The “Guide to Virtual (Online) Meetings During COVID-19” (virtual meeting guide) should be consulted in conjunction with this document so councils understand how to proceed with the disbursement of council funds. If a 2020 budget that detailed specific organizations to which funds would be given during the year and the amount was approved by motion at an in-person meeting, these donations can be made. For example, if the budget included the following donations, they can all be made.
National voluntary funds
Catholic Missions In Canada
Catholic Near East Welfare Association
ABC Homeless Shelter
St. Patrick’s soup kitchen
Chalice – sponsorship of child
St. Patrick’s Parish
If the council approved by motion a budget for 2020 that specified only a total amount available for donations (e.g. a line in the expenditures which read “Donations for 2020 - $3,000”) at an in-person meeting then, if holding an online meeting, the procedures outlined in the virtual meeting guide must be followed to make the specific donations.
If the council did not approve a budget for 2020 and is not meeting in-person, follow the procedure outlined in the virtual meeting guide. Donations to several organizations, specifying the amount for each, can be made as one “item” submitted for acceptance.
A budget for 2021 should be prepared and presented at a virtual council meeting. Follow the procedure for submission of “items” in the virtual meeting guide. If the budget is approved “for recommendation,” then expenses incurred in 2021 can be paid when required. Donations can be made as explained in the first two points above.
Normally, a budget would not contain the specific organizations’ names to which contributions would be made but would instead have a total budgeted amount for donations. This allows for flexibility in donating to new organizations or those that may need additional assistance in a particular year. It also allows councils to decide the amount to be given based on the funds available when the donation is made. Remember that when the donation is actually going to be made, it must be approved by a motion or, if in-person meetings are still not allowed, the virtual meeting guide’s procedure should be followed.
Budgets are a guide for the year. They should be prepared at the end of the year for the following year or the beginning of January for the current year. They are not changed throughout the year. When financial reports are submitted at council meetings, any major differences in income or expenditures from those budgeted should be explained. It is rare for actual income and expenses to precisely match those budgeted.
Because fund-raising activities have been limited in 2020, funds available for donation may be less than those approved in the 2020 budget. If donating different amounts than were previously approved in the budget, make sure to have them ratified by the council and recommended for approval at the next in-person meeting before you prepare and release the cheques.
If the budget has a surplus in 2020 (most likely this will apply to diocesan and provincial councils), that is fine. This may be because conventions, workshops and other such events were not held in 2020. The council does not have to spend the surplus—keep it for upcoming years to provide training, financial assistance, etc. to members
DATE: October 9, 2020 FROM: Janet McLean, national secretary-treasurer TO: Parish treasurers
As autumn descends upon us, members look forward to resuming meetings and activities. While this is possible for some councils, sadly, others cannot meet in-person because of limits on gatherings imposed by provincial health authorities and parishes due to the pandemic. Whatever your council situation is, you and your members are in my prayers daily.
I know parish councils are concerned regarding their ability to raise funds in support of their communities throughout Canada and abroad. I also know councils have become very creative in their efforts to help those in need. Your council may be one of the many that made or is still making masks for people in your area, or you may have provided meals for those in need. Members are some of the most creative women I know and manage to help in countless ways.
