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Societies Finance Manual 200910


									Societies Finance Manual

        Version 1.2 – July 2009
                              Society Finance Manual 2009/10

Introduction                                                                      3
Most important rule of Finance                                                    3
Spending under £50                                                                3
Spending over £50                                                                 3
Accounts                                                                          3

Funding your society                                                              4
Fundraising                                                                       4
Sponsorship                                                                       4

Funding from Activities Committee                                                 4
Societies & Initiative Fund                                                       4
Funding Criteria                                                                  5
Activities Loan                                                                   5

Ultra Vires Transactions                                                          6
Charity work                                                                      6
Food and drink                                                                    6
Affiliations                                                                      6
Campaigns                                                                         6
Educational Campaigns                                                             6

Paying money in and out of your account                                           7
Paying money into your account                                                    7
Paying money out from your account                                                7

VAT                                                                               7
VAT & fundraising events                                                          8
VAT & other events                                                                8

Finance Forms                                                                     8
Purchase Order Form                                                                9
Payment Request Form                                                               9
Transport Claims                                        Error! Bookmark not defined.
Deadlines and collection times                                                     9

Other things                                                                     10
Insurance                                                                        10
Contracts                                                                        10
Managing Finances                                                                10
Statements & record keeping                                                      10
Cash Handling                                                                    11
Useful contacts                                                                  11

                                     - Page 2 of 12 -
                          Society Finance Manual 2009/10

If you would like any help or advice with any of the procedures included in this guide
please feel free to contact Jo Walters, Societies Development Co-ordinator – We’d love to help you.

Most important rule of Finance
All payments from Union funds must be authorised by the Finance Officer. If you buy
anything for a society without authorisation the Union is not liable to pay for it.
Whenever you are unsure about whether you can claim something back, ask before
you spend!

Spending under £50
Usually you can spend this first and then bring the receipts and use a Payment
Request form to get it back from the Finance Office. Cash can usually be claimed
for amounts under £15 and we’ll pay you back by cheque for larger amounts. See
page 9 for more information on Payment Request forms.

Your society’s treasurer should be informed of payments made this way, and
authorise them where possible to help you run things more efficiently (and so that
you don’t go to claim money one day and find you don’t have any left!)

Spending over £50
Check with Jo, Societies Development Co-ordinator, first and get a Purchase Order
form. This will mean much less hassle for you and if you don’t use one without
checking first, the Union is not obliged to pay. See page 9 for more information on
Purchase Order forms. Wherever possible, ask the supplier for a Pro Forma Invoice
as this enables the order form to be completed accurately and payment sent in

If you have any unusual requests – e.g. you need to pay by to an international bank
account, please contact Jo in advance as there will not always be staff available to
help you if you just turn up on the day you need things done!

In general, the more time in advance that you can get your forms to the Finance
Office, the better – it’s less hassle for everyone and much less stressful!

Every society has its own account held with the Union. Membership fees, ticket sales
and other fundraised money are paid in through USSU Reception. Essentially a
society can do whatever they want with their money, but the Union checks claims to
ensure fair use of funds.

Societies are not permitted to hold external bank accounts without permission. If you
feel that your society needs an external account, you must consult Jo, Societies
Development Co-ordinator, who will seek permission from the Activities Committee.
It should be noted that it is very rare for a society to need its own external account

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                          Society Finance Manual 2009/10
and by doing so, you will make it more difficult to get help from the Union in
managing your finances.

Additional funding is granted to societies through Activities Committee. This
funding is governed by Ultra Vires law, which places restrictions on what the money
can be used for. See page 6 for more information on Ultra Vires and page 4 for more
information about funding from Activities Committee.

Funding your society
If you would like to raise money for your society through fundraising, hosting an
event etc, speak to Jo, Societies Development Co-ordinator, who will be able to help
you. You can also take a look at How To… Make and Save Money, which is
available from the Activities Centre or

Before contacting any external organisations with regard to sponsorship, speak to
the Jo, as she will be able to advise you and give you examples of contracts and a
standard sponsorship request letter.

