pexels-photo-1311518The volunteer treasurer is a key office bearer for most nonprofits. When individuals are new to the role, the duties and responsibilities associated with it are typically overwhelming. This is one of the main reasons why it’s so hard to recruit a replacement. Once you’ve found a suitable candidate, it will take some time to bring them up to speed on the position; and, quite often, this can be very disrupting to your nonprofit.

The following are a few steps NFPs can take to ease the transition and ensure its success.

Update the Financial Management and Procedures Manual

Ideally, your nonprofit will have a manual that explains the role and provides an overview of the tasks and duties that your new treasurer will be responsible for completing. Ask your current treasurer to update it before they leave.

If one doesn’t exist, have your finance committee work together with your new treasurer to create one once they have settled into the position. Going forward, task the treasurer with keeping it current so that if something unexpected should happen, a replacement would be able to quickly access this information and use it as a resource.

Offer Software Training

If your NFP uses bookkeeping software or spreadsheets to manage the finances and complete their work, it’s very important that your new treasurer becomes familiar and competent with its use. Schedule a training session or two to show your new treasurer how to use all the programs that they will need to do the job well.  Make sure that these systems have been updated to allow the new treasurer to be able to login with their own credentials, and that they have administrative privileges on the appropriate systems.

Update Bank Records

Your new treasurer will need to be added as a signatory to the appropriate accounts, and your old treasurer’s name will need to be removed. The old treasurer should also present the replacement treasurer with all of the nonprofit’s chequebooks, as well as bank statements, purchase order books and receipts books. They should also hand over all pertinent information about the NFP’s petty cash system and relevant details about all other cash control policies and financial practices.

Bring Them Up to Speed on the Budget and Other Financials

Your new treasurer will need a copy of your current and former budgets, notes and minutes from the finance committee, and information from any board meetings and actions that relate to your NFP’s finances and operations. This means they will need a copy of all your nonprofit’s financial statements, official audit reports, reconciliations, and any notes or other supporting documents.

Provide them with the documentation for any grants, and details of any contracts, so that they know when to expect income from grants to be received, and when bills from maintenance and other agreements, such as subscriptions, will need to be paid.

Schedule a Meeting between the Treasurers

Your outgoing treasurer has a lot of knowledge about your organisation’s finances, as well as insider information about your NFP’s culture and way of doing things. Therefore, you want to take some steps to help them convey what they know to their replacement. Arrange for your old treasurer to meet with your incoming one to ensure a smooth handover.

If possible, try to schedule an overlap between the two, so that your new treasurer has a chance to work directly with the outgoing one. Encourage the two treasurers to work together for a period while the new one becomes more accustomed to their duties and tasks and more capable of fulfilling the role well. Ask your exiting treasurer to remain on call for a short period of time to be available to answer any questions that your new one may have.

Use the ATO’s Handover Checklist to Keep Your New Treasurer on Track

The Australian Tax Office has compiled a handy checklist for not-for-profit administrators to help NFPs ease the transition between treasurers. Use it to make sure that nothing is forgotten in the hustle and bustle, and that your new treasurer has all of the information that they need, right at their fingertips, to oversee your financial performance and safeguard your data.

Offer Continued Support

Your nonprofit may also wish to consider delegating some recordkeeping and administrative tasks, at least in the early days, until your new treasurer becomes more comfortable performing their role. Offer continued support as needed as they become more capable with the use of software and other programs.

Have your outgoing treasurer contact them again before the first board meeting to see if they need additional advice about the reports and other information that they will need to present to the board. If the outgoing treasurer is not available to do so, then have the board chair or other board member follow up with them to ensure that they have everything that they need to fulfill the functions and requirements of the position.