Role of the treasurer
While all members of the management committee are responsible for managing the association's finances, the treasurer is generally charged with the task of ensuring that financial transactions are properly recorded and reported on. Note also that if the audited annual financial statements and associated documents are not lodged with the chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading as required under the Act, the treasurer is liable to a penalty (as are the president and secretary).
The treasurer presents financial reports at management committee meetings. It is important that these reports are easily understood by all the committee members because the whole committee is responsible for keeping a check on the finances of the organisation. Your group might need to organise some training for committee members to make sure this happens. Ask your auditor to recommend someone who can assist with this training. There should be receipts for all money received, evidence that it has been banked, and available documentation for all money paid out.
While the treasurer may not be able to do all these daily duties personally, it is the responsibility of the treasurer to ensure that good systems are in place to allow these tasks to be done efficiently and in a foolproof manner. Other tasks of the treasurer may include:
- Making sure finances are well planned by preparing an annual budget and then regularly monitoring this budget to see that the organisation is staying within it.
- Making sure that the books are up to date and in order – this means that there is a proper record of all payments and money received, and that accounts are reconciled at least once a month.
- Taking reasonable steps to make sure that the organisation's finances are arranged so as to prevent funds from being stolen or misused.
- Ensuring that the necessary information and account books are ready for an audit each year and that an audit takes place.
Auditors will usually provide valuable information to the organisation about the way the books are being kept and the general financial position of the organisation. It is essential that the whole management committee considers this information and does not see the auditor as simply 'checking up' on the treasurer once a year. Your constitution will require an audit to take place at a certain time, usually so that audited accounts can be presented at the Annual General Meeting. The specific tasks of preparing financial reports and maintaining the financial record-keeping system may be delegated to volunteers or a paid bookkeeper.