SOS Finance Handbook
Updated: October 2014
Welcome to the role of VP Finance! This handbook will be your guide to navigating the Finance landing page on Portal. It is imperative that we properly record our finances to the standard of the Canadian Revenue Agency. This handbook outlines each of the processes for properly recording your chapter’s finances. If at any point in time you encounter any issues with your finances, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can always e-mail me, the Director of Student Leadership, at email@example.com, or contact me through Skype (nicole-m-c). I can answer all of your questions and/or set up a time for us to meet and talk! Myself, and my head office team are ALWAYS here to support you! If you ever feel overwhelmed or unsure contact me right away
Be sure to join the President Facebook group SOS VP Finance Community. In this group you have a chance to connect with other VP Finances to ask questions or share ideas. I also post tons of updates and information.
The 3 ‘W’s of SOS
Why: SOS’s mission is to empower students through social entrepreneurship supporting education both locally and internationally while fostering global citizenship.
What: Students Offering Support (SOS) is a student-led charitable organization that supports and develops SOS chapters on university campuses. Each chapter raises money to raise roofs through raising marks during Exam-AID group review sessions, taught and coordinated by student volunteers for university students. Each year, the money raised goes towards building sustainable projects in Central and South America, supporting access to a quality education.
Who: You – the students on university campuses across North America!
Innovation is core to every part of the organization and experience. From continual innovations in our on-campus teaching methods, cutting-edge technology used to create a collaborative online community of student leaders to ground-breaking community investments, maximizing the impact our funds can have in our partnering communities.
We pride ourselves at putting our students, volunteers, and community members at the highest priority in every decision we make, ensuring that every interaction and experience is impactful, both on campus and in our partnering communities.
We are accountable for our actions and how they affect the lives of our volunteers and partners. We take pride in doing work that positively impacts the people we collaborate with.
At SOS, efficient collaboration is critical to our organization. We work hard to develop two-way relationships with post-secondary institutions, corporate sponsors, student groups, our international NGO partners and communities. By developing trusting relationships, collaboration has enabled SOS to grow and maintain our excellence and accountability.
There are a number of ways that a campus chapter can organize their leadership structure. At a minimum, all campus chapters must have a President, VP Finance, VP Human Resources, VP Marketing, VP Outreach, & VP Logistics. Below you will find a typical chapter structure that may be useful in determining your own campus structure dependent on your needs and resources.
Each role is assisted by a pool of volunteers. Additional roles some chapters have implemented include: VP Business Development, VP Academic & VP Digital Exam-AIDs. These roles should only be added if there is significant need.
Opening a Bank Account
If you are a new chapter, the first task you must complete is opening a bank account.
- Check with your Student Union to see if being registered as a club requires you to have a university account. If so be sure to ask how you can acquire monthly bank statements.
- If you are not restricted to a university account please visit your nearest BMO branch to open a free Community Account. In order to open this account you will need a bank letter from National. Please e-mail the following information to Nicole (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request a bank letter:
- Address of the BMO branch
- The branch fax number (and if possible the name of a representative)
- The names of both signing officers (Typically VP Finance & a President)
Changing Signing Authority
If you are an already existing chapter you need to ensure that the incoming executive team members have signing authority when they begin their term. This means you need to write a letter to the bank stating that you are changing the signing authority over to new signing officers. All names need to be recorded on this letter and each person must have two pieces of ID.
If you are a new chapter, you need a bank letter from head office, and two pieces of ID per signing officer.
Below is a list of processes that your chapter must have established in order to have a functioning finance department. You can refer to relevant e-manual posts where they are available (see links below), and if you have any questions, please email Nicole at email@example.com.
Below is the finance landing page, which will link you to all the functions you need to manage your chapter’s finances. The handbook is broken down in four sections: Expenses, Revenues, Outreach, and Reconciliation:
This page is where:
- You enter any money coming into your bank account.
- You to set the prices for your Exam-AID sessions.
In this function you enter the price of your Exam-AID sessions.
- Your Exam-AID sessions will typically be $10 or $20.
- You can add additional pricing options for promotions your chapter is running
(i.e. “Bring a Friend for Free”)
Use this function to add all Exam-AID revenue to your cash tracker. Your VP Logistics will have added all the Exam-AIDs your chapter is offering on Portal, and it is your responsibility to add in the revenue that each session generated.
