Student Activities Advisors are happy to meet with group leadership to go over sample general ledgers. Contact Student Activities to schedule an appointment.
Student groups should ensure the separation of financial duties to serve as a checks and balances system to prevent theft, fraud or inaccurate reporting. This separation of financial duties should separate the function of paying bills from reconciling the group’s financial records. Student groups should set an approval process for all purchases to eliminate inappropriate spending/purchases. These financial controls should include individual purchase thresholds. All expenditures not usual to the pursuit of the group’s normal operations should have prior approval from the group. These expenditures include, but are not limited to; loans, transfers or funds to other organizations, grants, special banquets, and social programs. Any check payable to the signer of the check should bear the signature of another registered officer.
Groups should clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each position and should include financial duties in those descriptions. Officers’ roles and responsibilities should be incorporated into governing documents (i.e. the student group’s constitution). In addition, groups should establish a Conflict of Interest Policy that is signed by officers on an annual basis.
A conflict of interest typically occurs when a person in a position of authority over an organization may benefit personally from a decision he or she could make. A conflict of interest policy consists of a set of procedures and guidelines to follow to avoid the possibility that those in positions of authority over an organization may receive an inappropriate benefit. A conflict of interest policy also protects a group from potential activities that would benefit the private interest of an officer or member and would compete against the best interest of the group. These policies typically require officers or employees to disclose any interests that could be considered a conflict. Please view the sample conflict of interest policy when developing your group’s internal procedures.
Student groups should produce a financial disclosure plan, or a summary of expenses, income and general activities. Registered Student Organizations whose gross receipts (income) are more than $5,000 annually have a filing requirement with the IRS. Please see the Taxes page for additional information. A best practice for student groups is to also include a financial disclosure plan as part of your group’s yearly review.
The financial disclosure plan should include:
Independent auditing is an important element of the ongoing financial solvency and accountability of student groups’ accounts. Student Unions & Activities also reserves the right to audit a student group. In the event that a student group is audited, the following items may be requested: general ledger, fees request, and bank statement for reserve account, payroll tax returns, receipts, invoices, cancelled checks, grants applications/documents, and sales/fundraising documents.
In order to be transparent with its members and the public, student groups should establish and evaluate clear performance measurements annually. Student group officers should clearly define their decision making processes with the group’s general members. Meeting minutes should be taken for all group meetings and made available to the general membership.
We encourage groups to create an annual report that can be shared with the group membership and general public. This report should include an explanation of the group’s mission, activities and results, and annual financial report.
Student Activities Advisors are happy to meet with group leadership to go over sample annual report documentation. Please contact Student Activities to schedule an appointment.