In response to ever-evolving needs and requirements, the AFS-USA Board of Directors has voted to implement an improved system for Field Finance, called the Unified Banking System.This System includes several benefits for our volunteers, which we believe will make team and chapter finance easier and more efficient:
- Treasurers and Chairs will be issued credit cards for payment of AFS expenses.
- Reimbursements and check requests will be submitted online, which makes the process less paper intensive.
- Deposits can be made online – trips to the bank will be a thing of the past.
- Treasurers will spend much less time on reporting, as monthly and quarterly financial reports will no longer be required.
- Volunteers will continue to make their own team or chapter purchasing decisions.
- You will continue to make your own decisions about how much and to whom you award scholarships out of your locally raised funds.
- Online financial reports will be available monthly for Treasurers and Chairs.
The new systems will rely heavily on technology, cloud computing and other online functionality provided by our banking partners. Ultimately, the goal is to improve fiduciary oversight while providing volunteers with quick access to Team funds and full transparency into their accounts.
Between the Fall of 2018 and Summer 2019, all local Team and Chapter bank accounts will be closed, and the balances transferred to a Master Field Cash account in NY. The cash will be maintained in this Master account on behalf of Teams and Chapters and will be held for use at the Team or Chapter's discretion.
To explain the reasons behind the change, we would like to bring you up to speed on what has been happening behind the scenes. Despite improvements volunteers and staff have made over the years, the organization continues to face a degree of risk due to the dispersed responsibility for cash in volunteer accounts. There are instances of team accounts that have never been reported to us or people raising money in the name of AFS that we don't know about. There is also the issue of defunct chapter accounts where banks won't release information to us and we can't locate the volunteers who opened the accounts. Finally, we don't always get information from our teams in a timely manner, which could result in a ding on our audited financial statements.
After the Board voted at its January 2018 meeting to require that the organization move forward with the Unified Banking System, a group of Team Treasurers and Chairs have met regularly with AFS-USA staff, to provide input and counsel into the proposed plan.
The current timeline for the transition is envisioned as follows:
- Spring/ Summer 2018
- Town Hall meetings will be held – Four dates in May and June
- Launch pilot program for willing teams (registration for the pilot is now closed)
- Fall 2018-Spring 2019:
- Regional training sessions
- Full roll-out of new system
The Town Hall meetings in May and June were open to all volunteers to learn more about this change and to have their questions answered. 74 volunteers, representing almost 50 Area Teams and Chapters, participated in the four calls.
Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.