Council Financial Reviewer Role
Trout Unlimited councils work hard to raise funds for conservation and related purposes, and one of the most important responsibilities of council officers and boards is to safeguard and protect those funds so they are used for the purposes for which they were raised. A few simple steps taken by council officers and boards of directors can safeguard those funds and other council assets.
TU’s Board of Trustees created a Financial and Property Controls Policy to provide guidance to council leaders on how best to protect council assets. The policy also establishes and requires the role of Financial Reviewer, described more fully below from the policy.
The best check against the temptation for financial fraud is for more than one council officer to review each of the council’s bank-account records (including the records of any debit-card and electronic-banking transactions) and the records of any credit-card transactions. Therefore, councils must provide access to the records of all council accounts and all council credit cards to one council officer – called the Financial Reviewer – who is not authorized to sign checks, otherwise withdraw funds from the accounts, or make charges on a council credit card.
That officer could be an assistant treasurer whose sole function is to review the accounts, or it could be an existing officer. That access may be electronic through the relevant financial institution and credit-card company or through hard copies of bank and credit-card statements, but the records reviewed must show the date, amount, and payee of the transactions. Electronic access must not be of the type that gives the reviewing officer the power to withdraw or transfer funds from the council’s accounts.
If hard copies of bank or credit-card statements are used, they must be mailed directly from the financial institution or credit-card company to the officer charged with reviewing the records, who can then forward the statements, after review, to the treasurer. The council officer charged with reviewing the records of the council accounts and credit cards must review those records at least monthly and must report any inappropriate checks, debits, or charges to the council’s board of directors.
You may also consider mentoring chapter financial reviewers in your council area by welcoming them in their new role as well as facilitating communication to learn from one another’s efforts.