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Nonprofit Treasurer: Role & Responsibilities

best practices board finances foundation fraud reporting Jul 27, 2023

Nonprofit Treasurer: Role & Responsibilities

     The nonprofit treasurer holds a significant role. They ensure the financial stability and longevity of the organization. So today, let’s take a closer look at the treasurer's role and responsibilities in a nonprofit. 

Oversight of Financial Assets

     The treasurer's responsibility really comes down to this one major thing: safeguarding the nonprofit's financial assets. They're also tasked with ensuring that financial policies are followed, and records and reports are accurately maintained. It’s also the treasurer who provides financial statements and projections to help the board make informed decisions. In addition, they establish internal controls (or checks and balances) within the organization for all financial transactions, which ultimately ensures the accuracy of financial accounts, statements, and reports. 

Budget Guidance

     In addition to overseeing the organization's finances, the nonprofit treasurer has an important leadership role related to the budget. Keep in mind, this looks different depending on the size of the nonprofit, whether or not they have a finance committee or how many accounting financial staff they may have. But the treasurer really is the one person at the board level, who everyone is looking at, in order to feel comfortable. The board members are ultimately wondering if the treasurer thinks the budget is okay.  If you’re a nonprofit treasurer, you really need to know that among your board, you carry a tremendous formal (and informal) responsibility.  

Regulatory Compliance

     Another key responsibility of the treasurer is ensuring compliance with laws and regulations that govern nonprofit organizations. It’s the treasurer who should be asking all the questions to be certain that the nonprofit is in compliance with federal and state reporting and filing requirements that are necessary to maintain your tax exempt status. Furthermore, all payroll and tax compliance falls under the duties of the nonprofit’s treasurer.

     In conclusion, the treasurer's role is essential in any organization, regardless of its size, but their duties are not always the same. More than a set list of matching duties, what every nonprofit treasurer really has in common is the oversight of these duties. That is what I want you to take away today. Sometimes  in a small nonprofit, you’ll find a treasurer who is personally doing many of the duties we’ve discussed above. It’s also possible in very large nonprofit organizations, to find a treasurer that's doing nothing. That’s not good! So, if you're serving in the treasurer role, be sure that you are aware of,  involved in, and knowledgeable about, each of the responsibilities we've discussed here today. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of nonprofit treasurer duties, but it’s a good start.  I hope it'll get you going in the right direction. Make sure you've got a capable and experienced person in the treasurer seat in your organization. If this has been helpful to you, then I want to point you to my free Financial Task Checklist that can help you to automate and simplify the financial tasks that happen every week, month, and year.

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