Law requires that all non-profit corporations have a treasurer. Sometimes a treasurer holds another position, such as secretary or president, in addition to her financial duties. In general, charity treasurers handle deposits and approve withdrawals from the charity's account and keep detailed records of cash flow.
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Within a board, several positions are required. Most states require a president, secretary and treasurer. The president, or chair, is required to handle the day-to-day concerns of the organisation, has the authority to sign on behalf of the group, and presides over board meetings. The secretary keeps written accounts of meetings and other files. The treasurer is responsible for all financial record-keeping. For ethical purposes, many states require the treasurer to be a separate person from the president.
Role Within Board
The treasurer is a functioning board member and corporate officer, meaning that he has an equal vote in all issues brought before the board. As a board member, the treasurer may not be compensated for their work in this function. In addition, the treasurer usually serves as the head of the finance committee and is responsible for managing the members of this group.
The charity treasurer must keep accurate records of all financial activities within the organisation. Receipts must be meticulously maintained and all deposits and withdrawals must be accounted for. A monthly report of these ins and outs must be prepared and presented at board meetings. The budget for the year is also prepared by the treasurer, as well as annual reporting. Annual reports are submitted to an auditor once yearly for review and followed by an additional year-end report to the board.
Financial Burdens and Ethics
In very large non-profit, the financial work is usually more significant than the treasurer can handle on her own. In this case, the board will hire a book-keeper to assist with the daily operations. Unlike the treasurer, the book-keeper is paid but has no voting abilities withing the organisation. Some treasurers may try to obtain a separate position as book-keeper to receive compensation for the copious hours they put in. This practice is not legal. Once he accepts money from the group for his duties, the treasurer relinquishes his ability to hold office.
Because of the heavy burden of handling cash flow, it is advised that organisations hire an auditor to look through the accounts once a year. Some small organisations who have friendly relationships think this may be unnecessary, but auditing is not just to check up on your treasurer, but to protect them from potential ethical cases against them. For example, if a receipt is missing for a service paid out in cash, the treasurer could be accused of stealing. An audit will help remove all outside suspicion and keep your treasurer clean.
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