When you select “Report Exam-AID Revenue”, the page below will show up, listing all Exam-AIDs your chapter is scheduled to run. If a session does not appear here, it is because your VP Logistics has not activated it.
Click ‘report revenue’ for the course you would like to add revenue for. The following screen will appear:
- Enter the amount of each pricing option received at the Exam-AID session.
- Example of Page Use:
- 5 people came and paid $10 for the session
- 9 people came and paid $20 for the session.
- The total revenue reflects how much revenue was generated at the session ($230).
- The amount to be collected is how much cash you received at the session. This number must match the ‘Total cash and cheque’ column on the right hand side.
- Remember to upload the coordinator sign-off sheet, signed by the two people who collected money at the session
Once you have added you Exam-AID revenue it is generated in ‘undeposited revenue’ (meaning you have entered the revenue in the portal but it has not yet been deposited in your bank account). The next step will be to record the funds as deposited (see 3.4).
Any money going into your bank account, other than Exam-AID revenue and trip payments, will be entered through “Other Revenue”. Select “Add all other revenue imaginable, and that will bring you to the page below.
In this page:
- You have the option of adding donations not related to trip participants payments
- Add any other kind of donation, sponsorships, other revenues, and bank interest (i.e. student union grants, event revenue, etc)
(a) Your bank account will often generate small amounts of interest. Please be aware of this and add in the interest on this form.
(b) If you enter a transaction incorrectly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org describing the error
Example of page use:
- Windsor had a bake sale on August 18, 2012 and they made $200.00.
- The Finance VP inputs that revenue on this page under ‘other revenue’ in the type drop down menu.
- The VP explains to the best of his/her ability the details of the revenue in the options on the page.
- This transaction will then be generated in your untracked deposits (meaning you have not put it into the bank yet).
NOTE: IF YOU HAVE A FUNDRAISER TO OFFSET TRIP PARTICIPANT COSTS, THAT REVENUE IS NOT ENTERED ON THIS PAGE.
(see Section 5: Outreach for more information).
Once you have entered all of your revenue into ‘Add Exam-AID revenue’ and ‘Add all other revenue imaginable’ and deposited the money into the bank, you track your deposits.
Once you have gone to the bank and deposited the money into the account you then click the boxes on the left hand side, to show the revenue that has been deposited in the bank. Doing this will make the transaction appear on your cash tracker.
Every revenue must be deposited, or marked as cashed, through the track transactions page. If you do not do this step, it will not appear on your cash tracker.
When you begin the semester the first financial transaction will most likely be an expense submitted by a volunteer. You need to receive a receipt from the volunteer in order to process a reimbursement. To add this expense in the portal to be tracked and reimbursed:
Click “Add Expenses” from the Outflows (Expense/Transfers) page.
1. Fill out form
i. The ‘date of the expense’ is the day
the volunteer MADE the expense.
ii. You must upload a digital copy of the receipt (scan it/take a photo).
iii. Track the department the expense is tied to, the type of expense, and a clear description of what the expense is for.
- Enter all non-trip expenses related to your chapter in this function.
- Do not enter ANYTHING trip related in this function. If you think that you need to enter something trip related e-mail email@example.com to get confirmation.
- You cannot submit an expense without a receipt. Make sure the digital copy is readable once uploaded.
Once the expense has been tracked it will appear in your Track Deposits and Expense Payments function explained later in this section (meaning you have not paid the volunteer back yet and the money has not left your bank account). You will need to use both functions in order to properly submit an expense.
EXAMPLE ‘ADDING EXPENSE’: John Smith went to staples and printed 300 flyers for Exam-AID sessions, which he paid 30.00 of her own money. He submitted a digital copy of his receipt to the VP finance with a description of the purchase to receive a reimbursement cheque.
Tracking Outstanding Expenses
All the expenses you have uploaded will be listed on this page. Once you have issued a cheque for reimbursement and the cheque has been cashed:
1. Click the box on the left hand side to ‘deposit’ the line item.
2. Enter the method of payment (and cheque # if required)
3. You will have to fill out a date on the bottom of the page. For all transactions except cheques, this date is the date that the money came out of your account. For cheques, use the date you wrote the cheque.
