No matter how much your troop plans on saving or spending, you’ll need a safe place to deposit your troop dues, product sale proceeds, and other funds. If you’ve stepped up to lead an existing troop, you may inherit a checking account, but with a new troop, you’ll want to open a new bank account.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Be sure to find a bank that has free checking and low fees.
- Designate a “troop treasurer,” that is, one person who is responsible for troop funds and for keeping a daily account of expenditures.
- Ensure your account comes with a debit card that you can use during activities or trips. These transactions are easier to track at the end of the year.
- Be prepared like a Girl Scout, and make sure another troop volunteer has accessible a debit card for the troop account in case the main card is lost.
- Handle a lost troop debit card the same way you would a personal debit card: cancel it immediately.
- Keep troop funds in the bank before an activity or trip, and pay for as many items as possible in advance of your departure.
All accounts are opened under the Council’s Federal Tax ID Number and as such, all money or property earned in the name of a troop/group or Service Unit is the property of the troop/group or Service Unit as a Girl Scout entity and NOT of the individuals within the troop/group or Service Unit. The Council has the right to audit, freeze, close, or seize any account funds under its Federal Tax ID number when deemed appropriate by the CEO.
Because troop/group/Service Unit funds are owned collectively for the benefit of the girls, proper handling and accounting of the funds is imperative. All troop funds must be placed in a bank account. All volunteers must follow the council’s financial policies and procedures for setting up an account.
The following will help you establish a troop bank account:
- Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails has a working relationship with several banks. Talk to your local membership staff person about which bank they recommend you use.
- All signatories on the troop bank account MUST be actively registered unrelated adults with a current background check. Background checks are valid for 2 years.
- Complete the online bank form to request a letter to open your account. The form can be found on the Volunteer/Volunteer Resources/Forms and Documents page on our website or here.
- Additional documentation may be provided to you by your local
membership staff member:
- A letter to the bank where you will open your account authorizing the creation of the account, naming the volunteers who will be responsible for its fiscal management.
- The January 10, 2008 letter from the Internal Revenue Service.
- IRS Form W-9 – Request for taxpaying identification number and certification – GSNMT
- Council by-laws
- All individuals who will be signatories on the account may need to be present when the account is opened. Make an appointment with your bank and/or plan with other signatories when you will go to the bank. Take the items listed above to the bank with you when opening the account.
- The individuals who go to the bank to open the account need to be the same individuals whose names appear on the letter provided.
- Each checking account opened for a Girl Scout Troop/group should be opened as a “non-profit” business account. This account should not have any annual fees associated with it.
- Do Not Use Your Personal Social Security Number to open troop/group accounts. Use GSNMT’s Federal Tax ID # (85-6011246), which can be found on the paperwork provided to you.
- Debit cards CAN be ordered for troop accounts. Think about who should have these cards – they will be ordered in their name.
- Make sure that your bank statements will be going to the household of a signer or a troop PO Box. Do not have your bank statements sent to the council address. You need to be able to receive them directly in order to properly manage your finances.
- When leaving the bank, make sure that one person holds the checkbook or debit card and the other will receive the bank statements. This is for proper checks and balances of troop accounts. ALL SIGNERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FINANCIAL SECURITY OF THE ACCOUNT. DO NOT ADD YOUR NAME TO AN ACCOUNT WITHOUT THIS UNDERSTANDING.
Once you have opened an account, the troop must:
- Submit an ACH (or Automated Clearing House) form to Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails. Even if you do not plan to participate in the product program, we must have this form on file.
- Each troop/group must annually submit a Year-End Activity Report (YEAR) via the Volunteer Tool Kit (VTK) that can be accessed through myGS online. Bank statements and other documents can be attached to the online submission of the YEAR.
- A select number of random troop accounts are audited by GSNMT each year. Keeping on top of your troop finances will make this process simple and painless, should your troop be selected.
- Copies of your monthly bank
statements are required and must be submitted according to the
schedule below. Failure to turn in monthly statements can result in
a full account audit, as well as the inability to participate in
upcoming Product Program opportunities.
- YEARs are due on or around June 15 and should include a copy of January, February, March, April & May statements. This due date may change depending on holidays or other factors.
- A set of statements for June, July, and August are due October 1.
- A set of statements for September, October, November, and December are due February 1.
- All bank statements should be submitted to [email protected] specifying your Troop Number and Service Unit name in the subject line of the email.
- YEARs are to be submitted to New Mexico Trails via the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Each spring, GSUSA opens up the finance tab of the VTK in order for troops to submit their YEAR. This feature also allows troops to upload the bank statements required to accompany the YEAR. For troops who plan to disband and not continue their troop into the next membership year, the disbanding troop may submit their YEAR via hard copy to their membership staff person. If a returning troop submits their YEAR via hard copy, the YEAR will be returned to the Troop Leader and/or Troop Treasurer to submit via the VTK.
The troop should also consider:
- ATM cash withdrawals are not recommended. All ATM cash withdrawals must be justified with a statement, signed by the two volunteers who have co-signed the account, attesting to the use, amount, and date of the expense if receipts are missing. If this documentation is not provided, an audit of the troop account may occur.
- At any time, parents/guardians may ask to see the troop finances and have the right to do so. Have your balance and ledger available within a timely manner. We suggest having them available at every troop meeting.
- Troop money may be used to pay for required adult training, such as First Aid/CPR or Outdoor Core course fees. This rule applies to Safety-Wise adults only (adults required by the ratio chart) unless otherwise specified by the girls’ group vote.
If a girl(s) leave one active troop to join another, the money in each of those troops remains the property of each troop as a Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails entity and does not belong to the girl or girls who are transferring their participation from one troop to another. In addition, the new troop’s money is the property of that group, including the newest member(s).
Before girls leave an active troop, the troop may hold a vote (The girls are the only members of a troop who may vote. Adult input is discouraged.). The girls have the option to send their departing troop member with her equal share of the troop finances (divided equally by the number of girls). For example, if a troop/group of 10 girls has $500 in their bank account, and the girls vote to send a departing member with her share, the troop/group will provide the girl’s new troop a check for $50.
Money transferring from troop to troop is not related to the amount of product sold, the amount of money earning done by an individual girl or the participation of an individual girl in any troop activities.