Treasurer’s Message

Shawn Welch

PORAC Treasurer

April is always a fun month for everyone. In doing research on what to write about, I looked up all the holidays in April. I discovered there is a holiday for just about everything. What does this have to do with being a treasurer or money? I will answer that after listing out the holidays.

April 1: April Fools’ Day, Major League Baseball Opening Day, Maundy Thursday and National Burrito Day. April 2: Good Friday, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, and World Autism Awareness Day. April 3: National Find a Rainbow Day and World Party Day. April 4: Easter, International Carrot Day, National Hug a Newsperson Day, Qingming Festival and Tell a Lie Day. April 5: National Deep Dish Pizza Day. April 6: National Siamese Cat Day, National Sorry Charlie Day, National Student Athlete Day, National Tartan Day and New Beer’s Eve. April 7: National Beer Day, National No Housework Day, National Walking Day and World Health Day. April 8: National Empanada Day. April 9: National Name Yourself Day, National Unicorn Day and National Winston Churchill Day. April 10: National Hug Your Dog Day and National Siblings Day. April 11: National Barbershop Quartet Day, National Eight-Track Tape Day, National Pet Day and National Submarine Day. April 12: National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. April 13: International Be Kind to Lawyers Day, National Make Lunch Count Day, National Peach Cobbler Day and National Scabble Day. April 14: National Ex-Spouse Day, National Gardening Day and National Look Up at the Sky Day. April 15: National High Five Day, National Laundry Day and Tax Day. April 16: National Eggs Benedict Day, National Librarian Day, Selena Day and Wear Pajamas to Work Day. April 17: Husband Appreciation Day, International Bat Appreciation Day, International Haiku Poetry Day and National Cheese Ball Day. April 18: National Animal Crackers Day, National Lineman Appreciation Day and National Velociraptor Awareness Day. April 19: National Garlic Day. April 20: Chinese Language Day, National Look-Alike Day and National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day. April 21: Administrative Professionals Day, National Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day, National Kindergarten Day, National Tea Day and Tiradentes Day. April 22: Earth Day and National Jelly Bean Day. April 23: Day of Silence, National Cherry Cheesecake Day, National Picnic Day, National Take a Chance Day, St. George’s Day, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and World Book Day. April 24: National Pigs in a Blanket Day and National Skipping Day. April 25: Anzac Day, Kiss and Make Up Day, National DNA Day, National Drug Take Back Day, National Hairstylist Appreciation Day, National Hug a Plumber Day, National Pet Parents Day, National Telephone Day and World Malaria Day. April 26: National Pretzel Day. April 27: National Prime Rib Day. April 28: International Guide Day, National Blueberry Pie Day, National Superhero Day and Stop Food Waste Day. April 29: International Dance Day and National Shrimp Scampi Day. April 30: Honesty Day, International Jazz Day, National Arbor Day, National Bubble Tea Day, National Hairball Awareness Day and National Raisin Day.

As leaders of our associations, we like to do things for our members — building a union hall or holding barbecues, paint nights, appreciation days … basically, any reason to have a party. All of these celebrations cost money, some much more than others, but little things can add up to a lot in a short period of time. Recently my association started to give an annual amount of money to one group, because every special day, they requested money so the department could do something for the members. I am all about having an appreciation day, but if you did something for every appreciation day, you would never have a week without a party — and shame on you if one appreciation day party or gift was better than another. In the end, everyone would be mad and blame you for the whole thing. So do we just not do anything? No, start a committee and assign it to come up with celebrations throughout the year, budget for the events and don’t allow any other appreciation days.

Have a wonderful April and try out some of the fun holidays listed above. They might just become an annual event for you.

Treasurer’s Message

Shawn Welch

PORAC Treasurer

Two months down for 2021. While writing this article, the stock market is hitting new heights, the governor is getting close to being recalled, the majority of the state is still in the purple tier of COVID restrictions and the second impeachment trial for former President Trump has concluded. And we all thought 2021 was going to be less exciting.

Regarding the current financials of PORAC, here are some positives for 2020. Due to COVID and the state lockdown, PORAC was able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Which is not great, but just the reality. PORAC was able to use some of this money to pay for a portion of the furniture for the new building. PORAC also was able to put $300,000 into our investments, which is projected to grow considerably in 2021 (please refer to your broker for investment advice). As Vice President Kurtz continues to actively bring more members to join PORAC, we will continue to grow financially.

The final financial state for 2020 will be concluded soon, and hopefully, I will be able to share with you the actual numbers. I will also be able to give you an unaudited first quarter for 2021. 

Now, let’s talk about savings and checking accounts. What should we do for a bank account? The short answer would be a checking and savings account. At the least, all associations should have a business or corporation checking account. These types of accounts usually have a lot more paperwork to sign and rules on how the finances are distributed. One important difference is a business checking account (should) require multiple signatures on all checks. An important reason for having a business account is that association money is not tied to the treasurer or other association members. Regarding savings, we all know that a savings account is going to make little to nothing in interest. But if you do not have any money in investments, it is a good place to start.

