Handling Shire Money

I just went though my exchequer training this past weekend.  I will admit that I’ve been pretty ignorant about how money has been handled in the Shire in the past.  I also was ignorant of a lot of the laws and policies required for handling money.  Now that I know what we’re supposed to do, I thought I’d share that information.  I’m probably telling you guys what you already know and already have been doing, but I figured it was best to post about the various laws and policies regarding handling Shire money that way we all know and we can all abide by them.  I want us to be in full compliance with EK and SCA financial policies and laws. They have started reviewing the financial procedures of other Shires and Baronies recently and if we are found negligent enough, can lose our Shire.

I plan to post bits about financial policies and laws every so often to keep everyone aware of how things are required to be run.  I see it as my job to make everyone aware of the policies so we all know how to get funding for events, how to get reimbursed, etc.  I don’t want any surprises at the last minute and I don’t want anyone feeling like they got screwed over.  In short, I want to make our Shire finances, as well as the policies we must follow, as transparent as possible.  We all donated and helped raise funds.  We should all know where it’s going and the proper procedures to get money for the various things we do in the SCA.

Since we have been discussing events and event planning, I thought I’d post about that, since I want to be able to go through the procedures for the upcoming events as soon as possible.  Here is what the East Kingdom Financial Policy has to say about events and event finances (page 3):

“Event Finances
1. Before publishing an event announcement, the autocrat will discuss finances of the event with the local Chancellor of the Exchequer. The autocrat should prepare a budget for approval by the local finance committee in accordance with the local group’s procedures.
2. Expenses of Kingdom Events are borne by the local group sponsoring the event. When preparing a bid for Kingdom Events as defined by Kingdom law, the group should contact the appropriate kingdom officer for a written estimate of costs related to running the primary activity. The group shall submit a proposed budget that includes these costs as part of their bid package. A copy of the budget shall be sent to the Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer.
3. The Chancellor of the Exchequer may only reimburse allowable event expenses upon presentation of a receipt in accordance with the event’s budget and local branch procedures.
4. The Chancellor of the Exchequer may provide advance funds for budgeted event expenses with the approval of the local finance committee. A signed cash advance form will be required from the recipient prior to disbursement. The recipient must provide receipts and/or repayment to cover the total amount disbursed either within 30 days of the expenditure, or not later than 15 days after the event, whichever date is earliest.
5. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, or designated representative, and the autocrat, or designated representative, are responsible for collecting all proceeds from the event and reconciling them to the
attendance records. During the event, using money from the cash box for expenses is strongly discouraged. If it is absolutely necessary to use money from the cash box for expenses, it is to be treated as a cash advance. All event proceeds must be deposited in the appropriate account as soon as possible.
6. All checks for event attendance must be made payable to “SCA, Inc. – name of group” and deposited in the group’s bank account.”

So, essentially, the autocrat will need to come up with a budget and prepare it for approval of the finance committee.  According to the Exchequer paperwork that has been submitted in the past, our finance committee consists of the Senechal, Exchequer, and Deputy Senechal.  It is also the Exchequer’s job to take (and keep) minutes of the finance committee meetings.  I would be happy to read the minutes at our business meetings or post them anywhere the populace thinks is a good place.  I want everyone to know what is going on and want to keep our finances transparent.

A typical event budget would need to include a breakdown of expenditures including supplies, dayboard, feast, equipment, supplies for classes, expected profits, and seed money for the cash box at gate (aka “troll”).  It would also be helpful to include who will be doing what jobs so we know who will need to get how much money.  I would be happy to help any prospective autocrat put together a budget, so if you would like help, please contact me!

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