8 Financial Issues A Guild or Club Treasurer Has and How to Solve Them

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A guild or club treasurer has an important role. They’re responsible for handling the money side of things and ensuring that the club runs efficiently.

There are a number of potential financial issues a club treasurer might come up against. In this article we highlight what eight of those problems might be and explain how to solve them.

1. Handling Money

financial issues

If you’re the treasurer for a newly established club, society, guild or association, or if you’ve recently taken over the role at a long-established organisation which has no process to handle money, then the first thing you should do is set up a club-specific bank account.

Handling cash can be a hassle and involves the risk of theft or accidental loss. You’ll also need to organise receipts, often by hand-writing these at the time you receive the payment.

Organising bank transfers in and out of personal accounts is time-consuming and may incur processing fees. And visiting a bank to cash a cheque isn’t an efficient use of your time.

In addition, if you’re paying suppliers or venues, then it’s inconvenient to use cash or cheque and can be inappropriate to facilitate through your own personal bank account.

This inefficiency can be eliminated with a dedicated bank account. Members can directly transfer their fees, cutting down the risk factor and reducing administrative time.

You’ll be able to organise Direct Debits or Standing Orders for any recurring payments.

A bank account not only makes handling club money easier, it’s also more transparent. You can see precisely who has paid and when, have proof of receipt as well as a ‘paper trail’ should you need to look back over the accounts.

There are many banks that offer accounts for clubs and community organisations, with some research online, you’ll be able to find the most suitable one for you.

2. Managing Cash Flow

As a club treasurer, you’re probably already familiar with spreadsheets, or willing to learn about them. Tracking your incoming and outgoing expenditure on a spreadsheet will enable you to see at a glance the cash flow of your club.

managing cash flow

Cash flow is essentially the movement of money into and out of your club. It’s important to manage as it will enable you to pay for your venue costs, equipment or kit (e.g. branded t-shirts for a sports team).

If you don’t have any oversight of cash flow then your club could quickly overspend and get into debt. This debt could eventually shut your club down.

You might find that you have a huge cash reserve that could be invested in improving the club’s facilities or in marketing activities to generate more membership sign-ups.

It’s best to approach your club’s cash flow as you would with a business, or even your own personal finances, to ensure you’re never spending more than you’re bringing in. This will help avoid money troubles.

There’s more information on cash flow and cash flow forecasting in our article How to Calculate Cash Flow: A Startup Guide.

3. Organising the Accounts

managing accounts

Keeping on top of all the admin attached to managing the club’s accounts can be a headache.

There are the member fees, travel costs, bar tabs and receipts, the invoices and insurance bills. You might have piles of paper and sticky notes scattered around your desk at home, in your car, and at the club’s venue. The petty cash tin could be overflowing with IOUs or handwritten receipts. Or perhaps you have staff on your payroll, such as coaches, who need to be paid on a set day each month.

The best thing to do to avoid an administrative implosion, is to spend time organising an offline and online filing system. Offline, you could set up a dedicated box which all receipts go into. You could create and print out a sheet with information that people need to complete and sign before taking any petty cash.

Your online filing system could include setting up folders on your laptop for Income and Outgoing and then various sub-folders to organise all the documents. You could take a scan or photo of every paper receipt and save it online rather than keeping stacks of paper.

Another option to help you manage your accounts is to use online accounting software, such as Xero, Wave or Zoho Books. There are often basic free options as well as more advanced features which incur a small monthly fee.

Research online for the best software for you. Many offer free trials so you can test out the system to see if it’s suitable.

4. Generating Funds

If you have your cash flow forecast set up and it’s glaringly obvious that your club is falling short on funds then it might be time to recommend to your committee members that you need to instigate some fundraising activities.

Analyse your cash flow and annual budget (more on this later) to work out what an achievable target might be that will cover any deficit or will enable your club to invest in making improvements.

With this target in mind, brainstorm how you might be able to raise the funds. This could include a one-off ticketed event, or smaller fundraising activities at community occasions. It might include a marketing drive to encourage new members to sign up.

