Girlguiding is a charity, and as such we need to make sure that the money we receive in our units is looked after properly and spent in a way that benefits the girls as much as possible. To help us do this, your District Commissioner will be asking to see a copy of your unit accounts for 2017 in the coming weeks.
We know that unit finances can be a source of worry for some volunteers, so here are some guidelines to help you manage your unit funds with as little stress as possible!
1. Unit Bank Accounts
Each unit should have its own bank or building society account.
All accounts should have at least two signatories and require any two signatories to sign cheques/authorise payments.
It is often a good idea to add your District Commissioner as a signatory on your bank account. This will allow her to step in and help you with the bank account if you get stuck or if you have a change of leaders.
2. Unit Accounts
Your unit should keep a record of the amount of money you receive and the amount you spend, together with any receipts. You may designate one member of your team to look after the accounts, or you can appoint a unit treasurer to help you.
Your accounts can be recorded however you like. Some units use a spreadsheet, whilst some keep a paper account book. Use whichever method works best for you.
Girlguiding has produced a accounts template that you might find useful. You can find this on the unit finance page of the Girlguiding website. However you don’t have to use this if you would prefer to use your own method.
3. Verifying Your Unit Accounts
Once a year, your accounts need to be checked and signed by an external verifier. This does not have to be a qualified accountant or bookkeeper. It can be anyone who is comfortable with numbers and is happy to check that your receipts match the amounts recorded in your accounts.
Your external verifier cannot be:
- Another member of your unit team
- A member of your family
- A member of someone in your unit team’s family
If you are having difficulty finding an external verifier, please contact your District Treasurer, who can act as your external verifier, if necessary.
4. Submitting Your Accounts
Once your accounts have been verified, you should send a copy to your District Commissioner. She will let you know if she has any questions.
Your District Commissioner’s job is to check that you have produced accounts and that the amounts you are spending are in line with the aims of Girlguiding.
Your District Commissioner is also responsible for ensuring that all units have sufficient funds. If you unit funds are very low, or very high, she may be in touch with you to discuss how to address this.
5. Unit Treasurer Role
Some units appoint a unit treasurer who is not a member of their unit team.
Unit treasurers need to complete a DBS check, as they are handling money that belongs to the charity. They should also be recorded on GO as a member of your team so that your District Commissioner can contact them directly if there are any queries.
If you have a unit treasurer who is not on GO, or if you would like to appoint someone new, please contact your District Commissioner.
6. Legitimate Unit Expenses
The money your unit receives from the girls, donations, gift aid and easyfundraising can be used for anything that benefits the girls and allows the unit to run smoothly.
This might include (but is not limited to):
- Materials for activities
- Badges, certificates etc
- Hall hire
- Subsidising trips out
- Subsidising fees for girls in financial hardship
- Volunteer transport to and from meetings
- Thank you gifts for volunteers
- Thank you gifts for visitors who run an activity for the girls
- Professional fees for visitors who run an activity for the girls
If you are worried about whether it is ok to claim something as an expense, please contact your District Commissioner, who will be able to advise you.
7. Getting Help
We don’t want any of our volunteers to worry about money or their unit accounts.
If you have any questions, problems or concerns, please contact your District Commissioner.
The District may be able to provide financial assistance to your unit, or to an individual girl or leader in your unit in cases of financial hardship. No one should be excluded from taking part in Girlguiding, at any level, due to lack of money.
If the District is unable to help, your District Commissioner will help you apply for funds or a unit loan from Bath Division, or to Somerset North County.
The earlier we know about financial problems, the better we are able to help, so please let your District Commissioner know as soon as possible if there is a problem, or if you think your unit might be running into financial difficulties.