Treasurer - accounts

I have a few questions about the treasurer's job in a music group:

1. I am interested to know what accounts systems people use. (We are a choir of about 100 members and we use spreadsheets to produce the accounts).
What system are you using? Does it work well?

2. Do you struggle to find a treasurer? Is the treasurer always/usually an accountant?
(We struggle to find someone to do the treasurer's job)

3. Do you have one person (the treasurer) doing the accounts? Or more than one?

Making Music is having an information and advice event (Good Practice for Treasurers) at the end of Feb in London where I'm sure some of these questions will be discussed, but unfortunately the event is full now, so I thought I'd post this question here.

I'd be very interested to hear your answers, many thanks.

Belinda P

1. I am interested to know what accounts systems people use. (We are a choir of about 100 members and we use spreadsheets to produce the accounts).
What system are you using? Does it work well?

We are 30-35 members - the treasurer keeps details of all income as it arises, and all payments - cheque stubs and paying-in slips are then used to create a simple manual cash book. This is then used by an independent accountant to produce accounts annually, manually.
We have no computer, so no spreadsheets. This may change if a new treasurer is appointed. [There is a potential danger if a domestic computer is used - what happens when the treasurer changes, moves away, etc. Obviously separate folders need to be maintained with explanatory info available.]

2. Do you struggle to find a treasurer? Is the treasurer always/usually an accountant?
(We struggle to find someone to do the treasurer's job)

The treasurer is not usually the accountant - having the roles separated mean an extra level of division of duties, and therefore doublechecking. We are looking for a new treasurer, but we have till December...

3. Do you have one person (the treasurer) doing the accounts? Or more than one?

See above in 1. However, our total income was < £5k last year, so there was no requirement for an independent review, other than the one required by our own constitution. With a new treasurer next year, and ptentially higher income (we hope!) this may change.

Hope this helps.

Hi Belinda, from the perspective of some groups I am in:

 

1. I am interested to know what accounts systems people use. (We are a choir of about 100 members and we use spreadsheets to produce the accounts).
What system are you using? Does it work well?

Every group I am in uses an excel spreadsheet. I think there is a feeling in those groups that it is not worth the money to invest in software. Excel is fine for what we need to do and we don't over-complicate things any more than we have to.

2. Do you struggle to find a treasurer? Is the treasurer always/usually an accountant?
(We struggle to find someone to do the treasurer's job)

Yes and no - someone has always stepped up to the plate though sometimes it has just been to break an uncomfortable silence! Sometimes it's an accountant and sometimes it's not - I think as long as the person is organised and logical then they'll find the job do-able. I also find that starting the handover a few months in advance is a good thing to do and makes the whole process less daunting - but it does mean that you need to have good notice of your current treasurer's intent to stand down, which I appreciate is not always possible.

3. Do you have one person (the treasurer) doing the accounts? Or more than one?

In all my groups, we have two signature authorisation which means a second person is always aware of what's going on financially even if they don't know the detail. I know of one group (which I am not in) where they have a two person system in which the treasurer-to-be works with the current treasurer to ensure a smooth handover. There are downsides to this though - the role has switched between the same two people every year for quite some time now, but at least they haven't had to change the signatures at the bank!

Excel is a superb way to manage the finances of your group but as with all software you need to know how to get the best out of it.
I keep our choir's income and expenditure records on two worksheets within the same spreadsheet and the totals are linked directly into a third which holds the accounts format with the previous years figures for comparison. By entering income or expenditure items the totals on those sheets are updated and so the accounts figures are also automatically updated.
I personally wouldn't spend money on anything else, especially when there are superb free spreadsheet programs such as LibreOffice available.

I'm a Chartered Accountant and rather walked into the job as my wife started our choir !

Much of our income is cash but we have a strict system of signing-in on practice nights. This fulfills our "fire drill" requirement where we practice, enables me to reconcile the cash and also to build up the records for our gift aid claim as we are a charity.
Any two from the 5 Committee members can sign cheques, but not my wife and I together, or indeed any other two related members.

I produce the accounts but they are separately checked by a third party.