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  • David Ehrlich, MPA, CAE, CMP

The Pursuit of Great Financial Governance, Part 1

One of the educational sessions that I attended during the most recent ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition was focused on the pursuit of great financial governance. The presenters, Thomas McCally and Heather Dean of Cordia Partners, went into detail on six areas that all association management professionals and their volunteers should be aware of. In this three-part series, I will break down each area, starting with organizational documents and board/volunteer training. 


Organizational Documents: All associations need to ensure that their organizational documents are reviewed on a regular basis. The bylaws should include a clear statement of the organization’s purpose and address the general provisions for conducting affairs of the entity. Other items that should be clearly defined are the number of directors/officers, specific roles, and the process for elections. Procedures for meetings, amendments, and dissolution must also be included. The policies and procedures is a living document that includes all of the organization’s approved operating policies and procedures. Content will vary based on the needs of the association, but might include details on various types of committees; financial polices related to signature and spending authority; credit cards (limits, business use only, receipts); and other policies such as conflicts of interest and whistleblowers. 


Board/Volunteer Training: This is an area that every association should conduct annually. During this training, topics that should be covered include the role of the board and fiduciary responsibility. This is an opportunity to set the strategic direction for the organization, evaluate the performance and relationship with the association management company and its staff, monitor finances, and develop budgets. This is also a good opportunity to review and sign the conflict-of-interest policy. 


Board/Volunteer Onboarding: Any time new board members are elected or appointed, there should be an onboarding session. It’s a good idea to cover such topics as roles and responsibilities of board members, bylaws, finances, and strategic plans. An association can also identify which committees and/or activities a new board member may be interested in supporting. Barcami Lane’s team of executive directors and association managers are all able to work with your association to conduct board orientation sessions. They bring a depth of experience that qualify them to develop and facilitate these trainings. This service is also likely included in your scope of services. 


Volunteer leaders and their association management professionals should have regular discussions on these areas. Stay tuned for part two, focusing on board norms and internal financial reporting. BL

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