New England Educational Opportunity
Center Fiscal Policy
Board Approved Changes - 9/4/2005
Minor error in line 41 corrected 1/11/05
Check card policy added on 10/1/2008
Policy Seminar reimbursement policy added on 3/28/2011
Click here to view the approved NEOA budget for the current fiscal year (PDF)
Click here to view the NEOA cancellation policy for event registrations.
I. POLICY TITLE: BUDGET
A. Fiscal Year
The NEOA annual fiscal year shall begin on September 1 and conclude August 31 of the following year.
B. Preparation of an Annual Budget
The President, working in collaboration with the Treasurer, Finance Chair and appropriate Committee Chairs, shall prepare an Annual Budget for the Board for approval at the first annual meeting of the Board of Directors. Such budget shall divide income and expenditures related to different activities into separate cost centers as is necessary to meet contractual obligations and to comply with standard accounting practices.
C. Budget Modifications
The Finance Committee may recommend modifications to the annual budget as a result of changes in the Association’s financial position or priorities during the course of the fiscal year. All suggested budget modifications must be presented to and approved by the chair of the finance committee and the Board prior to expenditure.
II. POLICY TITLE: FINANCIAL REPORTS
Standard financial reports will be prepared for each regular scheduled meeting and distributed by the Treasurer to the Board of Directors. These reports shall include a listing of income and expenditures for the reporting period in each cost center by sub-account together with the variance between budget and actual expense, year-to-date.
The Finance Chair shall prepare a reconciliation of all bank accounts on a monthly basis and shall provide a reconciliation report to the Finance Committee at each regularly scheduled Board meeting. Should concerns arise in the reconciliation process, the Finance Chair shall work the Treasurer and other appropriate individuals to address the concerns in a timely fashion and report the outcome to the Finance Committee.
A. Inquiries Concerning Financial Reports
Board members and current and prospective funding agencies having questions concerning NEOA’s financial reports shall relay those questions to the Treasurer or President. The Treasurer and President shall review the questions with the chair of the finance committee, and prepare a reply. All inquiries must be responded to within 30 days of the inquiry date.
III. POLICY TITLE: RECEIPT AND DISBURSEMENT OF NEOA FUNDS
The receipt and disbursement of NEOA funds is the responsibility of the Treasurer.
A. Bank Accounts
No agreement to open any NEOA bank account shall be entered into without the specific approval of the Board of Directors. No person shall open any bank account or use any existing account as a depository for NEOA funds without the specific approval of the Board of Directors.
B. Receipt of Funds
Monies received shall be deposited by the Treasurer or his or her designee in an account authorized by the Board of Directors. No expenditures shall be made from cash collections.
1. Custody and Safekeeping of Collections
If money is required to be held by staff or board members, reasonable care shall be taken to protect these funds.
2. Checks Issued on Insufficient Funds
Checks are accepted by NEOA subject to the maker’s bank honoring demand for payment. If a check is not honored, it is the responsibility of the Treasurer to use all reasonable diligence to collect the amount due from the maker, including any fees that may have been incurred due to returned deposits.
C. Disbursal of Funds and Authorized Signature
The Treasurer and President shall be the authorized signatories for NEOA. Pursuant to authorization ($100.00 or less verbal, excess $100.00 written) all checks drawn on NEOA funds shall be signed by the Treasurer or President. If the Treasurer is unavailable or is unable to perform this function, the President may do so in his or her stead. No disbursement shall be made without a written invoice, with original receipts attached, or to meet an on-going contractual obligation evidenced by written documentation.
1. Approval of Disbursements
Prior to payment, the cost-center and sub-account against which payment is to be made shall be affixed to the file copy of the invoice. Upon payment, the date of payment and check number shall also be affixed to this file copy and recorded in accounting software. The Treasurer or his or her representative shall make no payment without an inspection that the cost is allowable and has a cost-center number assignment. The Treasurer will maintain appropriate back-up copies of all accounting software files.
2. Personal Orders
NEOA shall not purchase any goods or services for the personal use of employees or Board Members, nor shall discounts on personal purchases be sought from NEOA vendors for Board Members or staff.
3. Expenditures Limitations for All Accounts/Expenditures in Excess of Budget
At no time shall the Treasurer or his or her representative approve the disbursement of funds against a particular cost center sub-account which would cause expenditures in that sub-account to exceed 125% of the annual budgeted amount for that sub-account without prior approval of the Board.
4. Restricted Accounts
Disbursements made on restricted accounts shall be made in accordance with NEOA policy and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the donor or funding agency as well.
