / good faith.

Edited by gumbymaster

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