Nonprofit Board Treasurer: More Than a Bookkeeper

Taking up the mantle of “board treasurer” is about far more than just tracking the budget. The nonprofit board treasurer role is a demanding and engaging one, with a lot of responsibility and opportunity to effect change.

A board treasurer has to be a highly trustworthy individual, as they will be responsible for producing financial statements and accounting for the organization’s funds.

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nonprofit board treasurer roles and responsiblilites

What Does a Nonprofit Board Treasurer Do?

In larger organizations, the board treasurer may be in charge of staff who will directly manage the organization’s finances. Conversely, in smaller organizations, the board treasurer is more likely to do everything on their own.

Every nonprofit organization is a little different, but the board treasurer role is usually responsible for:

  • Opening, managing, and maintaining bank accounts. If you want to know how much money the organization has in the bank, you usually need to ask the board treasurer. This also includes things like loans, credit cards, and other similar accounts.
  • Reconciling bank accounts and producing financial statements. This is the responsibility that most people are familiar with. During board meetings, the treasurer will provide and explain these financial statements.
  • Ensuring that bills are paid on time and that cash flow remains positive. The board treasurer will need to make decisions about the organization’s expenses, and will need to be aware of how much money the organization has and whether changes need to be made.
  • Investing funds in a responsible way, for the benefit of the organization. If the organization has large amounts of funds, they shouldn’t be sitting in a bank account. At the same time, the treasurer needs to consider the organization’s immediate liquidity needs.
  • Auditing the organization on an annual basis. With other board members, the treasurer will produce an audit for the organization. This will show that the organization is maintaining control over its financials.
  • Filing tax-related documents and legal forms, such as the documents required to make an organization non-taxable. The treasurer will be responsible for filling these documents out correctly and on time.

And, of course, the board treasurer will also consider the organization’s budget! If the organization is going over budget, or if its current budget is simply unsustainable, it will be the board treasurer’s responsibility to report this and to help find solutions to address the problem.

How Do You Become a Board Treasurer?

Usually, a nonprofit board treasurer should be someone who already has experience in bookkeeping or accounting — but that’s not always necessary. A board treasurer may simply be someone who is trustworthy, passionate about the organization, and willing to learn. Most entry-level positions as a board treasurer will require at least a 4-year degree.

Sometimes, rather than a sole board treasurer, there will be an entire financial board. This is more common in the case of larger organizations, which need to make more complex decisions about the organization’s financial management.

Lots of what a board treasurer does deals with the organization’s books, but the board treasurer role also includes making important decisions about the organization’s spending and investing. If you’re passionate about working for a nonprofit organization, and have a financial background, this could be the perfect role for you.

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