Treasurer’s Message

Shawn Welch
PORAC Treasurer

So you were elected to be the treasurer for your association and you have attended your first board meeting. During the meeting, you gave a treasurer’s report to the board and they more than likely voted to approve the report. For many treasurers, this report is extremely simple because you have a checking account and possibly a savings account. There is not a lot of money moving from the association to other businesses or bills. So does this mean that the treasurer and board should not worry about having rules on the duties of the treasurer, rules on the expenditure of finances and oversight on budgeted funds?

The simple answer is, of course you should worry. Without rules, regulations and policies regarding the financials of an association, you are asking for problems.

First, as treasurer, you should be able to look in the association’s bylaws and find out your duties as the elected/appointed treasurer. Usually, the section is not that long, but it outlines the great responsibilities carried by the treasurer. PORAC’s Bylaws read as follows: “The Treasurer shall be the chief financial officer responsible for ensuring compliance with the fiscal policies of these Bylaws, the Board of Directors, and Executive Committee. (S.R.).” A chief financial officer (CFO) is the officer of the company/association responsible for managing the company’s finances, including financial planning, management of financial risks, record-keeping and financial reporting. PORAC also clarifies this by stating that the CFO will ensure compliance with the Bylaws and Standing Rules. Now, most associations will not have a long list of standing rules, such as those of PORAC, but you can. According to PORAC’s Standing Rules, the treasurer’s duties include the preparation and filing of state and federal taxes, audits, financial reports (quarterly reports to the Board), keeping financial records/transactions of PORAC, expending budgeted funds and managing reimbursements. As I said before, most associations do not go this in-depth, but it might be a good idea to do so to protect the association. 

Second, as the treasurer, you should have a budget committee and possibly a financial committee. These committees would be organized by the president, and the treasurer should be the chair of the committees. The budget committee should meet at a minimum once a year to review the previous year’s expenditures and to finalize the budget for review by the board of directors. Once the board of directors approves the budget, the treasurer now has guidance to oversee and ensure compliance with the fiscal policies of the bylaws. So who checks the treasurer and board on the expenditure of the financials? This is the purpose of a financial committee. The financial committee reviews the books, vouchers and records to assure compliance with the fiscal policies of the bylaws. At the end of the year, the financial committee reports to the members of the association on its findings.

All these steps might seem like a lot of work for the treasurer and committee members. The short answer is, yes, it is a lot of work. But it is extremely important to members of any association to be informed of the financials of their organization. As leaders in small or large associations, we have a responsibility to protect the financials of the association. Any member of any association should be able to ask for the financial records of the association. And the treasurer or board of directors should be happy to share the information without worry of their actions on expenditures.

Finally, and probably the most important part, is to contact your labor representatives and ask them to review your bylaws. The following are some examples of questions that should get answered: What is my responsibility as the treasurer? Is there ability for wrongdoing? Do we need to set standing rules for reporting expenditures, financials and budgets annually? Do you know of an attorney to look over our state and federal tax requirements? There are several more questions we could all come up with — there are no stupid questions. Once you believe your bylaws are satisfactory, take all your records to a CPA or labor representative and have them review the association financials.

I truly believe that if you just spend some time reviewing your bylaws and how the financials of your association are managed, you will be much more confident as a treasurer. Stay safe and make it to retirement healthy.

Treasurer’s Message

Shawn Welch
PORAC Treasurer

Hello, fellow PORAC members. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with their family and friends.

I would like to thank everyone who has put their trust in me to be PORAC’s new treasurer. In the next two years, I look forward to being more involved in PORAC and working with the Board of Directors and PORAC staff to represent you all as the treasurer.

Throughout 2021, I plan to keep you all informed on PORAC’s financials and the essential responsibilities of an association treasurer.

PORAC’s financials encompass a wide variety of accounts, ranging from general funds to political activity to all our invested portfolios. Knowing I do not have a lot of space to write and not wanting to bore you all to death, when needed I will be giving updates on the status of the funds. If something big happens, I will try to focus on one aspect and still give the basic status of all the funds.

I would like to review the basic responsibilities of an association treasurer: the legal responsibilities you have to the association, fiduciary responsibilities to the membership and some possible issues that you can face if you do not properly handle the finances of your association. Managing the association finances is one of the biggest responsibilities a board of directors has. Strong finances allow your association to pay for charity work in your local area, conduct public outreach (political or nonpolitical), assist during contract negotiations and help out your members.

For these reasons, the directors need to ensure the proper amount of dues is being collected from the association’s members. If an association is not interested in politics (not sure why that would be), all you should need is money to pay for legal defense and negotiations at a minimum. That can cost a lot, depending on politics in your area or the legal issue. You might only need 1% to 2% of monthly salary or a flat fee from all members. Whatever you choose, it has to be sufficient to the needs of the association. It is the job of the treasurer to ensure you keep to the budget and/or request a large enough amount of money.

The directors, and especially the treasurer, need to know how to set up financial accounts that will prevent illegal activities. We have all read about associations losing money to someone because there were not redundant checks and balances on distributing money. The easiest is a dual signature on checks. This means two people have to sign the check and agree to the distribution of the money. Other steps are monthly or quarterly audits or reconciliation of the accounts.

The above are just a few of the basics of being a treasurer for an association. Over the next year, I will be covering these in greater detail and having question-and-answer interviews with financial organizations PORAC uses. Hopefully, it will be informative and helpful to you as members and association leaders.