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Treasurer's Corner

September 2017

As I write this we have just held the two Treasurer's Training sessions and I hope that all the new treasurers who attended now feel more confident in tackling their very important task. I am aware that a few of you were disappointed in not being able to attend and we are considering arranging another session to take place either later this year or early next year. 

One of the topics discussed was of course the changes recently announced by NFWI regarding the new accounting requirements for dealing with membership subscriptions and tickets for Federation events. NFWI have stated that the new programmed spreadsheet should be available for download sometime in August 2017 - if this was the case, I will already have a copy and can email it to you on request. Sadly, I have no information regarding the date the new accounts book will be available. 

If your WI claims Gift Aid, I would also like to remind you that the changes in the way membership subscriptions are treated will impact on the sum that can be claimed from HMRC as only the amount of the subscription kept by your WI can be included in your claim. This may have a significant impact on your finances next year and should be borne in mind when you are preparing your budget for 2018/19.

Still on the topic of Gift Aid, I should remind you that if your WI claims Gift Aid you may not charge any entrance fee to visitors to your WI and if any of your members who have signed up for Gift Aid attends a course at Denman College, you may not claim Gift Aid on their subscription for that year. This is because HMRC deems that members are in receipt of a benefit because their Denman course fees are lower that those charged to non-members.

Please do contact me if you would like any further clarification.

Gill Bowden

August 2017

With the centenary of the Federation occurring next year, I am sure many of you are already planning celebrations to mark this event. You may decide that some fund-raising is needed and it might be a good idea to start this as soon as possible.  

Any funds raised this year should of course e shown in your WIs accounts under Fund Raising and the sum raised will be reflected in your WIs financial statement prepared in March 2018. However, I expect that most of your celebrations will take place in the summer 2018, during the following financial year.

It would therefore be a good idea to keep an additional separate record of funds raised (which may have resulted from efforts taking place in more than one financial year) so you have an accurate idea of how much has been raised in total. This will help decision making on whether your members will need to be charged to attend the celebratory event. In addition, you will be able to produce a financial statement after the event showing in total how much had been raised and how much had been spent. 

I would also like to remind you that each member of the WI is entitled to attend 11 meetings every year totally free of charge. Therefore you should be aware, if you are planning to sell tickets of make any change for your event, that any centenary celebratory event cannot be held on the same day as your monthly meeting.

I hope this information will prove helpful to you.

Gill Bowden

July 2017

As I write this, the Independent Financial Examiners have nearly completed their annual task of examining and signing off the WI accounts. I thought I would share with you some of the issues which have arisen this year.

  • If you decide to pay money back from petty cash into your bank account, this should be shown only under the column entitled 'Total Paid into Bank' on the Receipts page of the accounts book. This will enable the bank reconciliation to be completed but will not affect the total receipts for the year as the petty cash in question will have already been included in your total funds.  
  • Both the Charity Commission and NFWI guidelines state that no membership subscriptions from anyone should be paid from WI funds.  
  • All cash received must be paid into the bank with no payments to anyone made from this cash. This is also Charity Commission and WI advice and by complying with this rule the accounts are simplified and accurate payments and receipts are recorded.  
  • You may find that a cheque recorded in the unpresented cheques in the previous year has been lost. A replacement cheque should be written and recorded on the Payments sheet for this year in the usual way. When reconciling the bank statement on the financial statement, show the lost cheque against the 'unpresented cheques from previous years'.
  • If you are using the WI accounts programmed spreadsheet, do not unprotect the sheets and add and delete rows unless you are absolutely confident in the use of Excel as there is a real danger that the formulae for the calculations can be corrupted.  

I hope you will find these tips of help to you.

Gill Bowden

June 2017

First of all I would like to say 'welcome' and 'thank you' to all of you who have volunteered to become your WI's new treasurer. I hope you will find your new role to be a rewarding one and that you will soon feel quite at home with your new responsibilities. I hope you have applied to attend one of the Treasurers' training sessions to be held at Ethel Hunt Lodge in July where, as well as receiving guidance on the treasurer's role, you will meet other members in the same position as you and can exchange views and ideas. If you are unable to attend one of these sessions there is interactive online training for treasurers to be found on the WI Moodle.

I would also like to say thank you to those of you who have agreed to carry on serving as your WI's treasurer. Another big thank you must go to those of you who have volunteered to be trained as WI Independent Financial Examiners. The training course will be held at Ethel Hunt Lodge on the 18th October and there are still some places available, so if you are interested in becoming an IFE please contact me and I can add your name to the list.

I look forward to meeting many of you at these courses and in the meantime, if you have any queries, please do get in touch with me and I will do my best to help.

Gill Bowden

May 2017

I am sure you are breathing sighs of relief that your accounts have been examined and finalised ready to be presented at your Annual Meetings this month. Have you also produced your WI's budget for the forthcoming financial year? This is always a useful exercise as it will reveal whether your WI has enough funds to meet all expenses in the coming year or whether some fund raising will be required.