As a 501 (c) (3) organization, NEOA is permitted under federal law to engage in lobbying activities to influence legislation and public policy. However, no federal grant funds or other sources of restricted revenue shall be used for lobbying except when specifically authorized to do so. Should funds be allocated for lobbying activities within the annual budget, the Treasurer and Finance Committee will be responsible for ensuring that the allocation and expenditure of such funds does not exceed the limitations permitted under federal law (generally 20% of the annual budget for direct lobbying and 25% of the direct lobbying allocation may be spent for grassroots lobbying). The Treasurer shall work with the organization’s accountant to ensure that all appropriate federal tax forms are filed with the IRS.
D. Check Card Policy & Procedures
All policies related to proper use of NEOA funds and appropriate documentation hold true for use of the check card.
1. Only the Treasurer has authority to make charges on the check card.
2. Cash withdrawals are not permitted under any circumstances.
3. Original receipts for check card purchases must be submitted to the Treasurer within two weeks.
4. It is the responsibility of Board members/committee chairs to follow up with vendors who do not provide original documentation for check card purchases related to their NEOA activities.
5. The Treasurer may only use the check card to pay for goods and services as requested by Board members/committee chairs and not for the Treasurer’s own expenses, even as related to NEOA.
6. Payment by check is preferred whenever possible.
7. The check card has a per day charge limit of $2,000 and using it to obtain cash is prohibited. Cash withdrawals from ATMs are blocked by the bank.
8. The check card may be used to make deposits via ATM.
E. Stop Payment for Lost/Missing Checks
In the event that NEOA issues a check that is not received or is reported lost, the Treasurer may issue a stop-payment on the original check if the amount is over $100 and issue a replacement. On the rare occasion that a travel reimbursement check issued is lost more than once, the Treasurer, in consultation with the Finance Chair, may elect to not issue a third replacement.
IV. POLICY TITLE: SELECTION OF VENDORS
Vendors shall be selected for their capability to serve the needs of NEOA and its members in the most economical and efficient manner possible. Past performance and cooperation are important factors to be considered in the selection. Only vendors in compliance with the Equal Opportunity Act (Executive Order 11246 Amended) shall be utilized.
A. Minority Vendors
NEOA shall purchase from firms or organizations operated or owned by minorities and/or women to the extent that this is feasible.
Necessity of Quotation shall be secured when the purchase in question exceeds $1000.00.
1. If the purchase in question exceeds $1000.00 but is less than $3000.00, at least two written or verbal quotations shall be secured.
2. If the purchase in question is equal to or greater than $3000.00, three written or verbal quotations shall be secured.
3. The Treasurer shall review the purchasing patterns of the NEOA Board on a quarterly basis and advise whether additional quotations shall be sought where the sum total of a given number of smaller purchases in one category is substantial.
C. Sole Source
In instances where only one vendor can supply the goods or services sought in a timely fashion or of a quality required, a sole source purchase shall be required. If a sole source purchase is utilized, the Treasurer or requester shall provide written documentation as to the reasons a particular vendor is appropriate.
D. Lease or Rental of Equipment
Prior to recommending a lease or rental agreement covering equipment, the Treasurer or his/her representative shall examine the relative costs and benefits of the recommended selection and its alternatives. He or she shall report the findings to the Finance Committee. Such report shall indicate:
(1) Who retains title to the equipment;
(2) Who is responsible for the equipment in the event of theft or damage;
(3) Whether it would be advisable for the NEOA Board to insure the equipment and if the policy is adequate;
(4) What maintenance expenses can be anticipated for the equipment;
(5) What opportunities for lease/purchase of the equipment (including payback period) are available.
V. POLICY TITLE: TRAVEL
The basic policy guiding travel expense reimbursement for the NEOA Board of Directors, including others acting on behalf of NEOA, is that the individual traveler should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of travel assignments. Thus, each traveler is reimbursed for expenses incurred in connection with authorized travel on NEOA business consistent with these policies, and with any specific policies governing the grant or contract to which it is charged. Individuals are encouraged to obtain travel funds from alternative sources before submitting a request for reimbursements. With the exception of mileage, all travel-related reimbursements must be accompanied by supporting documentation (i.e. receipts).
A. Travel Authorization
1. President’s Travel
All Presidential travel shall have a significant and demonstrable business purpose as he or she shall determine, and shall be within the budget approved for Officer Travel by the Board.
2. Officer’s Travel
All travel of other officers shall have a significant and demonstrable business purpose and shall be approved by the President.
3. Other Travel
All other travel shall have a significant and demonstrable business purpose and shall be approved by the President.
