What does a Treasurer do?
Treasurers are indispensable to the functioning of volunteer-run organisations. However, people don’t seem to know much about what they do in practice. As such, they are respected and maybe feared a little, and associated with magical, possibly demonic powers.
So I thought it’d be nice to write a bit of an explainer about what it is, exactly, that I do. I didn’t really know what it entailed a year ago, either. People tend to be afraid of money and consider it too complicated or too much responsibility, but I hope to show you that it’s not that scary to be a Treasurer!
What I basically do as a Treasurer, I always joke, is maintain a spreadsheet. There’s a little more to my tasks than that, but there is some truth to it: Flanor’s bookkeeping spreadsheet does kind of feel like the central point that all my work revolves around. This is where I write down all expenses and income with date, payer, recipient, category, and receipt or invoice. This is very satisfying work to me because I love spreadsheets. If the bookkeeping is up to date, I can see whether the total there matches the amount we have in the bank, and we can see how much budget we have left in various categories – for example, how much money the Readathon Committee is still allowed to spend this year, or how much we can afford to pay visiting authors.
As Flanor’s main representative to the bank, I’m also the one who pays invoices, like authors’ appearance fees and their hotel stay, and I reimburse people for expenses they made for Flanor, such as committee expenses. (However, I need to get a receipt to reimburse expenses! Always keep the receipt!) Commissioner Hannah of External Affairs is in charge of merchandise, but I help her keep track of the merch payments since this overlaps with the bookkeeping.
I mentioned the budget earlier; this is about the beautiful document the Wilten Board presented at the Transfer GMA in September. The budget is important for carrying out our policy plans, and as such it’s a document that we all worked on together. However, as the official Person In Charge Of Money, I did a bunch of prep work, such as going through last year’s budget and bookkeeping and talking with my predecessor to make estimates for how much money we’d likely need for various projects, and how much income we’re likely to get from subsidies, membership fees, sponsors and so on. You can still find the budget on the website (My profile > Documents > Transfer GMA 05-09-2022). It includes some tables with our estimates for this year’s expenses, such as Administrative expenses. I was also the one to present the budget at the GMA. At the midyear GMA and the next transfer GMA, I will have to present financial reports which detail what we did with our budget.
Besides these few big core tasks, there are all kinds of things that don’t really belong to any specific Board position, but which we share among each other. I’ve joined Chairwoman Juliët to meetings with our sponsors; I often send emails related to organising our lectures, like restaurant and hotel reservations; I’ve written a monthly newsletter once, and the occasional blog post; I help out with the member administration and website maintenance… And then there’s the big jobs that we all do together, like subsidy applications, organising the Autumn and Summer Weekend excursions, organising GMAs… Even the Treasurer’s tasks, I don’t do entirely alone. We all help each other where necessary, and it’s definitely a good idea to have more than one person with any knowledge of our finances.
I hope I’ve demystified the Treasurer’s work a little bit. As you can see, no demonic rituals involved! Only a little spreadsheet magic ;) If there’s anything else you’re curious about, feel free message me, come say hi the Board’s office hours (every Wednesday and Friday 10:00 to 12:00), or find me at our events. I’m always available to answer any general questions you have for the Board, too. Even if your question has no numbers in it, I might know the answer anyway, and else I know who does know the answer.
Master of Spreadsheets