At the Federation we not only produce a budget for each year, but also produce a budget for each event that we put on. This is quite a simple affair, but by listing all the expected to be incurred and estimating how many members may wish to attend, we have a good idea on how many tickets we need to sell to ensure that each event does not run at a loss.

It is a good idea to produce a budget for any of your WI's fund raising events - this may help to ensure that funds are indeed raised!

Another idea to assist with fund raising, particularly if serving food at your event, is to sell tickets to your members prior to the event - in this way you will know how many people to cater for and you do not run the risk of providing and paying for food that is not required.

I hope these tips help with your fund raising efforts.

Gill Bowden

April 2017

Recently, some WI Treasurers have asked if they may pay us direct into our bank account, rather than sending us a cheque. This is of course possible and we are in the process of setting up a routine to enable this and to help us to identify who and what has been paid. Details will be sent out to all WIs in an End of Month Posting when this has been finalised.

It is clear that many WIs have now set up or are considering setting up internet banking. There are many advantages to this, particularly when reimbursing expenses to members now that so many bank branches have closed. It is also much easier to record members transferring money for tickets and membership subscriptions direct into your WI's bank account - again saving the Treasurer that awkward trip to the nearest bank to deposit the money.

However, Charity Commission guidelines recommend that a dual authorisation procedure is followed when making electronic payments. This means that one signatory sets up the payment and another signatory releases this payment. Each signatory would have their own security details which must not be shared with anyone else.

If you wish to set up internet banking, please enquire from your bank whether they support dual authorisation as this is the recommended procedure. If not, please get in touch with me and we can discuss possible alternatives.

Gill Bowden

March 2017

I'm sure you will all soon be hard at work finalising your WI's accounts before they are seen by your Independent Financial Examiner and you will now know the amount of your income for the year. This amount affects your WI's status with the Charity Commission.

All WIs are charities in their own right and do not require to be registered with the Charity Commission until their annual income from all sources exceeds £5000. However, all WIs, whether registered or unregistered, must adhere to the Charity Commission guidelines. Many of the WIs in the Federation were registered some years ago and will have a registered charity number. However, newer WIs were not registered and if your WI falls into this category and your annual income for the year is in excess of £5000 you must now register with the Charity Commission. There is guidance on the WI Moodle on how to do this or, if you do not have access to the Moodle, I can email a copy of the guidance to you.

You will receive a registered charity number, which it is good practice to include on all correspondence, and will be required to complete an annual return, which can now only be completed online. You will also need to supply details of your Trustees (committee members).

If you were registered many years ago, your WI's annual income is below £5000 and you feel your WI will never achieve that amount of annual income it is possible to deregister from the Charity Commission, thus saving the necessity of completing the annual return.

If, unfortunately, you find that your WI must suspend and you are registered with the Charity Commission, one of your last acts as a WI Trustee must be to close your charity officially. There is a form available on the Charity Commission website to cover this eventuality and you will need to know the amount of money remaining in you WI's bank accounts at the time of suspension for inclusion on this form. This money should be sent to the Federation prior to the closure of your WI's bank accounts. It is then held in trust for three years in case your WI wishes to reform. After three years this sum becomes part of the Federation's income.

You can click here to visit the Charity Commission website for more information

Gill Bowden

February 2017

How time flies! It is nearly time to prepare your WI's end of year accounts and I offer a few suggestions to help you get ahead of yourself so there is no last minute panic looking for that all-important piece of paper!

- If you have not already done so, reconcile your bank account, leaving only the last few items to be agreed at the year-end.

- Make sure you have to hand the necessary paperwork relating to all payments you have made, together with supporting documentation.

- Make sure all the receipts you have issued include information indicating what the money received was for.

- Ask your committee to submit any outstanding expense claims in good time.

- If your WI runs a petty cash account, ensure you have all the signed receipts with supporting paperwork so the payments can be allocated to the correct headings in the account book.

I hope these tips might make the task of getting you accounts together a little easier.

Gill Bowden

January 2017

Happy New Year everyone.

Please cast your mind back to last summer when the sun was shining and when the NFWI raffle tickets were on sale - you may be interested to know that West Kent members bought these raffle tickets to the value of £3366.

NFWI returns 60% of the total proceeds of the sale to the Federations, in proportion to the amount of raffle tickets sold. As a result of this we have received £1402.90, which will be put into the fund we use for paying bursaries. Two of the bursaries drawn at the ACM in March are specifically called NFWI Raffle bursaries, but since we have been receiving very little interest on our savings deposits, we have been putting the whole of the income from the NFWI raffle into the bursary fund to assist with the payment of the other bursaries drawn.

In addition, a West Kent member from Forest Hill WI won the third prize, which was a pre-show dinner and top seats for two at a West End theatre. I do hope this lucky member and her partner have enjoyed this prize.

So please keep buying the NFWI raffle tickets when they are on sale later this year - you could be the lucky winner.

Gill Bowden