4. Method of Payment – This is referring to the way you reimbursed the volunteer. This will always be a cheque. You will have either SOS cheques or University cheques.
SOS Cheque – Any banking institution (BMO,TD, CIBC, etc) that is a non university bank account is considered a SOS cheque. You need to record the cheque numbers whenever these cheques are issued.
University Cheque– This is a cheque from a university account that you hold on campus. To issue a reimbursement you must request a cheque from your university. These cheques have no tracking numbers, therefore you leave the cheque number field blank.
NOTE: All reimbursements must be done with cheque, or expenses may be made with your SOS Debit Card. Absolutely no reimbursements or expenses are to be made with cash.
Track Cashed Cheques
When submitting an expense that is paid by SOS Cheque, you have to go through one more additional step to ensure that the expense goes through to the Cash Tracker.
Like other expenses, after submitting your expense, you need to track the expense through the track outstanding expenses page. This step should be done after you wrote the cheque (but it has not yet been cashed).
Next, follow these steps:
1. After the cheque you wrote gets cashed and shows up on your bank statement, access the Tracked Cash Cheques page. Select the cheque that was cashed and enter the date it was cashed in the field below. Then click Cash:
2. After doing this, your expense should show up in the Cash Tracker as well as the Cheque Tracker:
NEVER ENTER A CHEQUE NUMBER AS 0!! If you do not know the number you are supposed to enter in this field please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Once you have reimbursed a cheque and it has been cashed and tracked in ‘track expenses’ you need to track the cheque in the cheque tracker.
Click on ‘cheque tracker’
In this function you scroll to the cheque number that corresponds with the cheque you are tracking and record the details of the check by writing in the blank field. If you have to void a cheque or rip up a cheque please explain that in the blank field the cheque number corresponds with.
When you are completing your monthly reconciliation and you
a) have uncashed cheques that you wrote during the month, please follow up that that volunteer to cash the cheque.
b) have cashed cheques on your bank statement but not in the cheque tracker please make sure the expense was properly recorded and tracked in the cheque and cash trackers.
Often cheques put into your bank account will bounce (this is a common occurrence for trip payments). When a cheque bounces it will look like your account is missing the amount of money the cheque was for. In order to compensate for this loss you need to track all bounced cheques.
Step 1: Click on the bounced cheque manager in the finance menu
Step 2: Fill in the details of the bounced cheque
In the ‘upload imagine of cheque’ field please upload the image of the bounced cheque. You will find this image 2 ways. (1) The bank will mail you the cheque back to the address that is listed on the bank account (2) your BMO online banking will have a link to a picture of the bounced cheque on the date that it bounced.
Step 3: Enter the new cheque
When a new cheque has been given to you to replace the bounced cheque DO NOT enter it as a brand new revenue. Enter it under the bounced cheque manager.
Each month you must complete a monthly reconciliation. This is to ensure that your bank account and cash tracker are identical.
STEP 1: Upload your monthly bank statement to the Monthly Reconciliation page. Under “bank amount”, click ‘UPLOAD HERE!’ and the box below will appear. In the box beside “Amount at the End of Month on Bank Statement”, enter the balance of your account at the end of the month you are reconciling.
Note: Some banks bill from the 15th to 15th of each month; in this case, make sure you are inputting the amount at the end of the month, not the balance at the end of the billing cycle.
STEP 2: Once you have uploaded your bank statement, look to the middle column on the monthly reconciliation chart to the ‘differences’ column. This column should always read 0.00. If there is a difference that means there has been an error in your transaction entries.
STEP 3: If there is a difference you need to compare your cash tracker to your bank statement. These two forms should be a mirror image. Reasons for a difference include:
1. You entered an expense or revenue in the wrong month (so it is only showing up on your cash tracker and not in your bank statement)
2. You entered the wrong amount of an expense or revenue (eg: you put in your cash tracker 300 revenue for a bio Exam-AID but you deposited 200 in the bank)
3. You forgot to enter an expense or revenue (so it is only showing up on your bank statement and not in your cash tracker)
To resolve these issues, follow the steps below:
1. If you entered the expense/deposit on the wrong date, please send an e-mail to email@example.com. In your e-mail indicate date you entered the expense and the date to which you’d like it to be changed.