Record cheque details, including the number, to facilitate the bank reconciliation at month-end
Number the receipts in the receipt book
Number the pages in the account book
Use the bank statement to balance the account book or spreadsheet each month. The financial statement and account books should be audited or examined annually, either professionally or by someone with accounting expertise
Always keep books updated; list each transaction as it is made
Itemize all transactions; record details of all income and every expense
Always pay by cheque; never sign blank cheques
If using petty cash, stipulate a small amount; ensure that there is a receipt for all money taken out to replenish the original float amount
Where applicable, auditors should sign the account book at the completion of the annual audit after the last entry of the year
The president, treasurer and recording secretary should have signing authority; all cheques must be signed by two signing officers
Comply with all deadlines for emittance of per capita fees and funds
Presidents should be aware of the treasurer’s responsibilities and be familiar with the books
All councils should draft financial guidelines and policies to ensure their smooth operation from year to year
Present a financial statement at every general meeting
Prepare an annual financial report for the end of the calendar year
When completing the annual report survey, include a list of donations to voluntary funds and other charitable groups (list by standing committee)
Councils should have a financial policy stating that cheques, financial statements, receipts, and disbursement books be kept on file for FIVE YEARS
Greetings parish council treasurers. I hope you had a wonderful summer. No matter where in Canada you live, there is beauty all around and the theme, Care for Our Common Home, encourages us to take care of our surroundings. This summer, I spent numerous hours working in a community garden and have enjoyed the benefit of homegrown produce for several months. Not having to spend money purchasing vegetables makes my treasurer’s heart feel good!
Autumn is usually a busy time for councils as different fund-raising activities are held at this time of year. Remind members to keep receipts for any expenses they will be submitting. It is prudent to check the addition of the expenses and taxes as others may not have your expertise in dealing with figures.
Does your parish council collect membership fees in the fall? This is a great thing to do — the earlier per capita fees are remitted to national office before the February rush, the quicker they can be processed. Encourage the individual collecting the membership fees to remit them to national office on a regular basis, rather than waiting until all are collected.
DATE: September 30, 2019 FROM: Janet McLean, national secretary-treasurer TO: Parish treasurers
Greetings parish council treasurers. Liability insurance is a necessity for parish councils to provide protection in the event of an accident. In recent years, the national treasury covered the costs of the parish liability insurance program for all parish councils. For the upcoming year, insurance premiums will be collected directly from parish councils. The cost of this insurance has been kept as inexpensive as possible at $0.50 per member. This premium will be in addition to per capita fees. When remitting per capita fees to national office, insurance premiums will also be collected. For parish councils that submit payments electronically, insurance premiums will be automatically withdrawn upon successful completion of an electronic per capita remittance.
A new insurance policy will be distributed in the spring 2020 parish council mailing. In the meantime, the current policy will be in effect until a new policy is issued. Enrollment in the parish liability insurance program is mandatory and parish councils must remit premiums with the 2020 per capita fees. Only by having all parish councils participate in this program will the League be able to keep premiums low.
Every council should have a budget that should be in place at the beginning of your fiscal year. If your council does not have a budget, I have outlined some tips for getting this in place. If you do have a budget, this is a reminder and a review for you!
Please remember to budget funds for your members to attend the National Convention being held in Calgary this August!
Should be done at the beginning of each year
Fosters responsible financial stewardship among members
A tool that will guide your actions without having to constantly revisit financial decisions.
An estimate – will never be exact
How to prepare a budget if this is your first time
Written by Janet McLean, national secretary-treasurer
As I write this memo, Québec is still in the midst of warm summer temperatures, but I have heard that there is a chance of snow in Alberta. It reminds me that League councils are like the weather in Canada - different from one province to another and from one parish to another.
The annual online survey forms will be available shortly for completion. It is an opportunity for me to learn how parish councils handle the duties of secretary or treasurer, providing a better understanding of what secretaries and treasurers are doing across Canada. Both forms have a question at the end of the survey for comments, so feel free to share personal thoughts about the position(s). If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me.
Did you know that the monthly financial report that you submit at your Council meeting does not need to be approved by way of a motion? Your report is for the members’ information only. Any expenses which are reported should have been approved before they were incurred. This is why a motion must be presented and passed at a general meeting when your council wants to disburse funds (e.g. donations to various charities the council supports, purchase of supplies for the council, approval of a stipend to be given to a guest speaker, etc.)
Only your annual report, which is submitted at your annual general meeting, needs to be voted on for approval.
Of course, at any meeting you should always ask if there are any questions on your report and you should be prepared to provide answers to any financial questions asked. Members are allowed to view the books of their council at any time.