After creating a budget, your organization can stay on the path to successfully achieving its goals if it maintains and sticks to the planned budget. This budget must be accurate at all times and document all incomes and expenses. Building good fiscal responsibility starts with staying within the initially set budget, and these skills will help greatly with future financial planning. It is critical for your organization’s treasurer or finance chair to keep an updated excel spreadsheet to help track the flow of funds through your organization.
While it is the financial officer’s job to manage monetary affairs, it is also wise to have other members of your organization who understand its financial operations. Those who create events and programs or otherwise spend money should understand the organization’s financial standings to aid in successful planning. A lack of such awareness could result in overspending or mismanaged funds, and having more members who understand financial operations helps mitigate this risk.
The flexibility of your budget is also another factor to consider. Always have a contingency plan for events that require funds. A budget should be able to change and evolve throughout its term if an organization feels as though it would like to purchase something or add an activity that wasn’t in the original plans. In this case the budget will have to be worked again to compensate for these revenue streams and you might end up subtracting from one area to cover another if your members feel the need to do so. Keep in mind, if an event that received SOFC funding happens to be cancelled, these funds would have to be returned. Similarly, it after soliciting donations your group finds it necessary to change plans, it is a good idea to inform the donors that their money is being repurposed.
Key things to remember when managing a budget:
- Establish and maintain a minimum balance at all times appropriate for your organization’s needs
- Create a set of general guidelines and procedures to facilitate a smooth operation while maintaining internal control, such as a procedure for approving expenses
- Keep carefully detailed and safely documented records of all financial transactions
- Double check personal budget records with those of bank/UCAE accounts to ensure accuracy