Question: So many questions - Audit, book balancing and help!

I'm the President of our PTO and this is my first year in this position. Last year I was president-elect, however, there was absolutely no guiding or teaching during that period.) Our previous president (was in the position for four years) wanted to remain on the board and has become our treasurer after her speech to the parents that a seasoned PTO board member is the only person who should step into the treasurer position. While I disagree with her statement - she was elected in. While I was in the president-elect position I became suspicious of the finances because they were never discussed at the pto meetings (only an estimate of what we had in the account was read) and the books were always "forgotten" at home by the previous-treasurer (who also happened to be the previous-presidents best friend.) Without going into all the drama, I have had a few parents request an audit of the books because they believe she is stealing from the PTO. Her "stealing" not only includes monetary funds but also craft items, cameras, ink cartridges and other misc. items (she runs a home daycare.) I don't want to point any fingers nor do I want to make false accusations but I feel the same way as the parents who have contacted me. My question is how do we approach an audit and how far back can we go?

Asked by Tabitha0324



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
If possible, it would be worthwhile speaking with the school district's attorney for advice. You're situation sounds fairly complex -- you'll need an accountant who is trained in fraud investigation. One simple first step you can take is to get copies of the account records from your bank. Often it's fairly easy to tell at a glance that something questionable has been going on -- lots of checks written by the treasurer to herself, for example. Here's a link to an article with advice on what to do if you suspect someone is stealing from the PTO. Scroll down to the section titled "What to do if you suspect financial fraud." Best wishes, and please let us know how things turn out. I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation.

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