A few simple financial controls can protect your parent group’s bank account as well as your volunteers who are handling money:
Accept cash at one place only. For carnivals and similar events, sell tickets at a single pay station. The fewer people who handle money, the better.
Create a paper trail. Always use paper receipts for cash transactions. For carnivals, tally each sale and compare the number of tickets taken at each booth with the total dollars collected.
Work in pairs. Always have two people present whenever cash is being collected or counted. After the cash is counted, have each counter initial a form certifying how much money is being turned over to the treasurer.
Make deposits immediately. Never let cash—or checks, for that matter—sit for a few days. Funds should be deposited as soon as they’re turned over to the treasurer. If your event is at night, lock the money in the school safe and deposit it the next morning.
Keep it simple. Never take IOUs. Never mingle parent group cash with your own. Don’t ever deposit PTO money in your account, then write a check to the group for the same amount. And never float a loan to the group, then take the money out of cash receipts as repayment.
Cover yourself. Get bonding insurance for your group. It’s well worth the cost. You can find insurance information at ptotoday.com/insurance.