Chapter 5.1: Establishing a Bank Account
If your group is earning and spending money, the group needs to set up a bank account. If you’re taking over an existing group, you may inherit a checking account, but with a new group, you’ll want to open a new account. This usually happens when there is money to deposit, such as group dues or money from product sales or group money-earning activities.
These accounts must have at least two authorized signers – all registered adult Girl Scouts, and not from the same family. Request a letter of authorization from any council office in order to open the account. Multi-grade-level groups will have only one bank account. All charges incurred by the group bank account are the responsibility of the signers on the account, not the council. To open, close or add/delete signers on a group bank account, request a letter from any area office.
Consider these tips when working with a group account:
- Keep group funds in the bank before an activity or trip, paying for as many items as possible in advance of your departure.
- Use debit cards during the activity or trip.
- Make one person responsible for group funds and for keeping a daily account of expenditures.
- Have one or more back-up people who also have debit cards, in case the main card is lost.
Follow your council’s financial policies and procedures for setting up an account. Most council-sponsored product sale activities have specific banking and tracking procedures.
Annual Group Financial Reports
- You must turn in the Annual Group Financial Report each June (council policy).
- Leaders will receive a letter reminding them to submit the Annual Group Financial report. The report form will be enclosed and you must also submit a copy of the most current bank statement.
- It is important that this report be completed and returned in regard to adhering to council policies and tax liability with the IRS. If group income is not reported, then you can become liable for that income being taxed as your personal income.
- The group account year-end balance should not exceed $1,000.00. (A written explanation is needed for account balances over $1,000.00.)
- Forms for you to keep account records are available from www.gs-top.org or any area office. These forms are not to be turned in to the council.
Requirements for completing the Group Financial Reports
• Keep records of income and expenses and receipts.
• Have more than one adult knowledgeable about group funds.
• Do not borrow troop money for personal use.
• Do not mix personal and group money.
• Debit cards or checks may be used for troop expenses, activity registrations and group membership registrations.
Retiring or Closing a Group Bank Account
Unused Girl Scout money left in accounts when groups retire becomes the property of the council. Prior to the retirement of a group, the group may decide to donate any unused funds to the GS-TOP Girl Financial Assistance Fund, or other worthwhile organization, to another group, or use the money for girl activities. As when closing a personal account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account before you close it, and realize that you may have to close the account in person.
- Group funds, equipment/supplies, checks, and debit cards should be turned over to your area office with an Annual Group Financial Report within two weeks.
- If the troop is retiring because the girls are not interested in continuing, they should decide how to spend the troop funds, keeping in mind that the activities continue to reflect the Girl Scout program. Examples include a final camp-out, trip, or contribution to the GS-TOP Financial Assistance Fund.
- If a group retires and the girls are placed in other groups, the group funds left in the treasury will be disbursed to the new groups the girls have joined.
Service Unit Bank Accounts
If a Service Unit has accumulated funds, a bank account must be established and be held in
the name of Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Inc. (Name of Service Unit)
- A treasurer must be appointed to maintain records. This person must be a registered member and have completed a Criminal Background Check. It is a one-year term from June 1 – May 31.
- Treasurers will receive a letter reminding them to submit the Service Unit Annual Financial Report along with a copy of the latest bank statement.
- Service Unit bank accounts must have three authorized check signers NOT from the same family who are registered Girl Scout Adults. (council policy).
- The Service Unit account year-end balance should not exceed $1,000.00. (For accounts over $1,000.00 a written explanation is needed.) (council policy)
- Check signers for a given Service Unit event should not be the Event Coordinator, in order to maintain accurate checks and balances.
- The Service Unit Team decides on the use of funds in order to benefit all girls in the Service Unit and MUST follow council procedures for the use of Service Unit monies. (council policy)
- Keep records of income and expenses and receipts.
- Turn in the Service Unit Annual Financial Report in June (council policy).
- Do not borrow Service Unit money for personal use.
- Do not mix personal and Service Unit money.
- Debit cards or checks may be used for Service Unit approved expenses.