Question: Treasurer not keeping proper documentation

The treasurer for my son's school is not keeping the proper documentation for deposits or disbursements. They took out a debit card so that they could purchase items online, if they wouldn't accept payment any other way. It has now been discovered that she is not only purchasing items that are not approved, but she is giving the debit card number to other committee members. I have discussed this with the President, who then jointly went with me to the Principal and VP. They are siding with the Treasurer and have said that she is doing the best she can. Aside from the principal is there anyone else I can call to remove the treasurer?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
You probably can't remove her (check your bylaws to see whether they include a mechanism for removing officers). At this point in the year you could promote another candidate and vote the current treasurer out of office. Either way, I would strongly recommend a detailed review of your books by an independent person or committee (ie not the treasurer). Check all of your bank statements against checkbook records, receipts, etc. You should be able to account for every single expenditure or at least substantially all of it. If you have a large amount of money unaccounted for, you'll know you have a significant problem. (By the way, you should be doing this every year, regardless.) Giving out the debit card number to several people is a big risk. If you can't change that policy, then at least make sure there's a system in place to track these expenditures. People who use the card should be submitting a form describing the purchase with a receipt attached. And -- this is very important -- you should have at least two people (the treasurer and someone else) reviewing the bank statement in detail every month to make sure there are no unaccounted for expenditures. For online purchases, you can limit your risk by setting up a PayPal account with a specific amount of money in it. If you have $500 in your PayPal account, your risk is $500. If your debit card is attached to your only bank account, your risk is every dollar you have in the bank. As for unauthorized expenditures, the board needs to sit down and put some rules into place. When can the treasurer use her own judgment, and when must an expenditure be authorized? Sometimes last minute needs do come up, so it makes sense that she have some leeway. Perhaps you want all expenditures over a certain amount ($25, say) to be preapproved. We have two articles that I recommend you share with the board: 5 Smart Financial Controls and Annual Audit: How and Why. Good luck -- I hope you can get some changes made.

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