Keeping accurate financial records is essential for all NIGP chapters. This resource will help chapter officers effectively manage their chapter’s finances to maximize budgets and deliver the most value for chapter members.
Opening a bank account is a critical step for all chapters. Here are the steps to find and manage your chapter’s bank account.
The two primary accounts to consider for your chapter are checking and money market accounts. You should also have a credit card and debit card attached to your account(s) to make it easy for officers to conduct transactions.
You may also want to open a CD to accrue interest. If you do this, make sure you put the CD in the chapter’s name and not in an individual’s name.
Not every bank is best equipped to handle your money. Note that all banks will require an employer identification number (EIN), which can be obtained from the IRS with Form SS-4.
Before opening a new bank account for your chapter, ask the following questions:
Your treasurer may change from year to year, so make sure you select a bank that all of your members will have easy access to, not just your current treasurer.
Before opening an account, make sure you understand the procedure for changing names and signatories on the accounts. Consider having three signatures on the account instead of two to alleviate problems when one signatory is unavailable.
For transparency, it’s not a good idea to have the same person responsible for both check signing and reconciling bank statements. Finally, have a signature policy, such as one signature required for checks less than $500 and two signatures for anything over that amount.
Make sure you monitor your accounts regularly to catch any discrepancies early. Have an annual audit on chapter funds, which can be run by either a third party or chapter members who are not on the finance committee.
The internal financial controls checklist from NIGP can help chapters find weak spots in their financial management process. If your chapter already has a process in place for managing your financials, you can use this checklist to determine its thoroughness.
All chapters should have a system to securely retain financial records. Here is a suggested record retention schedule that NIGP put together for chapters. This ensures access to financial records for future needs.
Adding a debit card to your bank account can simplify making transactions.