Businesses and other organizations need funds to cover basic operating costs and other expenses. They also may have income through donations or sales. Parties who have an interest in the company or organization elect a treasurer to the company or organization's board of directors to keep track of all the money coming in and going out. This impacts whether the company will obtain financial stability and complete its objectives, so the treasurer's role is vital.
According to Myron Jacobs of the Cooperator, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the Minnesota Council for Nonprofits, the objective of a board treasurer is to make sure that the company or organization he represents handles money appropriately. The treasurer documents all payments and transactions. This includes everything from copying receipts for a few dollars worth of office supplies to logging millions of dollars in donations or sales. The treasurer also prepares forms and statements required by lenders, sponsors or the government pertaining to funds or taxes. The treasurer works with accountants and bookkeepers to create and present budget data for the board. His responsibilities differ from those of accountants and bookkeepers, however, in that he serves as more of watchdog, making administrative decisions on what to do with the money rather than simply crunching numbers. Since treasurers are board members, they also have to fulfill board duties, such as acting as board representative or being present at board meetings.
Not all board treasurers receive a salary--some work for free if the organizations they represent are non-profit. Those who do receive compensation for their efforts bring home about $46,000 annually as of 2010, according to Simplyhired.
Since the business or organization has accountants to handle the more technical side of financial tracking and planning, boards may not require the board treasurer to have accounting experience or degrees. In these cases, the board places more emphasis on the treasurer's experience with the organization or field, since this experience impacts how the treasurer may set up and present the budget. Treasurers also take classes in areas such as financial management and business administration, but there aren't any standardized certifications or degrees specifically for board treasurers.
Board treasurers have to be able to speak publicly and to present financial data in a variety of ways (e.g., graphs, Powerpoints, memos). They need good oral and written language skills because they must make sure that everyone on the board understands the budget details and goals. They also need good language skills because boards may call on them to write appeal and thank you letters or proposals.
Board treasurers must be trustworthy--board members and those the board represents should not need to worry that the treasurer will misappropriate the organization's funds. Board treasurers also need a willingness to report problems within the budget accurately even when doing so may reflect negatively on other board members or the organization.
- Photo Credit balancing checkbook image by palms from Fotolia.com
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