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Archive for the ‘treasurer’ Category

Do you have what it takes to be a good fit for the role of treasurer in your organisation? Before you say “yes” or “no” to the position, look at our list of the top traits shared by successful treasurers.

Integrity

Integrity means various things to different people, but at its heart, to have integrity means that you are honest, dependable and trustworthy. It is the number one trait that treasurers, as well as the other board members, should have. When someone has integrity, it means that others can count on them to look at situations objectively, and, to do the right thing.

For nonprofits, this means that others are safe putting their trust in you to look out for the best interests of all your stakeholders, and the public at large.

Patience

Another trait that is critical for nonprofit treasurers is patience. As treasurer, you will be called on to simplify complex financial information and translate it for others that don’t have extensive backgrounds and experience with accounting and finance. Treasurers need to have their fingers on the pulse of their organisations, and to be able to answer questions and provide their input on matters that may only be tangentially connected to your NFP’s financial health.

Persistence

To fulfil their oversight role, treasurers must be ready to follow the trail of their NFPs past financial moves. They need to be able to look through the records of former treasurers and be prepared to deal with the unexpected, including changes in accounting practices that have affected the way that specific valuations are determined and accounted for. They need to be prepared to see that effective and transparent practices and policies are put into place that lowers the risk of loss for the nonprofit. Each of these tasks can be both time consuming, and, stressful over time, but a good volunteer treasurer has the determination and responsibility to stay on top of these and other tasks.

Availability

While automated bookkeeping software has simplified many of the most basic, time-consuming and monotonous accounting tasks for treasurers, there are still many duties that require the treasurer to be available. NFP meetings, preparing reports, and getting the NFP ready for independent audit can all lead to treasurers needing to be available outside of the hours of a “traditional” 9 to 5 position.

Good treasurers are available on an as-needed basis and are always ready to weigh in with their other board members to answer questions and make sure that everyone has the information that they need to make good decisions for the benefit of the nonprofit.

Comfortable Dealing with Numbers and Handling Cash

While it’s not necessary to have a specialised degree in accounting or bookkeeping, or have direct experience in the financial sector, it can definitely help. Regardless of their previous experience, a good treasurer will be comfortable with figures, as well as handling large amounts of cash. They are prepared to enter transactions, especially those that affect nonprofit monies, as soon as possible. They “play by the rule,” and are responsible and do not disburse funds without board approval and require proper documentation before making disbursements.

A good treasurer also recognises the benefits from continuing education. They are open to taking classes and attending training courses to help them strengthen the skills and knowledge basis that they need to perform their tasks and fulfil their duties well.

An Analytical Mind with an Eye for Details

A good treasurer is also someone who tends to be very practical. They can analyse problems, zero in on the fine details, and perform tasks in a very planned, methodical manner. Being able to think, plan and act logically helps them to spot discrepancies and trace them back to the source, whether the source is a simple human or computer error or a deliberate act, such as an instance of internal theft or another form of fraud.

Ability to Act Decisively and Impartially

The best treasurers are always able to separate their personal feelings about a person or proposal, from their professional, legal duties. They can thoroughly analyse the facts around a situation and make impartial decisions that are based on what is best for the nonprofit and the population it serves.

If you possess these seven traits, then you are well on your way to having what it takes to make a great volunteer treasurer. Like other forms of volunteer service, it is a great way to give back to your community and help others! If you have the time and ability to do so, you should consider serving in this capacity!

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The role of treasurer in a nonprofit is one that carries a weighty responsibility. Like any other board member, treasurers have a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interests of the public and to ensure that any funds that are received are put to use to advance that nonprofit’s mission and goals.

As the primary watchdog of an NFP’s finances, they “wear many hats” as they oversee transactions and record keeping and manage assets and cash flows. The best volunteer treasurers take steps to anticipate losses and minimise risk and keep the board and other key stakeholders informed of the nonprofit’s financial status.

Since it is a role that is filled with so much responsibility, it can be difficult to recruit good candidates for the position. If you’ve been reluctant to take on this challenge, consider some of the following advantages that serving in this capacity has to offer.

