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Posts Tagged ‘volunteer treasurers’

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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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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pexels-photo-31256Coming up on the calendar are some interesting and worthwhile events for NFP board members and volunteer treasurers.

Meetings and Minutes Masterclasses are taking place in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne towards the end of April, and are designed to be beneficial for all NFP members with committee, administration or board roles. There is almost always room for improvement in running more efficient meetings and taking better minutes, so those who think they could do with some assistance in this area should have a look at the course information and registration on the Institute Of Community Directors Australia website.

Also just around the corner, the Board Builder Conference, is being held on April 29 in Melbourne. This conference will put a focus on building boards that are responsible, productive and sustainable, and at the centre of organisations that do first-rate work consistently. There will be a selection of speakers to give insight and advice on a range of issues pertinent to modern NFPs, including Kylie Cirak, the Director of Membership Experience at the Institute of Community Directors Australia, and Paul Ronalds, CEO of Save the Children. This is an excellent opportunity to consult experts on your organisation’s particular problem areas, and also learn new management and directorial skills. For further information, and to register, refer to the website.

Finally, but importantly, the Communities in Control Conference is scheduled to take place in Melbourne on May 30th and 31st. This event is a chance to engage with some of the greatest minds in the country and be on the lookout for what is emerging in our cultural landscape, to be able to adjust your organisation’s mission and work to be the most efficient it can be. This conference is designed to be both entertaining and inspirational and aims to bring new ideas to attendees, so community organisations continue to evolve with the communities they serve. There are some high profile speakers, including broadcaster, academic and author, Waleed Aly and actor and comedian Magda Szubanski. Other speakers bringing their valuable perspectives include Holly Ransom, intergenerational economics expert, and Celeste Liddle, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Indigenous Organiser for the National Tertiary Student Union. More information, including an in-depth programme, can be viewed at Communities in Control.

These events, along with others throughout the year, are a worthwhile investment of time and resources as they facilitate keeping on top of necessary skills and brushing up on topics that are useful to successfully running an NFP organisation.

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Tony Surtees

Tony Surtees

Last night I had the opportunity to hear Tony Surtees speak about innovation and other things entrepreneurial. He is qualified to speak on this topic because as his profile says “Tony Surtees was one of the first to identify the spectacular impact that the web would have on our daily lives, shooting to prominence in the 1990s as Vice President of Yahoo!’s e-commerce division in the US.”

One of the things he said struck a chord with my current situation. He said that marketing is more important than the product. If you have a great product but no marketing then you will fail but if you have great marketing without the product you will succeed. This comment gave me great heart as the journey to bring the new version of our software to market has indeed been long. During this time the marketing has been gaining such momentum that we have volunteer treasurers waiting in the wings to sign up when it is ready. This point made by Tony has given me courage in my moments of frustration because the marketing snowball has gained momentum and we will have a great product, when we get there.

Do you think marketing is more important than the product?


Here’s to volunteer treasurers……particularly those waiting for our new version.

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Ranking

Ranking

Much is written and discussed about improving your website search ranking. Some businesses like Webconfs and that of Chris Thomas specialise in search engine optimisation.  Webconfs has a great list 15 minute checklist of the factors that affect your rankings.

Admin Bandit certainly found that when we turned our attention to improving our ranking for our keywords, the advice of our marketing partner Threesides made a huge difference as we implemented Todd’s advice about anchor text and keyword phrases, to name a few. We then started making sales from around Australia and even some volunteer treasurers overseas found us.

Have you turned your attention to maximising your “organic” search engine ranking? Or are you paying for Google ads for the words which could bring you to the top of the list without paying? What strategies have you implemented to improve your ranking?


Here’s to volunteer treasurers..

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