If you’ve been in the program very long, you’ve probably heard this adage: “If you take the outing out of Scouting, all you’re left with is dollars and cents.” Turn the S and C in “SCOUTING” into dollar and cent signs ($ and ¢), and you’ll get the point.
The adage is true, of course, but it tends to give less weight to money than it should. After all, without money it’s pretty hard to mount a trip to Philmont, buy camp stoves, or reimburse leaders for their expenses.
While financial management is the responsibility of the troop committee, Scoutmasters are the ones that suffer the most (aside from their Scouts) when financial mishaps occur. That’s why you should be familiar with how your troop’s money is managed.
A couple of years ago, the BSA’s Finance Impact Group compiled a list of frequently asked questions about unit fiscal policies and procedures, which you can access at http://www.scouting.org/filestore/financeimpact/pdf/Unit_Fiscal_Policies_052009.pdf. This document describes best practices for unit money management and also covers the sticky topics of tax-exempt status and what happens to a unit’s assets if it dissolves. It’s important reading for you, your troop committee chair, and your treasurer.
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