Strengthen and Diversify Your Skill Set

As a volunteer, even if you are using your existing skills, the chances are great that you will be using them in different ways to solve the unique challenges that tend to crop up in the nonprofit sector. Serving as a volunteer treasurer is a great way to put your bookkeeping and financial management skills to use building your community and brush up on your people skills as well as you cooperate and collaborate with others to advance your NFP’s mission.

Hone Those Communication Skills

Many professionals in the accounting and financial sphere can go days or weeks without speaking to a live person. As a volunteer treasurer, however, you will be the point person on your NFP’s finances.

When board members and others don’t understand a term or line item in your NFP’s financials, you will be the one that they turn to when they need help comprehending your nonprofit’s true financial state, and what the long, and short-term ramifications will be if your NFP takes a specific course of action.

Excellent communication skills is the key to being able to simplify complex financial issues so that everyone can understand what’s going on, and it’s a skill that you will be able to practice and sharpen as volunteer treasurer.

Expand Your Network

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people from all walks of life, which expands your network of connections and opens the door to new opportunities. Your next employment opportunity might just come from a tip that you receive from a contact that you make during your volunteer service!

Become a More Attractive Job Candidate

Volunteering doesn’t just help your job prospects by improving your network, the practical experience that you gain in the role will make you a more attractive recruit for headhunters seeking prospects with hands-on experience filling a role in accounting, finance and leadership.

Boost Your Confidence

Helping others provides a lift to our spirits, and increases our feelings of self-esteem, value and self-worth. When you feel good about yourself, it shows in the way that you carry yourself, and, in the energy that you bring other areas of your life.

The Purpose of Life is Not All About You

The urge to look back and reflect on our lives as we grow older is a normal, expected one. Volunteering to serve your community and give back is a great way to know that you’ve done something in your life to make a difference in the lives of others and help your community.

It’s Fun!

Serving as volunteer treasurer isn’t all about work and responsibility, it can also be a lot of fun! Many organisations offer their volunteers special recognition and invite them to attend members-only events such as awards ceremonies, galas, and other exciting celebrations and action-packed activities!

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For many, their only interaction with the treasurer of a nonprofit is listening to their report about the organisation’s finances during regular board meetings. Most of the processes and procedures that involve the treasurer are conducted out of the limelight, which is why so many people have a very limited understanding about the tasks and duties that are performed by the treasurer. It’s also the reason why most newly elected treasurers come to the job full of questions about the role that they will play in their NFP.

The following overview outlines some of the major functions and responsibilities of the volunteer treasurer.

 Management and Oversight of Finances

The treasurer is an officer of the board, and as such has the same fiduciary responsibility to ensure that public funds are spent for the public welfare, and in keeping with the nonprofit’s mission.

The treasurer is also tasked with managing and overseeing their organisation’s finances. They are responsible for recording and tracking both the monies that the nonprofit receives, as well as those that it expends. Effective management of cash flows is critical to effective financial management.

They help to establish policies and controls to protect the nonprofit’s assets and are either directly, or indirectly, involved with making and monitoring deposits, seeking board approval for the disbursement of funds, managing investments and similar activities.

Whether the treasurer is directly involved in the day to day cash transactions or has a staff that assists them with this and other duties, typically depends on the size of the nonprofit.

Creating and Managing the NFP Budget

The treasurer plays an integral part in creating the annual budget and is responsible for helping the board stay on track as it raises funds, makes expenditures and invests in capital projects. The treasurer is responsible for creating a realistic budget and using sound, reasonable judgement and accepted accounting principles and practices when making forecasts involving income, outlays, expenses, and similar items that affect the financial health and sustainability of the nonprofit.

Reporting and Adherence to Legal Requirements

Nonprofits must meet the requirements of many state, federal and regional laws when it comes to reporting, as well as the calculation and payment of taxes and other obligations. This means that the treasurer is responsible filing reporting forms in a timely manner.

The treasurer is also tasked with keeping the board well informed about the NFP’s financial status and producing and presenting formal reports that illustrate the NFP’s current financial status on a regular basis. To fulfil this role, treasurers often find themselves offering the board advice so that they can make better decisions that will advance the mission forward without weakening the NFP’s long-term financial stability.

