About Branch Financial Policies
As of Feb 2004 an updated Society Branch Financial Policy was posted to the web with changes that passed in Dec 2003. These changes affect the way many of the groups in Atlantia spend their money. Current Kingdom Policy about Financial Policies is here:
It boils down to this - the money belongs to SCA, Inc - so if you would like a say in how they money is spent, you must be a member (Section V - all assets held by the SCA must be handled by a financial committee and all members of the financial committee must be paid members).
There are of course other changes. Seneschals must be on the financial committees and cash advances must now be cleared within 60 days but the above change was the biggest.
So what now? Well, most groups need to do some tweaking of their policies. I am removing most of the policies from the exchequer page and checking them carefully. As they are approved they will go back up with a date approved. New policies are due by June 1, 2004. Everyone with assets is required to have a financial committee and thus a policy.So what should be in a policy?
The basic idea is to take the Society Branch Financial policy (SBFP), Kingdom Law and the Kingdom of Atlantia Financial Policy, decide what is different for your group and write your financial policy as an ADDENDUM to those. Ideally the group financial policy should not have to be rewritten every time societyís is because you copied all of societyís wording verbatim. It can be stricter than Atlantian law or policy or than Society policy but it may not go against these documents.
Redundant - "Group x will have 2 signature checks with the tax ID # etc..."Step 1. Note what supercedes your policy:
SBFP already states this - why repeat it.
BAD - "Group x would like the Baronage to be signatories on the account" - this doesnít violate Corpora or SBFP but it does violate Atlantian Policy. You may NOT be less strict than your own laws and policy.
"1.1 This Policy is superceded by: Kingdom Exchequer Policy, Kingdom Financial Policy, Kingdom Law, Society Exchequer Policy, Corpora, State, and Federal Law.
1.2 This Policy shall be accepted by a majority vote of the financial committee and replace all previous financial policies and may be amended or replaced by a majority vote of the financial committee. It may be reviewed at any group meeting."
Or something like this, youíll start off knowing what the rules are and how to change them.
Next you need to know what your financial committee is. This is important as the new SBFP changes this for many Atlantian groups.
Step 2. Financial Committee Section:
This document should also note how your groupís financial committee functions. Financial committees must have (1) the exchequer and a legal representative (seneschal) (2) how many votes are needed to approve (majority, quorum, etc) and what to do in case of a tie (3) the where, who, when, how of meeting and voting (curias etc.) (4) the conditions and quorum for emergency voting and any approval limits and ratification by the group after the fact (5) financial committee responsibilities budget approval, allocation of funds, preapproval of budgets etc., advance notice for large purchases (6) requirements to approve changes to financial policy (7) if public meetings, where and how often and how publicized.
Each group spends money differently. Some groups have a small financial committee of a few officers and some have the entire paid member populace that shows up at the meeting act as the financial committee.
FAQ: Can I still have the populace be the financial committee?Step 3. Outside Exchequer Responsibilities Section:
You could IF they are paid members (and includes the exchequer and seneschal). BUT this is now YOUR logistical problem. How you want to put people in groups and figure out who is a valid paid member for voting purposes is now a group decision.
NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO GO AHEAD AND WRITE DOWN THE LOGISTICS OF HOW YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS! So yes, write down how you all decided to verify who are current paid members for financial voting purposes in your policy!
FAQ: We have a financial committee and we only get a populace vote for large purposes. This is okay right?
Maybe. You have still made the populace a part of the financial committee by asking them to vote on financial issues. It WOULD be okay if you come back and ask only the paid members of the populace (the ad hoc populace financial committee so to speak) to vote. But again this becomes your logistical problem now.
Again, go ahead and write down the logistics you decided on for verifying that only current paid members participate in financial votes!
Your groupís policy must delineate how your group spends its money.
Event steward and autocrat responsibilities - delineate how to deal with the financial committee, how to set up a budget for approval, how to run gate/troll, what to do about budge overages etc. It is always a good idea to remind people that the groupís exchequer is not required to run troll but to help make sure someone is trained in cash handling procedures for your group. Then the troll can act as a deputy to the exchequer for the event. The methods your group chooses to handle these responsibilities should be defined in this section. This is the place to set up how your group handles refunds for events, when receipts are due from events, and whether an event profit must be made for overages or refunds to be paid out.
Step 4. Special Funds Section:
This is where you note how long are funds kept and where a fund goes if it is unused. You may have permanent or temporary funds (PO Box rental, new equipment or repair funds are some examples). Note - for fundraising, the funds must be used for what they were raised and a secondary fund must be listed as backup by the financial committee (SBFP).
Example: Barony of Someplace, SCA Inc Fundraiser - Proceeds to go to new grill for kitchen tent - any excess proceeds will go to general fund!
This lets people know that a grill is to be bought and that if the fund is exceeded that the money will still be given to the Barony but that the extra money will go to the general baronial fund.