B. Air and Rail Travel
Domestic air and rail travel is reimbursed on the basis of the actual costs of transportation used by the traveler, but reimbursement shall not exceed the cost of coach airfare by the usually traveled route. Coach should be utilized on all occasions when it is possible to do so. However, it is recognized that sometimes it may be necessary to use first class travel because on the lack of available space, time schedules, routing, cancellation of flights, etc. When first class transportation is used for any reason a statement of its necessity must be submitted with the required reimbursement request. Special airfares and discount rates shall be used when possible.
C. Automobile Travel
When travel by private automobile is desirable to save time, transport equipment, or to reduce the cost for a number of persons traveling to the same destination together, reimbursement shall be as follows:
- Persons traveling alone shall be reimbursed at the rate of 40 cents per mile;
- The driver or owner of a private vehicle used as a carpool shall be reimbursed at the rate of 45 cents per mile;
- Persons traveling alone to a carpool meeting place may be reimbursed at the rate of 40 cents per mile for the individual portion of the trip.
Members traveling on business for NEOA are strongly encouraged to carpool whenever feasible to reduce association costs and minimize environmental impact.
No reimbursement shall be made for the cost of repairs for mechanical failure of the vehicle, whether they result from the traveler’s act or the acts of others. Ferry, bridge, tunnel, toll-road and reasonable parking charges are allowed in addition to the mileage allowance and must be accompanied by receipts.
2. Automobile Rental
The individuals identified and discussed in section “A” above when such use results in savings of cost or time may be authorized to use a rental car. Prior approval by the President, in consultation with the Finance Chair, is required.
D. Other Transportation
Limousine service to and from airports and railroad stations plus reasonable gratuities shall be reimbursed to the extent that such service is not included in rail or airfares. Taxi fares, including gratuities, shall be reimbursed where public transportation or limousine service is not practical. This includes taxis between hotels and temporary place of duty. A receipt is required for reimbursement of any such trip.
E. Lodging (Hotels, Motels, Inns)
Authorized travelers should use standard accommodations in first class, but not luxury, lodging facilities. It is anticipated that if a traveler is attending a meeting he or she shall stay at the hotel where the meeting is held. All reasonable lodging expenses, related to the purpose for travel, shall be reimbursed when receipts are presented.
Expenses for meals for authorized travelers at restaurants shall be reimbursed when receipts for such meals are presented. Authorized association activities by committees, liaisons or task forces shall be reimbursed for reasonable meal costs.
G. Miscellaneous Expenses
Other expenses associated with normal travel that shall be reimbursed including the following:
1. Communication expenses (phone calls, internet service, faxes, etc.) including those necessary to obtain transportation and hotel reservations, but not personal communications expenses. Receipts and/or supporting documents are required.
2. Expenses associated with gratuities for meals, baggage handling and storage, clerical charges, locker and storage charges to the extent that such gratuities do not exceed 20% of total of meal or lodging costs.
3. Cost of travelers or cashier’s checks for travel advances, photocopying reports and other documents which cannot be delayed until after completion of the trip, and postage for business related mail.
4. TRAVEL EXPENSES NOT NORMALLY REIMBURSABLE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- Costs incurred by failure to cancel transportation or hotel reservations;
- Fines for automobile violations or personal misconduct;
- Lost or stolen tickets, cash or property;
- Travel accident insurance premiums;
- Laundry and valet expenses;
- Gifts or gratuities given to a host or hostess when a traveler stays with such a party in lieu of commercial lodging;
- Movies, spas, saunas, etc.
H. Travel Advances
Cash advances in amounts anticipated to cover expenses of trip are available upon request if submitted in a timely manner. When travel arrangements are complete, the person authorizing the travel must sign a travel advance form. No travel advance will be issued until every prior advance has been accounted for.
VI. POLICY TITLE: CONSULTANTS
A. Definition of Consultants
A consultant is an individual who is engaged personally to give professional advice or services, for a fee, but not as an employee of NEOA. The term includes paid guest lectures and other paid guest speakers.
B. Consultant Payments to Federal Employees
Consulting fees paid to a Federal employee shall not be charged to a federal grant or contract or non-Federal share required by such grant contract.
C. Approval Requirements
All consulting agreements shall be in writing and signed by the President his or her designee. No consulting agreement shall be signed unless a specific line item for it is included in the annual budget.
D. Consultant Reports
1. The variety of possible consulting agreements is too great to permit hard and fast rules on submission of written report by consultants. In some cases, such as guest lectures, a written report might serve little or no useful purpose. In other cases, the very reason for hiring the consultant might be to obtain his or her report. In any case, some statement regarding the consultant’s work must be filed or on record.
