Question: Debit Card for PTOs

Currently, our PTO checking account requires only one signature to validate a check. Also, our PTO also has a debit card in the name of our treasurer. When one of the committee chairs needs to make an authorized purchase for a project, the debit card is borrowed from the treasurer. Neither one of these accounting practices seems prudent. Any advise?

Asked by Bruce Sanford



Advice from PTO Today

lharac writes:
Having only one signature on a check is definitely taking an unnecessary risk. By requiring two signatures, you protect the PTO and your officers—it prevents any one person from wiping out the bank account, and it also shares the responsibility for spending decisions. There are several other important financial policies your group should be following, as well; check out the article "5 Smart Financial Controls" for more details. As for the debit card—if it's linked directly to the bank account, you are essentially giving the committee chairs an all-access pass to PTO funds. Imprudent? You bet. Instead, what about using a completely separate, refillable bank card? This would allow your treasurer to add money as needed, and the committee chairs would have a preset spending limit built in.

Community Advice

withac writes:
The debit card is a bad idea. If the PIN is also being shared, this creates a huge liability for the treasurer whose name is attached to the card. The refillable bank card sounds like a good solution. Our bank will not validate two signatures on checks without substantial fees, but our PTO two signatures as an internal validation. So even if the bank is not looking at it, whoever does the monthly audit is.

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