Questions and Answers 12
Here are some common questions about the role and responsibilities of an Honorary Treasurer. Members of the Forum are also invited to raise issues they need an opinion or advice about through our Linkedin discussions.
Q : What is an Honorary Treasurer?An Honorary Treasurer is a trustee of a charity who has been designated this specific role or office. They will have particular responsibilities concerning the finances, for instance ensuring that proper accounts are kept, and helping to set financial and investment policies.
Q : Do charities have to have an Honorary Treasurer?The Board of Trustees is responsible for the financial oversight of the charity and should be prepared and able to challenge financial information received. It is not compulsory to have an Honorary Treasurer and some charities believe that all Trustees should take equal responsibility for the financial oversight rather than delegating to one individual.
Q : Audit Committee or Finance Committee?The Boards of larger charities may have a number of sub-committees including a finance sub-committee and an audit committee. The finance committee oversees the proper management of the charity’s finances, reviews management accounts, budgets and forecasts and will include the Finance Director as well as Honorary Treasurer and other nominated trustees. The audit committee should focus on all risks facing the charity, not just financial risks. To prevent conflict neither the Honorary Treasurer or Finance Director should chair the audit committee.
Q : What financial information should be presented at Board meetings?
Information should be communicated in a way that enables trustees to carry out their responsibilities and take appropriate actions. The format may vary according to the size and complexity of a charity but the financial information provided should always be understandable, accurate and timely.
The financial information provided at each trustee meeting should include details of the charity's financial position and performance. It should also be sent to each trustee before each meeting and will typically include:
- the latest management accounts;
- a comparison of budget to actual figures;
- an explanation for variances between forecasts and what actually happened; and
- details of cash flow and closing bank balances.
The meeting should set aside a specific time within the agenda for discussion of financial matters and allow the trustees to raise any issues of concern.
(Taken from Internal Financial Controls for Charities (CC8) produced by the Charity Commission).