In a word, the role of nonprofit treasurer is all about oversight. In order to ensure there are no oversights — failures to notice or do something — the nonprofit treasurer must provide complete oversight — complete surveillance over something — on all financial operations.
This article will break down the role of a treasurer by discussing personality and skills that predispose someone to being a potential treasurer, outlining a treasurer’s various duties in managing finances, and then assessing key aspects of a treasurer’s job.
Who makes a good treasurer?
Above almost any other trait, good treasurers are trustworthy. Honesty and transparency are non-negotiable traits of the person in charge of the money, for obvious reasons, but also the treasurer is responsible for making important decisions, depending on the finances of the organization. Leadership must be able to trust the treasurer to tell it to them straight.
Good treasurers are also meticulous and organized. There is little room for error when it comes to finances, especially with the level of scrutiny that nonprofit finances endure.
Lastly, good treasurers are good communicators. A treasurer is responsible for sharing financial information effectively with both internal and external stakeholders. This includes not only the ability to understand and analyze financial information, but ideally, the treasurer should be able to communicate relevant information in layman’s terms so that non-financial parties can understand and act on it.
What does a treasurer do?
The main responsibilities of the treasurer are to control and monitor: bank accounts, cash flow, budget creation and management, bills, debts, and policies and procedures regarding the organization’s finances. When conducting all of these tasks, the treasurer should ensure the organization’s finances are in accordance with the bylaws of the organization.
A treasurer should be keenly interested in keeping track of the nitty gritty details, while also understanding the larger picture of how each facet of the finances fits together to affect important financial decisions.
What does a treasurer say?
It is arguably just as important for the treasurer to be able to speak or present about the organization’s finances as it is for them to conduct the everyday tasks to keep the organization running. Nonprofits are businesses first and foremost, and the first step to having a solvent business is having the financial operations working smoothly.
Treasurers must be able to communicate with the board and other leadership on financial realities, make recommendations, and answer questions so that the organization can strategize and plan intelligently. External communication of the organization’s finances are also important. Nonprofits rely heavily on their donors and other stakeholders, and providing a financial report so that it can be delivered to interested parties is key to continued support and trust in the organization.