Simon Keller

Marshall Clark is the long-time Wellington Scottish treasurer. Marshall will step down as treasurer when his term finishes in April, and we are looking for a replacement. I chatted with Marshall about the role and what it takes to be a good club treasurer.

How long have you been Scottish treasurer, and how has the role changed over that time?

Around seven years ago, I took over as club treasurer from John Leonard, who had served in the role for many years. I have made a few changes since then, but the basics have been the same for over 15 years. 

How does the role of treasurer fit within the management committee?

The treasurer provides a service to the management committee by ensuring bills are paid when due, recording and reporting on income and expenditure, and managing the bank accounts, including term deposits. The treasurer also sits on the management committee and participates in the committee’s deliberations and decisions.

What does the treasurer contribute to the club?

The treasurer provides routine financial management to ensure that bills are paid and that income and expenditure are recorded and reported to the management committee.

From a member’s perspective, the most important role of the treasurer is to arrange reimbursements for various expenses they may incur in helping to make our events happen. For example, I reimburse the club’s van drivers when they buy petrol. I normally aim to make reimbursements within a few days of receiving a claim.

What are the main tasks of the treasurer?

At present, we have around 400-500 bank transactions in a typical year. However, this is likely to reduce significantly in future, as we are making more use of credit card payments and consolidation via online platforms for membership, events, and merchandise. Most of the bank transactions are income, including things like uniforms and member contributions for away trips. We have the usual electronic banking facilities available, making payments easy to manage. As an example, after this year’s NZRR in Christchurch, on the way to the airport, when our driver refuelled the vehicle, I was able to set up the reimbursement and scan the receipt for our records with my phone before we reached the airport.

Our cashbook is a simple spreadsheet designed by Todd Stevens. The format has served us well over many years. All records are online – we don’t handle or store any paper. Keeping the cashbook records up to date is a simple task. The spreadsheet allows reports to be generated easily for monthly meetings of the management committee.

Todd Stevens reviews the cashbook every six months and assists us with filing the GST returns and preparing the annual financial statements for our AGM. He also files the annual statements with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies.

Are the club’s finances in good shape? What can the new treasurer expect to find?

We are fortunate to be in a strong financial position, particularly after receiving the generous bequest early in 2022 from the estate of our former life member Peter Tearle.

A future treasurer will find the main challenge is the same one I was cautioned about when taking on the role seven years ago: the club is not spending enough money. The club has more reserves than are necessary given the typical annual turnover and the relatively low-risk nature of our operations. The main factor limiting our ability to spend money is the availability of volunteers to develop and drive new initiatives.

There are some difficult issues associated with continued ownership of the clubhouse building. We don’t yet know how the current investigations will play out, but this is an important issue for the committee, not just the treasurer.

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being treasurer?

It is satisfying to be able to support the club as treasurer, and as a member of the management committee, you get insights into the full range of club activities and issues. Generally, it is a straightforward and enjoyable role that requires only a few hours a month.

One of the minor frustrations of being the treasurer is going back to members seeking a reimbursement because they didn’t give me their bank account number. Another least favourite part is chasing up the very small number of members who are late paying their required contribution to events such as the National Road Relay.

What skills does a treasurer need?

For our club treasurer role, the requirements are basic. This is especially so because the club’s operations are generally similar year-to-year, and we have ongoing support from Todd Stevens – a highly experienced accountant. The treasurer does not need to be an accountant or even have been a treasurer previously. Some capability with Excel is required, but not at an expert level.

What would you say to a club member thinking of volunteering as our next treasurer?

Our club must have a treasurer! Taking up this role is a great way of providing an essential service to support the club and help it to continue to be successful. The role is not burdensome, requiring only a modest commitment of time each month. The committee meetings are mostly on Zoom now, and this is a big time-saver, cancelling out travel time.

I have enjoyed the role, but after seven years, it is time for me to hand it over. I would like to hear from someone considering taking over the role after the AGM in 2023.