Managing unit funds and accounts
Take control of unit finances by keeping a unit bank account and maintaining up-to-date accounting records
It is a leader's responsibility to manage unit funds and accounts
This is because all Girlguiding units operate as individual charities - regardless of whether they are registered with the Charity Commission. This means that leaders are effectively the unit's trustees - and it is their responsibility to manage unit funds.
You don't need to keep the accounts yourself, you can ask another person with the right experience and knowledge to do this - such as a member of your team, a parent or affiliate member.
When handling unit funds more generally, it's important that you:
- bank any money received as soon as possible
- keep the unit funds completely separate from your own money
- minimise the amount of personal money you use to cover guiding costs - and always claim your expenses
- keep cash in a safe place, preferably under lock and key - unit funds will probably not be covered by your household insurance policy
- keep your records up to date
- keep records secure, remembering to password protect them if you store financial records electronically.
- borrow money from or lend money to unit funds
- keep more cash in hand than you are likely to need for immediate payments
- spend more money than you have.
Using a unit bank account
Unit funds must be kept in a bank or building society account, here are some things to remember when managing your account:
- All accounts must be in the name of the unit, for example,1st Brownsea Guide Unit.
- Cheques and withdrawals must have two signatures. It is usually more convenient to have three or more people set up on the bank to sign on the account so that two are always available. Some examples of who may be a signatory include the unit leader, a member of the leadership team, district commissioner, treasurer or parent. The signatories should not be members of the same family.
- It may be possible for your banking provider to set up online access to your accounts; allowing you to view your bank statement and also make payments online. Please ensure that when online access is set up that there is a dual authorisation facility included in order to make payments online.
The use of unit Debit or Credit Cards is not permitted as there is no dual authorisation procedure in place at the point that the funds are withdrawn from the bank.
Units in Scotland will have different obligations if they are registered as a charity with Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). For guidance refer to the Scottish Unit Charity Handbook, which has been shared with all units and counties in Girlguiding Scotland.
Creating and maintaining accounting records
Maintaining proper accounting records is a legal obligation of all those who handle charity money.
We've created a colour-coded spreadsheet that you can use to keep track of your accounts. This resource contains the minimum standard of record-keeping for all units. If you have more experience you might prefer to use a more advanced form of book-keeping.
If you are having problems using the package, please make sure that you have looked at the accounts pack instructions. If you are still struggling then please contact the HQ Finance team for guidance on [email protected]
Please note that for full functionality, the unit accounts pack is only supported by Microsoft Office.
All paperwork connected with managing the unit's funds needs to be kept for seven years following the financial year-end.
Each individual unit or area of Girlguiding is a separate, independent charitable body. As such, your local group may reclaim tax on Gift Aid or tax deducted from investment income.
Interest on building society and bank deposit accounts is now paid as a gross amount; however in some cases the bank may deduct tax. In these cases it is usually because the bank is unaware of your taxable status. You will need to inform your bank of your charitable status in order for them to stop deducting tax - to do this, the bank will require a certificate of charitable status, which can be requested by email from [email protected].
Reviewing your accounts
At the end of each year, units need to produce an annual accounts statement, a statement of assets and liabilities and have their accounts reviewed. Guidance on how to do this can be found on our end of year accounts page.
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