Additional Duties and Responsibilities

The treasurer is also responsible for many other tasks that complement their main duties. For example, it is the treasurer that is tasked with preparing the nonprofit for an audit, and, helping the board to fully understand any issues or items of interest that may be raised in the auditor’s report. They should also work to keep the NFP’s accounts updated and current on a regular basis and be prepared to assist a new treasurer with assuming the position should they choose to retire or otherwise leave the role.

The position of treasurer is one that requires the person holding it to be responsible and well-organised. Since so much is dependent upon the nonprofit’s finances, the treasurer should also be honest and known for their determination and moral character.

While some duties that are performed by the treasurer are sensitive to deadlines, the actual work involved with being the treasurer need not be excessively time-consuming. A good accountancy software suite, such as Admin Bandit can help treasurers stay on track by automating and streamlining many of the data entry and recordkeeping requirements associated with the role.

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Serving as a volunteer treasurer is both demanding, and gratifying. This roundup of prior posts, offers tips on how to know if you are cut out for the position. It also offers advice on how to acquire the skills that you need to perform your duties well, along with strategies on how to keep calm and save time while fulfilling your responsibilities.

Do You Have What It Takes to Serve?

There are several myths about the skills and background that volunteer treasurers must have before they take on the position. Learn more about what it takes to perform the job well in the post, What Makes a Great Volunteer Treasurer.

Once you’ve assumed the role, you are likely to have a lot of questions about how to get started managing your nonprofit’s finances and performing your other fiduciary duties. The post, How to be the Best Treasurer You Can Be will let you know what steps you should take as you begin so that you can put your best foot forward.

Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Effectiveness and Performance

The volunteer treasurer is often a time consuming, and stressful role. Much of the work is time-sensitive meaning that there are numerous deadlines that you must make in order to keep your nonprofit on track and in compliance with numerous guidelines and regulations.

The article, Work Life Balance, for Busy Treasurers, contains several tips to help you destress and reclaim your peace as well as your ability to concentrate and perform.

The post, How to Convince My Committee to Upgrade My Software contains advice on how to demonstrate to your board the benefits of updating, and how it will increase the security and reliability of your systems and processes. Not to mention that upgrading your software to an automated system such as Admin Bandit will also help you to decrease the time, hassle and expense involved in managing your NFP finances!

Take Care of Your Volunteer Treasurer offers advice for directors, board and others on how they can make it easier for their new treasurers to perform their duties well and reduce their stress levels in the process. Of all the tips that it offers, it explains the connection between training and effectiveness, and how investing in your people and helping them develop the skills that they need to perform their tasks well will reduce the workload and pressure on everyone.

Strategies to Keep Your Motivation and Morale High

Burnout is a genuine risk for volunteer treasurers, especially if they serve in the position for several years. While some automatically assume that establishing a well-known routine decreases the stress associated with the role, it actually works in the reverse for many volunteer treasurers. Overly familiar policies and procedures become tedious and difficult to maintain day after day and year after year.

How to Stay Motivated in Your Job is a prior post that can help those that serve in the same position for a long span of time to find new meaning in honing their craft and perfecting their performance.

The article How Taking on the Role of Volunteer Treasurer Can Boost Your Career reminds us of all of the numerous benefits volunteer treasurers receive when they choose to serve their communities in this capacity.

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One of the most common assumptions that holds back many otherwise qualified individuals from volunteering for the role of treasurer is that you must be an accountant or have a strong background in finance. While experience in bookkeeping or related areas is certainly helpful, it’s not an absolute must.

The following is a list of the top qualities and characteristics needed to fulfil the role of treasurer.

Honesty and Integrity

Treasurers and other office holders in a nonprofit organisation have a fiduciary duty to look out for the best interests of the nonprofit, to ensure that the NFP operates for the public good rather than for a specific individual, and to ensure that the NFP acts according to its bylaws and other applicable guidelines and regulations. Treasurers, as well as NFP directors and board members all need to follow the highest ethical standards and should be known for their honesty and integrity.

The Ability to be Organised, and Think Critically

Some of the important duties of the treasurer include the ability to keep up-to-date records on NFP finances, analyse financial information, protect assets such as monies received, taking steps to protect the nonprofit from losses such as fraud and theft. To be able to discharge duties like these, the person that your nonprofit elects as treasurer will need to be able to think and act in an organised, methodical manner.

