Suggested Practices for Chapters
Prepared by the CSI Finance task force with contributions from all of the following:
Jane E. Myers, Catharina Chang, Thomas J. Sweeney, Scott E. Gillig, Pamela A. Cingel-Gillig, & Kelly Coker
Special thanks to Upsilon Nu Chi Chapter which provided the foundation for this document.
Introduction: Rationale for Chapter Financial Policies
A fundamental purpose of Chi Sigma Iota International is to honor excellence in counseling both at the chapter and international levels. Successful counselors serve as role models so that those they assist can emulate their effectiveness in managing the various aspects of their lives. Implementing sound financial practices in both their personal and professional lives is one way counselors can exert a positive influence on those they serve.
At an organizational level, effective money management strategies are essential to the growth and maintenance of an organization. Counselors functioning within organizations must effectively manage finances if those organizations are to prosper. An organization does not automatically manage its finances effectively. Careful planning is an essential ingredient in effective financial management of an organization. CSI International serves as an example of an organization run by counselors for counselors that shows continued growth both in membership and finances. Careful financial planning is at the core of CSI’s fiscal success.
By observing our many chapters, it is clear that some are more financially healthy than others are. A challenge for all chapters is to develop their full financial potential. An important first step in developing financial fitness is to develop a set of policies that will serve as money management guidelines. It is recommended that each chapter (that has not already done so) form a Finance Committee for the purpose of coordinating and implementing aspects of finances such as: budget, reimbursement of cash advances, setting up and maintaining savings accounts, investing, dues collections, rebates, and financial auditing. This packet contains a set of financial policies that can be tailored to the needs of individual chapters.
1. Financial Policies and Procedures
1.1 The Finance Committee shall consist of at least three individuals who are members in good standing plus the Chapter Treasurer. The President in consultation with the Executive Council appoints the Chair. The Chapter Treasurer shall not chair the Finance Committee.
1.2 The Finance Committee and the Chapter Treasurer shall recommend financial policies and procedures for review and approval by the Executive Committee regarding expenditures, reimbursements, fund raising, budget requirements, and other financial matters. These policies and procedures will reflect the purpose of the chapter as defined in the Mission Statement.
- The Finance Committee and the Chapter Treasurer shall recommend a balanced budget to the Executive Committee for review and approval each fiscal year. This balanced budget will take into consideration the budget requests of each chapter committee and will conform to the chapter’s strategic plan.
- An annual budget will be recommended during the prior academic year for the following year. Each committee’s proposed budget will be submitted to the Finance committee and approved by the Executive Committee for the following year.
- Non-budgeted professional development activities will be self-supported. Any budget over-rides will also be self-supported.
- The budget will include a target goal for fundraising activities, which takes into consideration the strategic plan for the year.
- The Chapter Rebate will be applied to the following years’ budget.
3. Processing Requests for Reimbursement or Cash Advances
- The Chapter will establish a system for requesting funds for reimbursements and cash advances using appropriate documentation (including receipts, etc.).
- The Treasurer and the Faculty Advisor will review all requests for reimbursement if appropriate. The Treasurer will only sign off on the reimbursement if sufficient funds are in the appropriate line item budget.
- When requests for expenditures or reimbursement exceed the amount in the line item by 5% of the total line item prior to payment or authorization, the request will be reviewed by the Treasurer and Finance Committee, then submitted to the Executive Council for review and approval.
- Any expense in excess of 10% of the annual operating budget will not be approved at the same Executive Council meeting at which it is presented. (Rationale: The chapter is not an emergency agency. To facilitate responsible planning, adequate time must be allowed for decision making on all financial maters).
- Appropriate reimbursement forms will be maintained by the Treasurer and be readily available to the members.
4. Account Management
- An account is to be maintained by the Chapter Treasurer and financial reports are to be made to the Executive Committee each month.
- Documentation is to be provided for all transactions with the Chapter’s account including; deposits, reimbursements, exchanges of funds, and other expenses.
- A Federal Tax ID number should be obtained by the chapter through the IRS website before setting up a checking account.
- If a chapter uses a checking account, the Treasurer, the President, or the Faculty Advisor can make deposits. Two signers are required for all checks written on the Chapter’s account; the Treasurer and the Faculty Advisor or the President and the Faculty Advisor.
- If a chapter uses a savings account, the Treasurer, the President, or the Faculty Advisor can make deposits. For savings withdrawals, two signers are required; the Treasurer and the Faculty Advisor or the President and the Faculty Advisor.
- Investment opportunities will be pursued annually by the Treasurer and the Finance Committee as appropriate.
- Any fees accrued due to returned the individual responsible for payment of said check will pay checks unless the chapter is responsible for the error. In this event, the finance committee will determine an appropriate course of action.
5. Membership Fees
- Each chapter has the option of establishing local membership fees in addition to international CSI dues. Local membership fees will be collected from prospective members before the initiation date. A policy will indicate how far in advance membership fees must be received in order for the prospective member to qualify for initiation. All local membership fees collected will be deposited in a timely manner. Chapter dues for new members may not exceed 50% of dues for CSI International.
- At the same time local membership fees are collected, international fees are collected from prospective members as well. Prospective members should pay the fee while completing the New Member Application at csi-net.org.
- Prospective members will be reminded that both international and local membership fees must be paid to qualify them for membership in CSI.
- Membership fees may also be accepted from prospective CSI members who apply after the annual initiation and deposited in a timely manner.
6. Annual Renewal Fees
- In addition to local membership fees, chapters may choose to collect a local annual renewal fee.
- Members will be reminded that both international and local renewal fees must be paid to maintain active membership in CSI.
- Members may pay international membership fees and international annual renewal fees by credit card.
- Two brief reports are required to be completed by the chapter to receive an annual rebate. At minimum, the chapter’s officers and committee chairs will be actively involved in writing the Chapter Annual Report and Chapter Annual Plan. Upon completion and timely return of the typed reports to CSI Headquarters, a check for all new and renewed members of the chapter in the past year will be sent to the chapter at the current rebate amount per member. Please note the current year’s deadline, which is the cut off for receiving reports in time to be eligible for the rebates. By renewing the past year’s activities and having a deliberate plan for the coming year, continued good financial health of the chapter is maintained. Copies of the Chapter Annual Report and Chapter Annual Plan are mailed out annually to the Faculty Advisor. The chapter may also download the forms from the CSI homepage (www.csi-net.org).
- Rebate checks must be cashed within the fiscal year in which they are issued. No uncashed rebate checks will be reissued or replaced once the fiscal year is over. Chapters requesting replacement of rebate checks may be assessed a processing fee to cover costs for staff and bookkeeper time and potential bank charges. Chapters violating CSI policies may be subject to withholding of a portion of their annual chapter rebate. That portion may vary from 25% to 100% depending on the nature of the violation, as determined by the Executive Council.
- The Finance Committee will be responsible for auditing the Treasurer’s records at the beginning of each academic year. Some chapters may choose to employ an outside, independent audit
9. Sample Chapter Financial Spreadsheet
- A sample chapter financial spreadsheet is provided (based on the one provided by Upsilon Nu Chi Chapter). The spreadsheet contains several tabs including worksheets for budget, expenses, income, chapter financial report, sources of income, inventory, and membership dues. Make sure to maximize the worksheet to see all of the tabs. While this may offer a more complex sample than what might be necessary for many chapters, users are free to use it as a guide and modify or delete information as necessary.