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The volunteer board of directors is the governing arm of a nonprofit organization and is legally required for tax-exempt organizations and corporations. The board has four officers: chair, vice-chair, treasurer and secretary. Each officer has a job description that details its duties and responsibilities as prescribed by the organization’s bylaws. The treasurer’s duties involve oversight of fiscal matters.
Care, Loyalty and Obedience
According to BoardSource, an organization that focuses on training for nonprofit boards, care, loyalty and obedience define the board's legal responsibility. Care refers to competence and reasonable care, while loyalty and obedience refer to honoring the organization’s mission, respecting confidentiality and being mindful of the public’s trust. For the treasurer, this translates into ensuring the organization is a good steward of charitable donations and the tax-exempt status, providing oversight of the organization’s fiscal integrity and assisting the board in meeting its mandate to govern.
The treasurer is required to attend all scheduled meetings and maintain current knowledge of the organization, its programs, bylaws and articles of incorporation. The treasurer is required to have knowledge of nonprofit accounting practices, nonprofit tax laws and fiscal record keeping. The treasurer is knowledgeable about committee management and rules for conducting board meetings.
Accounts and Expenditures
Bylaws usually designate the treasurer to be one of two officers authorized to sign checks or be granted access to bank and credit accounts. Treasurers have full knowledge of all organization holdings and assets. Treasurers review monthly account records and monitor income and expenditures. The treasurer also reviews financial reports from organization staff.
The treasurer prepares reports to the board detailing income, expenditures and asset values. The treasurer presents a financial report at each board meeting, and prepares and presents the annual financial and audit report to the board. The treasurer prepares special financial reports addressing proposed plans for large expenditures.
The treasurer is chair of the finance committee. The finance committee is charged with developing the organization's fiscal policies and procedures and developing the fiscal component of the organization's strategic plan. The committee also develops the organization's fundraising plan and annual budget in collaboration with other board members and the organization's chief financial officer. The committee oversees annual audits and reviews audit reports.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.