The role of a Board Treasurer in a nonprofit extends beyond accounting tasks to encompass strategic financial oversight, transparency, and accountability. By prioritizing timely financial reporting, active engagement in budget discussions, and promoting transparency, treasurers play a pivotal role in safeguarding the nonprofit’s financial stability and mission fulfillment.

Jackie McLaughlin, a CPA with Chazin and Company, begins by dispelling the myth that only finance professionals can serve as treasurers. She points to having common sense as the key requirement, stating, “If you can run your own personal finances, you have enough common sense to be a treasurer.” Fiduciary responsibility, often perceived as complex, is simplified as acting in the best interest of the organization, akin to a parent making decisions for their child.

Jackie outlines the treasurer’s role in financial oversight, distinguishing it from hands-on accounting work. Treasurers primarily review financial statements and budgets, asking critical questions to ensure financial health. They collaborate with finance committees and executive directors to assess budgets, review financial reports, and make strategic decisions. Jackie emphasizes the importance of timely financial reporting, advocating for monthly financial statements and quarterly board reviews to detect and address issues promptly.

Jackie also speaks to transparency and accountability in financial management, emphasizing that nonprofits must be transparent with their financial information, including making audited financials and tax returns publicly available. She encourages regular financial communication and stresses the treasurer’s role in scrutinizing budget variances and ensuring corrective action is taken when necessary, sharing a cautionary tale about the repercussions of neglecting financial discussions within the board. She recounts a scenario where a nonprofit’s financial performance declined due to the board‘s habit of hurriedly reviewing financials. Moving financial reviews to the top of the agenda led to more focused discussions and accelerated efforts to address financial challenges.

This informative session will give your nonprofit logical comfort and direction on the duties and roles of board treasurers.