It could be that you need to increase your membership fees to cover an increase in venue fees. Or maybe you simply ask for donations from your members and supporters.

Having a fundraising target to aim for, and a date for when it needs to be raised, will help to focus your attention on the best course of action.

5. Chasing Membership Fees

chasing membership fees

You might have a thriving club with plenty of members. But if they’re not all consistently paying their fees on time, then this could soon become a nightmare to manage.

Chasing up late or missing payments, tracking when money has cleared in your club’s bank account and keeping on top of each member’s payment history eats into your time. And, as many club treasurers are volunteers, it could prove too much to handle on top of your busy personal life.

Set up a process that every member must follow when it comes to paying their membership fees. For example, this could include emailing you when the fees have been paid.

One of the easiest ways to effectively manage the collection of recurring member payments is to set up a Direct Debit function. Enabling your members to pay by Direct Debit will save them from forgetting altogether, from paying the wrong amount, or at the incorrect time.

Many of your members will be familiar with Direct Debit as many utilities bills and other bills are paid using it. It’s automated, reliable and secure. You’ll know when money is coming in and members will know when money is going out.

6. Planning Annual Budgets

If you want to avoid financial issues as a club treasurer, then planning out annual budgets at the beginning of the year, season or at an appropriate time for your club will help in the short and long-term.

With help from your club’s committee, you should set aside time each year to reflect on the previous year’s finances and plan for the coming year. Or, if you’re a new club, then plot out the first year’s budget.

In order to understand what money you’ll have to spend, you’ll first need to work out your income. This will include membership fees, give or take a few new or leaving members, as well as fundraising or sponsorship activity.

Once you understand the projected income, you can then plot in the predicted expenses. This is where you consider all the outgoings that you’ll need to cover that year. The budget will include the total annual amount for all your club’s regular, ongoing expenses as well as one-off costs, for example if you have a national tournament planned.

If there’s money left over, then you can plan how to allocate it, or you can choose to save it as a contingency fund in case of emergency or to cover a lean period.

If your budget is in deficit, then you’ll either need to cut out proposed expenses, or plan ways to raise the money required.

Once this annual budget is finalised, it’s then essential to keep referring back to it throughout the year. This will ensure you’re on track, and make sure your club is only spending on what it agreed to spend on, rather than random or ad hoc expenses.

7. Presenting Financial Reports to Club Stakeholders

financial reports

A big part of your role is to be accountable to the key club stakeholders.

They will want to know how the club finances are looking, whether there are any financial issues to be addressed or if there’s budget to invest in growing the club.

This should be no problem if you keep your cash flow spreadsheet up to date, and manage your accounts with an efficient filing system or by using accounting software.

Ask in advance what reports they would like to see and then generate these using the data you have to hand. For example, reports could include:

  • year-to-date spending figures
  • any changes to the annual budget
  • current cash reserves
  • total number of members and fees
  • outstanding membership fee payments
  • bank statements from the past few months

If your accounts are disorganised and you don’t have the figures required to hand, your club stakeholders could lose faith in your ability to handle the club’s finances.

8. Signing Off Expenditure

If your club seems to be spending money without any clear structure or sign-off procedure, then it’s time to set up a new process. Not having any oversight of the club’s expenditure could quickly lead to financial issues.

A straightforward process will ensure that you have control over the club’s finances, can track expenditure in the relevant cash flow spreadsheets and annual budget, as well as keep relevant records.

The process could include the following:

  • all planned expenditure must be discussed in advance with the treasurer
  • all planned expenditure must be signed off by the treasurer before it’s purchased
  • all expenditure must be proved with a receipt
  • any change given in cash must be in a sealed, labelled envelope along with the receipt

Organise Your Club’s Finances

Keeping on top of your club’s income and outgoings will ensure you don’t face financial issues. As a new or experienced club treasurer, getting organised and introducing straightforward processes will help to keep your club running efficiently.

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