A Treasurer's Life

By Peter Golby

crtoon of treasurer typing

Now I am as happy as the next man to talk about myself and my work, so I was delighted to accept the editor's invitation to submit a piece for Newsleaf on my efforts as Treasurer. But she left me with a major problem. Having spent many years as a Physics teacher. I am only too familiar with the symptoms of boredom; so if, like me, you find the discipline of accountancy about as exciting as yesterday's mashed potatoes or a storyline from "he Archers",

Please stop reading this now.
Wait until around eleven o'clock tonight. Pour yourself a small whisky or make a mug of cocoa, if that is what you prefer, dim the lights, ease yourself into your favourite armchair and put your feet up.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I will begin.

Newly retired, I joined the committee in 1994 as Minutes Secretary. But a few months later the job of Treasurer fell vacant so I took on that job as well, on a temporary basis. "What do you prefer?'' 1 was asked. "Treasurer or Secretary?" "Secretary", I replied. So that is how I became the Treasurer of the Friends of Storeton Woods.

Our financial year ends on 31 December so as soon as I have received the necessary bank statements in early January, I must start work on the annual accounts. In 2007 we received 552 separate items of income and made 55 separate payments. These must all be collated and totalled and the books must be balanced to the nearest penny. (Thank goodness for the computer.) Above left you see me hurriedly printing the draft annual accounts for presentation to the committee during our meeting held in the second week of January. (Goodness! Do you see what the time is? It looks like it's after midnight 1) The committee give me their considered views on the accounts during the February meeting and I am then able to take an agreed version, together with all my other documents to 'Mr A White, whom I have always found to be very thorough and helpful, for an independent examination. Having passed that hurdle, I can then sign the accounts on behalf of the whole committee during our March meeting, for presentation at the AGM.

cartoon of treasurer running with paperworkEach year I make a claim under the Gift wad Scheme. This involves identifying (and totalling) all those contributions that have been made by individuals who have sent me Gift Aid Forms - 240 of them in 2007. A cheque for around £500 from HM Revenue & Customs seems a reasonable return for a few hours' work, but a surprisingly high proportion of charities do not apparently consider the effort worthwhile.

Top tip for an aspiring untrained Treasurer?Never rely on your memory, always get things in writing.
Most irksome part of the job'? Ensuring you don't lose those bits of paper!
Most pleasing part of the job?Receiving a pile of cheques in the morning post. (Even though they are not made out to me, they are concrete evidence as to how much the Woods are appreciated by our members.)

Did you enjoy your drink" Feeling sleepy? Good. Don't forget to check you've locked the front door and have switched all the lights out before you go up.