I was humbled to be recently invited to be a panel member for the Office of Sport’s Financial Management Forum, held at Olympic Park in Sydney.
The main purpose of the Forum was for State Sporting Organisations (SSOs) to be presented with the Financial Management Toolkit that has been developed by the Office of Sport in conjunction with Pitcher Partners, an audit and business advisory firm. While I am generally quite sceptical about guides provided by people outside of sport, this toolkit has obviously been developed keeping the sport in mind and I believe could be used by those associations and clubs run by volunteers as a guidebook on what treasurers should be considering and presenting at their regular board meetings to keep everyone informed.
The forum also has me reflecting on my past experience as a volunteer treasurer (in another smaller sport) and the problems small associations face in meeting their financial obligations – many of these struggles are faced by our smaller volunteer-led Basketball Associations on a regular basis.
In small associations or clubs, you only tend to become a treasurer for 1 of 2 reasons:
- You have financial experience and get asked to be treasurer; or
- When the position becomes vacant, or any board position in that matter, your association struggles to get people being nominated so you feel obliged to do it because you love your sport so much
Both of these types of treasurers are incredible and are often the backbone of the association – they need to be across EVERYTHING that is going on now and, in the future, to be able to manage the finances effectively. The struggles faced by both are generally the same:
- Not enough time to do the role properly, as required by many regulatory bodies (ATO, OFT, OoS) and for their Board
- How to present financials in a way that makes sense to the rest of the Board
- Keeping track of who owes the association money
- Keeping on top of bills/spending money at the right time
- Understanding how to set a budget
I could write pages and pages on each of these, and what you could do to make your volunteer life a little bit easier, and give you time back to enjoy playing yourself or watching your kids play. For this blog, I’ll keep it brief but please contact me if you want to talk further about any of these.
The never-ending issue that we all have. When I became a volunteer treasurer, my club had been using spreadsheets to keep on top of financials. This is fine if you want to spend hours each week downloading your bank statement and allocating to categories. I know when a big comp was coming up or it was the start of the season, I would easily spend the majority of my weekend getting these up to date with regos, or deposit payments etc. It then takes additional time to keep on track on struggles 2, 3 and 4 above. They key here to getting some of your time back is to use online programs. Most online programs now integrate with your online banking by bringing transactions straight into the software and allowing you to allocate to categories straight away. This then gives you push button financials (rather than you spending even more time on income and expenditure statements). Online platforms usually also have push-button reports for GST and payroll reporting (if applicable). There are free platforms such as wave apps (www.waveapps.com) or tidy club (www.tidyhq.com) which offer simple solutions or if you want more thorough and slightly less “clunky” transactions and reporting and happy to spend some $, try Xero (www.xero.com) or MYOB (www.myob.com). As not for profits, your association can get a significant discount to the monthly fee on both of these.
FINANCIAL PRESENTATION TO BOARD
Unless your Board is full of accountants or penny pinchers, I guarantee you that they won’t either understand financial reports or be that interested in them. All they will want to know is that your association is making money and not losing it, and perhaps who owes you money and who your association owes money to. Many smaller associations may also want to know that you are making enough money or have enough money in the bank as a contingency for the following year if something goes wrong. This generally should be enough money to cover your costs for a year if you are a small association i.e. court hire, coaches, uniforms, balls.
Using online platforms, you can quickly print an income and expenditure statement, showing if you are making money, a debtors report, showing who owes you money, and a creditors report, showing who you owe money to. This would max be 5 minutes of your time. This is assuming that you enter bills as you receive them and enter sales to players etc as you start new comps, training blocks etc. Which leads into points 3 and 4.
WHO OWES YOU MONEY AND WHO DO YOU OWE MONEY
Who you owe money to is easy – make sure you record bills as soon as they come in, and pay them when they become due. If you are trying to manage the cash in the bank, there is no need to pay early but pay in the week as the bill becomes due. Most bills have due dates or payment terms so your supplier will expect to receive the cash around that time. For small associations, you can probably time it so you pay bills once or twice a month.
Ideally, every time you charge a member a fee for anything at all, you should enter a sales invoice. Practically this doesn’t work especially if you take pay as you go payments for training/game fees each week. It becomes painful. However, you should record sales invoices for members if there is a one-off payment to come e.g. payment for 12 weeks of training, payment for a uniform. On most platforms, this will allow you to generate a report showing who still owes you $ at any point and can send auto-reminders on your behalf.
I’ll keep this one brief as I have already written about budgets previously. Go to: https://www.bnsw.com.au/2018/02/21/setting-your-association-budget/ for an insight into simple budgets and a template that you can use.
Even just writing this, its clear that the amount of commitment, skill and value that a treasurer provides to an association is beyond incredible and associations should do more to recognise this and look at ways to make this role easier. Going back to the Office of Sport toolkit. It gives a starting point for treasurers and whilst not all of it will be relevant to your association, it’s definitely worth a read for all board members to get an understanding of what they should be looking at. To access this, go to https://sport.nsw.gov.au/clubs/rysso/financialmanagement
Here at Basketball NSW, we have simplified some financial templates that you can use for better financial management including: credit card approval form, petty cash request form and an expenses form. These are available for download below.