So you want to be a Treasurer?

Non-Profit Boards

The Treasurer's role is considered the most important function on the Board, after that of the Chair. The success of an organization depends on whether or not the organization is able to develop and adhere to a budget.

Financial accountability is also of the utmost importance to a non-profit organization. If your community or your funders lose faith in your ability to control and account for finances, they lose faith in the whole organization.

However, before you decide to invest your time and energy, it is important to understand what is involved in becoming a Treasurer:

What you need to know:

  • What is a Treasurer?
  • Responsibilities of a Treasurer
  • Preparing a budget
  • Completing paperwork
  • You have been elected Treasurer - now what?

What is a Treasurer?

A treasurer is an officer who is in charge of receiving and dispersing funds. He or she manages and reports on the organization’s finances.

Responsibilities  of a Treasurer

Although duties can vary slightly depending on the size of a particular board the following duties are fairly consistent:

  • Carries out the responsibilities of a member of the Board of Directors
  • Assists in the preparation of the budget
  • Monitors the budget
  • Ensures the Board’s financial policies are being followed
  • Reports to the Board of Directors and general membership on finances
  • Prepares any required financial reporting forms.
  • Maintains all bank accounts
  • Oversees all financial transactions
  • His or her signature should appear on all cheques of the organization with the second signature from any of the board’s other directors or staff with signing authority
  • Chairs the finance committee if one exists

Preparing a budget

  • A budget is a plan that identifies how much money an organization requires to operate during the upcoming year
  • A budget includes sources of revenue and anticipated expenses
  • A budget is submitted to the Board for approval at the beginning of the fiscal year by the treasurer
  • Throughout the year the treasurer tracks year-to-date income and revenues, reports variances and alerts the Board of potential problems

Completing Necessary Paperwork

  • The treasurer ensures the bank has the names and signatures of members who are authorized to deposit and withdraw funds from an organization’s bank account
  • The treasurer must file financial statements for legal and security purposes (i.e. tax authorities, funding bodies etc…)

You have been elected Treasurer – Now what?

Here is a list of things you need to do as soon as possible:

  • Check details of all bank accounts and all signatories
  • Swap signatories right away. Get the forms from the band and take them to the annual meeting.
  • Check details of credit card (s) or spending authorization and ensure the return of outstanding cheque books or cards
  • Organize for a detailed briefing from the outgoing treasurer detailing any spending commitments or incoming not included in budget papers
  • Prepare a timeline of upcoming payments and dates when the bills (i.e. insurance, rent etc…) are due
  • Once you have done your first budget statement, see if you can check with the outgoing treasurer that nothing is missing

Best practice tip

If your organization requires financial reports (and most organizations do!), make sure they are submitted on time and added to the minutes.