The treasurer also needs to be able to evaluate information with a critical, unbiased eye so that they can make decisions that are informed, balanced and based on accurate information.

The Ability to Break Down Complex Concepts and Simplify Them

As part of their role in monitoring and controlling NFP finances, the treasurer is responsible for reviewing all internal processes and methods of reporting. They need to take steps to ensure that the nonprofit complies with all tax obligations, including FBT, GST, and payroll taxes. They need to assist in preparing the budget and reviewing performance. They also advise the board on fundraising and financial strategy.

As a consequence of performing these types of duties, they need to be able to understand the complex concepts involved in these items as well as be able to simplify this information and explain it in terms that board members and others can easily understand. Making sure that the board understands the organisation’s finances and obligations is certainly one of the most important, and weighty responsibilities of a nonprofit’s treasurer.

Automated Software Can Simplify the Job

While each of these areas seems overwhelming and daunting, it’s not as complicated, and burdensome as it may sound at first. While having a background in accounting, it is not that difficult for most folks to learn the basics about how to record, analyse and monitor the transactions and other data that make up your nonprofit’s finances. Accounting Software such as Admin Bandit simplifies the process and makes it easy for even a newly elected treasurer with little previous experience to keep up with their organisation’s finances and reporting requirements.

First Steps for the Newly Elected Treasurer.

Most volunteer treasurers begin their service by being appointed at their nonprofit’s annual meeting. If you have just landed the job, it’s a good idea to get started in the role by completing the following tasks.

If possible, schedule a meeting with the prior treasurer and ask to be filled in on important details, such as the passwords to online accounts and software. Make sure to ask for a copy of the financial procedures manual, and check to ensure you have been provided with a copy of all financial information, including prior budgets, receipts and other essential financial documents. Review any upcoming payments, and incoming revenues that may not have been included in the budget.

Review the details of all bank accounts held by your NFP. Update changes in signatories. Do the same for any credit card accounts and update any spending authorisations. Ask that outstanding or otherwise missing cheque books or credit cards be returned as soon as possible.

Create a schedule of upcoming deadlines, such as payments for bills and other expenditures so that you don’t miss any due dates. When you create the budget, review it with the outgoing treasurer if possible to make sure that you haven’t missed or otherwise overlooked anything that should be included.

Going forward, you should check to see if your NFP has an audit committee. If not, you will need to prepare to review your nonprofit’s existing control policies and procedures to ensure that they are adequate and take corrective measure if they are not.

You will also need to be prepared to look for and analyse any financial discrepancies or other irregularities. The treasurer is also responsible for taking steps to ensure that the NFP’s financial information is accurate, organised and ready for independent audit.

Treasurers also act as a liaison between their board and the independent, third-party auditor and help prepare their NFP for audit.

Don’t Worry – You’ve Got This!

While all these duties sound complicated and time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be if you have a high degree of integrity, are diligent and logical, and have sound systems and software to simplify your processes and back you up!

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Being stressed out seems to be an all too common occurrence in the workplace today. The side effects of it are genuinely terrible. Along with raising our heart rate and blood pressure, stress saps our motivation and productivity levels so getting a handle on it should be a priority for everyone.

The following seven tips can help you relieve the pressure so that you will feel better and be able to get more done during your workday.

Cut the Clutter

When our workspace is unorganised and piled up with unfiled paperwork and misplaced objects, it is visually distracting and can add to our stress levels. An easy way to beat the stress and feel more in control during your day is to take a few moments to clear off your desk, and organise the items in your workspace.

Place the items that you most frequently use within hands reach, and store items that you rarely use away in a closet, filing cabinet or other storage area. Before you leave each day, take a few moments to tidy your space so that you start the next day off with the proverbial clean slate.

Turn Up the Lights

How is the lighting in your workspace? If you spend lots of time in front of your computer, pouring over transactions and other financial information, having adequate lighting is important to prevent eyestrain as well as lift your mood.

Ensure that your workspace has adequate overhead lighting and consider adding lamps or changing the type of bulbs that you use. If you can, position your desk close to a source of natural light to help your body regulate its internal clock so that you feel more awake during daylight hours.

