Question: Who is responsible for financial decisions?

An issue has come up in our PTO about advancing money in full for events. I need to know who besides the treasurer is responsible for all funds that pass through the PTO.

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Advice from PTO Today

Elly writes:

Each of your PTO’s officers has fiduciary responsibility when it comes to running your group and overseeing your parent group’s finances. That means all of their financial decisions should be in the best interests of the group’s members. Parents at the school trust your board to make sound spending decisions based on the group’s mission statement.

Ultimate responsibility for the PTO’s accounts in practice falls to the treasurer and president, typically the two individuals with signing authority on the group’s checking account.

Regarding money advances for any activity or event, the proper procedure begins with board approval of the budget allowance for the activity. With that budget figure in mind, the committee chair makes purchases for the event and submits all receipts for reimbursement. Committee chairs shouldn’t exceed their budgets unless they have requested that additional funding from the board already. (Chairpeople should never eat an expense, either; not reporting all expenditures means your leaders may underestimate the actual amount needed to fund the activity again.)

Elly also wants to reiterate the importance of keeping a good paper trail whenever any money changes hands. Whether your chairwoman requires a cash box to collect raffle money or a check to pay the DJ at an event, be sure these transactions are well-documented in your group’s files. The records will be invaluable to next year’s chairpeople and your treasurer when planning the budget.

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