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Finance Best Practices

Handling Money
While most units don't have large budgets or handle large amounts of money, it's still important to handle the money properly. Doing so makes life easier for leaders and prevents possible misuse of funds.

Bank Account
The bank account is established by the chartered organization and is the responsibility of the treasurer to maintain. The treasurer approves all budget expenditures and checks all disbursements against budget allowances. Larger amounts should not be spent without committee approval. Bills should be paid by check and countersigned by any two of the following: unit leader, committee chair, secretary or treasurer.

Establishing a Bank Account
There are two ways in which a bank account may be established based on the nature of the charter organization and its level of cooperation:

Preferred
The preferred situation is for the chartered organization to establish a bank account associated with its organization in the name of the unit, and then grant signature rights to those in the unit as necessary. This method makes clear that the ownership of the assets is the chartered organization, but it allows unit leadership appropriate access to collected funds for and used by the unit exclusively. 

Acceptable
In the event the preferred approach is not possible, units may establish their own bank accounts. To do so, a unit will first need to establish a tax ID number (EIN). Most units do this by completing IRS Form SS-4. There is no fee involved. The current form and instructions are available on the IRS website (www.irs.gov). Also, the IRS now allows you to provide the information over the phone and immediately recieve a unit EIN. The IRS phone number is 800-829-4933
.

Petty Cash Fund
This money is used for making small cash purchases such as insignia and craft materials. When the unit leader has spend the amount, receipted bills are turned in to the treasurer, and another small amount of petty cash is issued. The procedure saves time.

Ownership of Assets
The unit committee is the custodian of all unit funds. However, all assets of the unit are the property of the chartered organization for the purpose to be used on Scouting activities.


Collecting Dues and Keeping Records
Scouts must be expected to keep their dues payments up-to-date. They should be kept informed of their dues status, and both they and their parents should be advised of nonpayment. A unit can encourage good money management by helping Scouts to learn to meet their obligations.

Some units collect dues on a monthly basis and still adhere to this system and its benefits. Annual collection of dues is not recommended by the BSA for these reasons: (1) Annual dues are large enough to prohibit some boys from joining, and (2) such collection usually means that parents pay the dues and the boy loses the sense of responsibility and the training that comes from paying dues weekly.

The record system described below has worked satisfactorily for a great many years in thousands of units.

  1. At each meeting, the treasure collects dues from members, puts them in an envelope, and records the amount paid and the Scout's name on the face of the envelope. 
  2. The treasurer collects the envelope, checks the amount in each, and records the amount paid.
  3. The treasurer posts the amount of income from dues to a ledger and deposits the funds in the unit's bank account. The unit committee also checks the treasurers' records from time to time.

Camp Savings Plan
Not Scout has to miss summer camp because of cost. A systematic savings plan will ensure the member of your unit of a camp experience. A member of the unit committee or some other adult should coordinate this effort.

Encourage families to deposit money in to unit accounts towards summer camp costs. Those who have most of their fee on deposit by spring are usually able to get the balance and this attend camp.

Successful camping units vigorously promote the camp savings plan. Encourage your members to earn their own funds for summer camp. Suggest projects are: unit sponsored dinners, paper drives, aluminum can drives, car wash, lawn care, paper routes. 

Encourage parents and relatives to give their Scout a week at camp or partial camp fee for a birthday gift, Christmas present or other special recognition.