‘How-tos’ for Local Council Treasurers
by Ken Sheldon, NCRA Treasurer
1. A financial report should be presented at every local council meeting. A good report includes the following:
- Amount of money collected
- Amount of money spent
- Amount of money on hand (checkbook balance)
- Record of the president’s approval of all expenditures
2. IRA and NCRA support having local reading councils require two signatures on all checks. The president and treasurer usually sign the checks. The signature card at the bank will need to be updated each time one of the signing officers changes. Best practice is to have an auditing committee review the financial records at the close of the fiscal year or when one of the signing officers changes before the end of the fiscal year. Note that the North Carolina Reading Association requires two signatures on all checks.
3. The IRA website (www.reading.org) offers information that will help you be a successful local council treasurer. The information can be found under ‘Information for’ Council Leaders, Management Resources for Councils and Affiliates. Under the heading Council Officer Tools, look for the Financial Management Guide for Treasurers. (http://www.reading.org/informationfor/CouncilLeaders/CouncilManagement.aspx)
4. It is extremely important to keep complete and up-to-date records on all financial transactions for the local council. A simple Excel file, Quicken, or other money management software works well. If you, a local council treasurer, need help with setting up an Excel file, please contact the NCRA Treasurer, Ken Sheldon, Ask yourself: Do you make written financial policies accessible to all members?
5. All local councils have 501c(3) nonprofit status through the International Reading Association. Educational organizations, such as IRA, NCRA, and local reading councils, have this designation. Requirements must be met to maintain the nonprofit status, and councils face serious consequences if the 990N form is not submitted to IRS each year and on time. The Officer’s Report requires confirmation that the 990N was sent to IRS, and councils that do not submit 990N for three years face the loss of non-profit status. Requirements include:
- Having a valid EIN (employer Identification Number). You should have one since it is required for a bank account. IRA depends on local councils to provide their EINs, so be sure, as treasurer, that IRA has your council’s EIN number, the same EIN that you use for your council’s bank account. IRS does NOT provide IRA with a list of EIN numbers for any state’s local councils. You can look up your local council under NonProfit Organizations on this site: www.guidestar.com.
- FILING the 990N FORM every year! The 990N can be completed in 5-10 minutes and can be accessed at http://epostcard.form990.org. More specific help can be accessed at http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Annual-Electronic-Filing-Requirement-for-Small-Exempt-Organizations–Form-990-N-%28e-Postcard%29
- MEETING the FILING DEADLINE. The North Carolina Reading Association’s fiscal year runs from June 1 through May 31; the filing deadline for submitting the 990N is October 15 of each year.
- Be sure to PRINT of the postcard and keep a copy in your records as proof that you filed the 990N. Provide a copy of the proof or e-card confirmation to your council’s president for attaching to the Officer’s Report that IRA requires.
- ALSO, SEND A COPY OF THE E-POSTCARD or A CONFIRMATION THAT A 990N WAS FILED TO KEN SHELDON, NCRA TREASURER!
6. Design a reimbursement or expense form that can be used to track all requests for reimbursements.
7. Local Council financial records must be saved for at least seven (7) years. Tax forms should be saved permanently. Please have a records retention policy in place to assure that records are available. Pass all records to the incoming treasurer.
8. A local council budget is highly recommended. A budget helps a council stay within its means. The budget can be changed as needed.
9. Council membership lists (via email) and payment of dues (via snail mail) need to be sent to NCRA’s Membership Director, Mary Jo Floyd, 8212 Canthy Circle, Garner, N.C .27529, email@example.com (or firstname.lastname@example.org). Find out more on the website under MEMBERSHIP on the horizontal navigation bar and MEMBERS ONLY in the footer. State dues are $10 per council member.
10. Local councils should deposit all checks they receive, as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking on the job of local council treasurer, a critical position in your local council.
Ken Sheldon, NCRA Treasurer
183 Emory Mitchell Road
Zionville, N.C. 28698
(828) 297-3375 (home)
(828) 964-8495 (cell)