Add a Personal Touch

Add a few decorative plants to your workspace to soften your environment and make it more warm and relaxing. Place a framed picture of your loved ones, or another image that brings a smile to your face, on your desk to add a personal touch to your space and to remind you of why your work matters.

Consider Updating Your Accountancy Software

Old, out of date systems are frustrating to work with. Lighten your load by upgrading your nonprofits accounting software to a fully automated one, such as Admin Bandit’s so that it’s faster and easier to stay on top of your NFP’s finances.

Put the Kibosh on Interruptions

Few things are as frustrating as having your full concentration unexpectedly interrupted. Beat the stress by putting an end to interruptions. Learn to set boundaries with co-workers and others so that they know not to swing by for a chat when you are fully engaged in working on something important. Set the right expectations when it comes to answering phone calls and emails, and only send replies during set times of the day rather than reading and replying to messages and calls throughout the day.

Walk it Out

Don’t forget to take frequent breaks during your day and get up from your desk and walk around your facility. Doing so will help you to mentally switch gears. It also stretches your muscles and increases your intake of fresh air, which are all good to relive the tension and stress that you are unconsciously carrying in your body.

Practice Good Self Care at Home

When our minds and bodies are healthy, they are more resilient to the effects of stress. Take good care of yourself both in and outside of the office. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of water and good night’s rest to support optimal health and nutrition so that you are mentally and physically prepared to give your best at work.

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There’s a reason why it’s typically difficult for nonprofits to find candidates to fulfil the role of treasurer in their organisation. The responsibilities that come with the job can truly be daunting since there are so many duties that you must perform well and on time.

The following guide is a brief overview of five of the most essential tasks and duties new treasurers should perform when they take on the position.

Meet with the Previous Treasurer

It’s beneficial to the new treasurer when the prior one is available to go over the accounts with them and answer crucial questions, such as the reasoning behind specific actions that they may have taken. If the previous treasurer is unable to meet with you personally, ask them to at least provide you with a list of the essential details that you will need to perform your job well, such as your NFP’s passwords.

Realise That You Are Much More Than a Bookkeeper and Gatekeeper

While it is your responsibility to see that accurate and secure records of your NFP’s transactions are made and maintained, this doesn’t mean that you must do all of the tasks yourself. Delegating these duties to a staff member, or outsourcing them is perfectly fine, and is typically necessary for medium to large-sized NFPs. Software suites such as Admin Bandit also automate many of these processes, including many of the budgeting processes and reports that you will need to produce.

While oversight is a crucial function of your role in helping your NFP manage its finances, you should not forget that another critical responsibility is to act as a full partner and adviser with the other members of your board. You should always be on the lookout for ways to provide them with pertinent, actionable information that they can easily understand.

Establish Good Internal Financial Practices and Controls

Establish a practice of meeting with your board at least monthly, so that they are current and fully informed about the status of your NFP’s finances. In addition to advising the board of upcoming revenues and expenses at the meeting, make it a practice for the board to discuss planned expenditures before they occur, and establish controls so that purchases must be approved by you prior to disbursal of the funds.

Keep in mind that you should always have documentation on hand to support any disbursements that you make from your NFP’s funds, so always ask for invoices and receipts to justify your nonprofits purchases and other expenses.

Begin Budget Planning Early

While you should take the prior year’s budget into account when planning your next annual budget, keep in mind that needs, funding and other factors frequently change. Be aware that it can take several weeks to a few months to round up all of the data that you need to create a realistic model and forecast of your NFP’s budget for the coming year. Therefore, begin budget planning early, and ideally at least three months before the the start of your next fiscal year.

Don’t Forget About Annual Reports, Taxes and Other Legal Obligations

From VAT to GST, there are many tax filings and payments that your NFP is responsible for each year to meet its legal obligations and maintain its designation as an NFP, Charity or other status. Create a calendar and set alerts and reminders to help you keep important dates at the top of your mind.

Other key activities that you will need to complete before the end of the year include an annual report to your NFP board, and usually an audit by an independent third party. Make sure that you include these events on your calendar and schedule plenty of time to ensure that they are accurate when completed and filed promptly.

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