What does a Treasurer do?

CommunitySo maybe you are thinking of taking on the role of Treasurer at a not-for-profit organisation. But you want to know what you are getting yourself in for first? Read on for some of the more common tasks of a Treasurer.

It is the Treasurer’s job to keep the finances of an organisation healthy – so the organisation can achieve its mission. It’s an important role and, depending on the size of the organisation, it could involve an hour every month or several hours a week.

You don’t need to have an accounting background to be a good Treasurer. An eye for detail certainly helps, together with a basic knowledge of how the organisation works and knowledge of how money flows in and out of an organisation. If you do have an accounting background, you may like to read my previous post Not-for-profits – 6 ways your bookkeeping differs from other organisations.

You will need good communication skills as you will need to attend meetings and explain financial reports to committee members who may or may not share your enthusiasm or knowledge of financial matters.

Financial Reporting
This includes recording all financial transactions of the organisation and preparing financial statements at regular intervals. It also includes budget preparation and keeping an eye on whether groups are spending within their budgets.

Larger organisations may employ a staff member to record transactions, however the Treasurer will need to keep an overall eye on the finances.

Some organisations may use computer software to record transactions & prepare financial reports, however small organisations may use spreadsheets.

Procedures
Written financial procedures need to be reviewed and updated regularly. Anyone else should be able to walk into the role and pick up where you left off. It is also provides a degree of protection for the organisation and its people.

Correct authorisation of transactions is a key issue, as well as having strong internal control procedures in place to prevent theft or fraud. You may need to assist with audits.

Fundraising
You may be asked to prepare funding proposals for grants, with the assistance of other board members.

Risk minimisation
Part of keeping an eye on the finances of the organisation is alerting board members to potential risks such as low funds or future, large expenses.

Taxes and Industry Specific Legislation
The Treasurer should educate themselves on the main legislation that applies to the particular organisation. For example in Australia this could include GST, PAYG withholding and ACNC requirements.

So that is the basics of what you may be asked to do as a Treasurer. Depending on your work background it may be quite a large learning curve for you, however don’t underestimate the satisfaction you can get from devoting your time to a worthwhile cause. It is also a great opportunity to get together with people who share your interests and passions. Don’t forget to add it to your resume and make use of the networking opportunities that being on a committee can bring.

Have you been a Treasurer before? Was it a positive experience for you – please add your comments below.

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9 comments

  1. The role of treasurer is often underated and undervalued. The Chairperson or President due to their spokesperson role is often seen as the key person, however the treasurer is on top of risk management. This is especially important within volunteer community organisations. Within an organisation with paid staff, the role of treasurer is less intensive as much of the ground work is prepared by staff. While accounts may be maintained manually, it is easier and less time consuming if you can use a basic bookkeeping program such as myob, quicken or zero.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely agree with your comments, nfpaustralia. Treasurers have an important position within the organisation. Accounting software is worth the extra expense – these days you can just pay for the functions you need rather than having all the extra bells & whistles. Organisations should be prepared to pay for their Treasurer to get training so they are using it correctly and aren’t left to figure it out for themselves. Thanks for your comments.

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  3. As an accountant I find that people are often asking me to be on boards or management committees for NFPs, and whenever I’m on a board they always want the accountant to be the treasurer!

    I have found that the treasurer role can be quite enjoyable, but it depends a lot on the organisation and the quality of their finance function. Plenty of NFPs have trouble attracting suitable people to look after their books, and this can often mean that the treasurer has to get bogged down in data entry which is not what the role is supposed to be. Thankfully we have actually been able to reform the finance functions for both of the organisations for which I am treasurer, but there is still lots of other tasks to attend to in the role!

    Liked by 1 person

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