2. The President should encourage the submission of written reports from the consultant except when, in his or her judgment, a report is not feasible or would not be useful. Even then a statement of purpose and necessary approvals must be on file.
E. Documentation Standards
Charges for consulting payments must be supported in the NEOA records by an invoice from the consultant and a copy of the written report if appropriate.
VII. POLICY TITLE: INCIDENTAL ITEMS
Frequently, during the course of various events that NEOA sponsors, the organizing committee may wish to order and sell items associated with that event. These include, but are not limited to, T-shirts, mugs, pins, pens, raffles, etc. They are useful as a reminder of the experience as well as advertising for the organization.
The event organizing committee has the option to design and order these items, as long as they adhere to the general fiscal policies of NEOA. In addition, the following guidelines are expected to be followed:
A. All orders and deliveries must be recorded. The Treasurer should be billed directly.
B. Deliveries should be verified by the event organizing committee as to amount ordered and condition received.
C. At the event, a careful inventory must be maintained for each item sold. This information includes the number of each type of item sold on a given day and method of payment. If paid by check, the check number should be recorded. A separate check for incidental items is not necessary from the purchaser.
D. NO CREDITS SHOULD BE GIVEN. Each sale requires immediate payment.
E. If the purchaser requires a receipt, a receipt book should be available. However, it is important not to rely on a receipt book for recording purposes.
FISCAL PROCEDURES FOR COMMITTEE CHAIRS
The following are recommended fiscal procedures for all NEOA Committee Chairs:
1. All incoming Committee Chairs, at the request of the incoming President, are required to submit a budget in writing prior to the establishment of a NEOA budget by the Finance Committee. If Chairs are unsure what their budgetary needs might be, the Finance Chair or incoming President will assist them.
2. The Finance Committee will review each committee budget in light of the current fiscal status of the organization and the organization’s priorities for the year. The committee will the make budget recommendations subject to the approval of the full Board of Directors.
3. The Finance Committee will review each committee’s budget on a regular basis before and after completion of their activities to assure compliance with NEOA Fiscal Policies and adherence to the budget set forth.
4. A NEOA expense voucher, with attached receipts, is required for reimbursement. Reimbursement will not be forthcoming unless receipts accompany request.
5. Whenever possible, Committee Chairs should not use their own personal or project funds to advance money. It is preferred that bill be submitted directly to the Treasurer for payment.
6. When a Committee Chair sends checks for deposit to the Treasurer, remember to (1) make a copy for your records in case something unexpected occurs, (2) include the check number on the purchase order/invoice, or (3) send sufficient documentation so that the Treasurer knows which accounts to credit.
7. It is expected that Committee Chairs will keep proper fiscal records and monitor these records with regard to who has paid NEOA for attendance at an activity and who has not yet paid.
8. When requesting checks for payment, the checks should be made out to the “New England Educational Opportunity Association” or “NEOA.” The federal identification number is 222589628.
9. All purchase orders require that a bill, or invoice, be sent in order for the organization to receive payment. If the Committee Chair receives a purchase order as initial payment for an activity, he or she is responsible for the billing. Invoice forms are available from the Treasurer.
10. The Committee Chair is responsible for maintaining records as to who has been sent an invoice and who still needs to be billed. Invoices must be mailed in a timely manner. The Chair is responsible for the collection of all money due to the organization. The Treasurer will become involved in the billing process only as a matter of last recourse.
11. The Chair is expected to meet with the Treasurer within one month of the event to reconcile all accounts.
POLICY FOR EXPENDING FUNDS FOR COE POLICY SEMINAR
NEOA is committed to providing financial support to New England member states which send state leaders and alumni to the annual COE Policy Seminar. Each year, NEOA will budget at least $3,000 per state to support attendance at the COE Policy Seminar. Each state may seek reimbursement for actual expenditures after proper paperwork has been submitted. Expenses exceeding the amount approved by the Board will not be reimbursed. Any funds not expended will remain part of the general NEOA budget.
Of the total allocated for each state, one-third is available to support the expenses of the state designated team leader(s) with responsibilities for organizing travel to the Policy Seminar. The team leader assumes a leadership role for the delegation from that state and has numerous responsibilities during the event. In addition, the team leader is responsible for verifying, organizing and submitting a consolidated expense report to the NEOA Treasurer.
The remaining two-thirds can be used to cover expenses for TRIO alumni attending the COE Policy Seminar. How this breaks down is at the discretion of the team leader and takes into account what other funding might be available for this event. It is recommended that at least 2 alumni attend.