2. If you entered the wrong amount, you can also send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your e-mail indicate the date & name of the transaction, and the correction you would like to be made.
3. If you forget to enter an expense/deposit, but it has already been taken out of/put into your bank account- you can still add it into the portal. Just be sure when you are entering the transaction on the ‘track transactions’ page, that you enter the date it came out of/went into your bank account.
You must do a monthly reconciliation for every month, even if your chapter is not active (i.e. summer months).
End of Term Transfer to Head Office
At the end of the term you must transfer the balance of your account, less 300 dollars. To do this you need to go to your bank branch and request a transfer for x amount to be sent to SOS National Office. Account number: 8137218. Branch number: 2459.
For Fall term be sure to make your transfer no later than: January 15th
For Winter term be sure to make your transfer no later than: May 15th
For Summer term be sure to make your transfer no later than August 15th
Annual Budget Planning, Monthly/Quarterly Variance Analysis and Audits from Head Office
By August 31st of each year, you are required to prepare the annual budget for the coming fiscal year using the budget template. There are three spreadsheets: Chapter Budget, Income Statement and Consolidated Summary. You are required to fill in the Chapter Budget and the budget section of Income Statement and Consolidated Summary after careful planning.
The Chapter Budget page is to project the expenses and revenue for the incoming fiscal year. The common types of revenue and expenses have been given but feel free to add new ones and remove the extra ones. As the expense section is divided into Marketing, Human Resources, Logistics, Outreach, Fundraising Events and Administration, it is necessary for all executives at the chapter to have a discussion while planning the budget to ensure that all filled numbers are reasonable to everyone. The net of revenue and expense is surplus/loss which is to be filled at the bottom of the budget sheet. While it seems to be just a simple subtraction, it is important for you to keep track of them and make changes of revenue and expense accordingly. For instance if there had been a continuous or big loss, you might want to reduce the expense and discuss with other team members about how to increase revenue to reduce the loss. If there had been big surplus, you might want to increase expense on marketing to further promote the events.
Some types of expenses are easy to estimate such as bank fees and sponsorship revenue whereas others are more based on your judgement or maybe past records. To come up with a reasonable estimation for variable expense/revenue, you need to make several assumptions or conducting a survey. It is important for you to write down how you come up with the estimation.
Moreover it is important to keep in mind that not all revenue is in cash, as for most chapters a significant portion is through PayPal. Therefore, it is important for you to estimate the cash flow to ensure that your chapter has enough cash flow to run through the year.
Monthly variance report and update your chapter’s budget as needed
By the end of each month, you need to fill in the Income Statement with the budget and the actual expense. You then need to calculate the variance of each item of that month which is to use actual subtract budget. It is important for you to conduct careful analysis to the variance as it is a great feedback to the performance of your budget. It might remind you that you forgot or over counted certain type of expense/revenue in the budget process, or some assumptions need to be adjusted. Since the expense is divided by portfolios, you will need to share the variance analysis with other executives and adjust the budget of future months.
Every quarter, you need to fill in the Consolidated Summary to perform the quarterly variance analysis. This will give you a better overview regarding to the financial condition of your chapter and how the actual expense is aligned with the budget.
Comply with national audits, responding to the audit report within the given deadline and making adjustments as needed
The national finance team draws random chapters each week to conduct audit. The audit will include the following criteria:
- The bank statement is uploaded and cash tracker is reconciled by the designated deadline. The previous month reconciliation is due by the 15th of next month, unless you have received the approval from headquarter on delay.
- A sample of expense/revenue will be tested on validity, completion, and accuracy (both date and amount).
- Monthly variance report review
If you were chose to be audited, an audit report will be sent to you after the audit outlining the deficiency and comments. Depending on the severity of deficiency, necessary enforcement will be conducted by the national finance team including termination of the role.
In terms of national accountability, any missed deadline will result in the following steps.
1. The first missed deadline will result in a warning email from the Finance intern with a new deadline that must be met.
2. The second missed deadline will result in a secondary warning email, with the president(s) CC’d to the message and a final deadline.
3. The third missed deadline will result in a final email from the Director of Student Leadership, with the president(s) & Executive Director CC’d. This will require a performance review to be set up and failure to respond to this email in a timely manner will result in termination of your role.