To: Volunteers Involved in Running District and Council Activities
From: John Leighton, Council Treasurer
H. Ray Franks, Scout Executive
Subject: Correct Procedures for Financial Management of Activities and Procedures to
Be Followed In Purchasing Materials For Events, Camps And Activities.
Date: August 15, 2013
Each and every one of us in the Council works diligently to provide a quality scouting experience to our Scouts. It takes money to make this happen. Unfortunately, money is a finite resource that is tough to come by. If we spend more than we raise, we will cease to exist and fail in our goals. This is a reality. We must be conscientious stewards of the money that our benefactors give us and that we raise, realizing that every project that runs a deficit takes away from the projects that are next in line.
The volunteers in the Council and the Boy Scouts of America have put controls in place to ensure the future of the Council. We have inspections and tools available to handle the financial management of each event. We must strive to break even on each project and event to allow the hard earned money that we share in the Council to perpetuate our existence. Please accept this memo as information and guidance regarding fiscal responsibility and help to be sure that we achieve our goals in program, membership and finance.
While we give a lot of responsibility to our professionals regarding financial oversight, each and every one of us must act responsibly with our money. If you feel that an expenditure is reasonable and your professional partner is not in agreement, you are welcome to work your way through the process and address your concerns with the board comprised of volunteers like you. Please understand that we all are striving for the same result and that is to make the world a better place through raising the leaders for our future.
Each year East Carolina Council, BSA undergoes an audit carried out by an outside accounting firm to insure that the council follows accepted accounting practices. It is the responsibility of the council executive board, council officers and professional management to insure the auditor that the processing of all council funds follow accepted business practices for charitable organizations. Those practices require the council have procedures in place to guarantee that all income is properly documented and all expenses are pre-approved. The council must guarantee that practices and controls are in place that insures the efficient use of all donated funds and fees. There must be no possibility for the misuse or fraud in the handling of funds by volunteers or professional staff.
In any organization guidelines and procedures for cost control must from time to time be reinforced. All those entrusted with the management of funds and administering of activities must be educated in the proper management of the council’s resources. That is the reason you are receiving this letter. At the beginning of this program year we want to insure that all volunteers and professionals with East Carolina Council, BSA are properly informed on guidelines for managing the council’s financial resources and that the council follows all laws and guidelines outlined in our nonprofit license issued by the State of North Carolina.
No expenditures for any activity are to be made until a budget is prepared. Typically the volunteer chair and professional advisor do this together. If the event happens annually then there already exists an estimated budget for the activity prepared as part of the annual budget planning process. This can be provided by the council’s accounting specialist. The budget process works best when you start out by determining all the expenses first and then setting fees. Do not force expenses into some pre-determined event fee. Trying to force expenses into a pre set fee often results in expenses exceeding income. When budgeting do not forget to include the cost of mailings, brochures, medical insurance and usage fees of council properties. Always plan on at least a 15% miscellaneous expense to allow for unforeseen expenses. You may also use budgets from the previous year to help you in projecting the cost of upcoming events. The council professional staff and the volunteer chair are responsible for insuring the activity operates within the budget. At the end of the activity a final budget of actual expenses must be prepared. Always monitor the level of participation to insure the projected levels of income are going to be reached. If not, then spending must be adjusted accordingly.
Purchase Orders: Once a budget is prepared and approved you may begin purchasing with the approval of the professional advisor. The council maintains many accounts with vendors making it possible to purchase without checks or using personal funds. The council maintains an approved list of vendors, many who support the council through the Friends of Scouting Campaign. All purchases should be preapproved by the professional advisor for the event. Before charging to any account or making a purchase you must receive a purchase order. This form has a number on it. It enables the council accounting specialist to know what account to charge and assures that the bill has been pre-approved. Even if you are making a purchase yourself from your funds, you must obtain a purchase order. If you are making the purchase from your funds, a copy of the order should accompany the receipts or the purchase order number should be written on the receipts.
Check Request: A check request is made to pay a bill supported by a purchase order. The purchase order form or number should appear on a check request. There are times when a check request is made without support of a purchase order. Just because you complete a check request does not mean you are guaranteed payment. All check requests must be supported by receipts or a purchase order. The purchase must be a legitimate, approved expense included in the prepared budget for the event. The council has the responsibility of insuring the expense is truly one that should have been incurred and supported by the council.
Petty Cash Check: Events from time to time may be issued a petty cash check. The check is meant for the purchase of “on demand items and small cost” items like ice, replacement of first aid supplies, overlooked food needs, etc. In most cases you should not plan to uses petty cash. The balance of the unused petty cash must be returned with receipts for items purchase. The individual named on the check is legally responsible for the cash balance plus the receipts totaling to the amount of the check issued.