Understanding the Finance Committee

by Linda Besink, Treasurer, Finance Committee, Chair

I believe the world is populated with two kinds of people: those who love numbers, and those who haven’t discovered their magic yet.

Trust me, JAG is not doing business in millions of dollars… at least not yet.  But do you know what follows a million, a billion, and a trillion?  Much like the names of our months, they are: a quadrillion, a quintillion, a sextillion, a septillion, an octillion, a nonillion, and a decillion.

Every time the JAG monthly finance reports come together, there is a thrill (yes, I said thrill!) and a nod to the process.  Although an accounting background is not a requirement to serve on the JAG Finance Committee, in my role as Treasurer it really does help to have an innate love of numbers.  Thank goodness I am lucky enough to be able to use that in day-to-day operations.

The Finance Committee is an important committee.  The Treasurer is the chair, with the President, Vice President, and chairs of the other standing committees (Production, and External Relations) as members.  Also, any member in good standing may serve on Finance as well as any other committee.

The JAG Treasurer has a defined place in the organization’s Bylaws and in the Policies & Procedures documents.  The responsibilities and requirements of the office are specifically detailed therein.  These include:

  • Banking.  All JAG accounts are maintained and reported monthly.  Maintenance of QuickBooks and PayPal are included in the banking function.
  • Committee Reporting.  The Finance Committee meets monthly on the first Tuesday unless it becomes necessary to move the date.  All financial reports are given a recap and review; this is why you do not need an accounting background to serve on the Finance Committee – just common sense.  The reports are then brought to the Executive Committee for their monthly meetings to review and for any questions and answers.
  • State and Federal filings.  An Annual Report is filed to the State of New Jersey.  This is a very simple filing, which serves mainly to let the State know that JAG is still a viable entity and continues to conduct business.  JAG’s CPA firm assists us in preparing and filing our annual Federal tax returns.  Finally, any 1099 reporting is done through QuickBooks.

JAG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.  Did you know that nonprofits’ financial information is public knowledge, and can be accessed by anyone?  One website you can use is www.guidestar.org .  You can also check the IRS website at https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/  to find the nonprofit in which you’re interested.

  • Contact Information.  The Treasurer keeps track of dues payments and other operations noted above, so a list of members is kept current, as well as other important contacts.
  • Budgets and Dues Invoicing.  Budgets for all standing committees are prepared in the final quarter of each year, for introduction (January) and approval (February).  Additionally, the annual Conference and JAG Awards budgets are worked out as the information becomes available.  Dues invoices are emailed to members in December, for renewal of membership in the coming calendar year.  Dues payments are followed up on during the year.
  • Expenses.  All expenses are paid through the Treasurer.  Checks are co-signed by the President.

In addition to all the above, the Treasurer issues a new password for the members-only section of the website, annually on June 1, to all members in good standing.  If you need this password, please contact the JAG Treasurer at lbesink@gmail.com .

The JAG Treasurer also works closely with the Membership Committee, keeping the membership list current and up-to-date and following up on dues payments during the year.

Back to the wonderful world of numbers!  Did you know that a temperature of -40° is the same in Celsius as it is in Fahrenheit?  Or that most of the mathematical symbols we use every day were not even invented until the 16th century?  Maybe you know that there are so many ways to shuffle a simple deck of playing cards, that when you shuffle your deck, chances are that exact order of cards never existed before in history! Numbers are everywhere.  We use them all the time, by necessity.  Numbers are logical and perfect.  So it’s probably best to think in terms of their allure and their power.