Successful fundraising is largely dependant on how you sell yourselves to the
community and potential sponsors. People are unlikely to donate to a cause they
know nothing about, nor are they likely to continue unless they are kept informed on
how their funds are being used. The most successful requests for funds are those
that meet the criteria set by the company. The main points that a company will take
into consideration are:
    The project is in line with corporate philosophy on donations and sponsorships
    The project is well presented
    There are convincing, supportive arguments and the need is clearly defined.
    The society has demonstrated ability to carry through the implementation of the
    There is mutual benefit for both the society and the sponsor.

There is further advice about sponsorship at

Funding from Activities Committee
Any funding granted by the Activities Committee can only be spent on the items that
the committee agreed on, and all funding must be spent within a stated time period,
after which if it is not claimed it will go back into the fund.

Societies & Initiative Fund
If your society needs funding for a particular item or event, you can apply to
Activities Committee which meets weekly to allocate funding. To do this, you will
need to fill in a Societies Fund or Initiative Fund application form (these are
available to download from and return it via email. Note
that applications should be made at least a week before you would like the money. If

                                  - Page 4 of 12 -
                           Society Finance Manual 2009/10
you are applying for funding for an event you will also need to complete an Event
Information Pack which is also available at

Both funds only allocate money for specific projects, and do not grant money for
general use. For example, if you wanted to buy specific equipment for your society,
this could be granted, but you cannot apply for a sum of money to be spent over the
year on unspecified items.

The Societies Fund grants money based on the strength of the application, and the
value and benefits it represents for your members and the wider student body. The
Initiative Fund uses the same criteria, but aims to match money that you have
already fundraised, again only for specific projects. For example, if you were putting
on an event where security costs were £160 and had raised £80 through a cake sale,
you could apply to the Initiative Fund for a further £80 to help pay for security at the

Funding Criteria
In order to be granted over £75 from Activities Committee, your society must have
at least 15 paid members and have paid in at least £75 into your account in the
current academic year. It may be worth considering this when setting your
membership fee for the year; although there is no minimum membership, if you run
an expensive society that is likely to require a lot of funding over the year, you may
wish to charge more. If you are applying for less than £75 from the committee you
do not need to meet this criteria, but bear in mind that the committee will consider
your contributions over the course of the year.

Please note that retrospective payments cannot be granted by Activities
Committee; if you are organising an event that requires funding, you must apply in
time for the committee to make the decision before the event, otherwise your
application will be denied and you will have to pay for the items yourself.

Activities Loan
An Activities Loan can also be granted by the Activities Committee – this is a loan the
Union that you will pay back, and will only be granted for specific projects that you
can show will make enough money to pay back the loan e.g. If you are putting on an
event that costs £500 but expect to make £1000 back in ticket sales on the night,
the Union can grant you an Activities Loan of £500 to put on the event in the first

For more information on getting money from the Union, see How To…Get Money
from the Union, which is available from the Activities Centre or

                                   - Page 5 of 12 -
                          Society Finance Manual 2009/10

Ultra Vires Transactions
As an organisation with charitable status, the money the Union receives is governed
by law. This means that there are restrictions on how societies spend Union money
(i.e. any funds granted through Activities Committee). Money spent by societies must
always be in line with their aims as laid out in their constitution.

The most common examples of Ultra Vires payments are:

Charity work
  It is illegal to use Union money to subsidise charity fundraising but the Union can
  grant funds to a fundraising society to put on events/activities due to the
  personal development/educational benefits to the event organisers.
  It is also illegal to donate Union money to other charities.
  You can still fundraise, but you need to cover the costs from money raised or
  from society money that is not from the Union.

Food and drink
  It is illegal to use Union money to pay for food and drink where it is not a core
  part of the event e.g. Providing free food and drink at an Education Not For Sale
  You are allowed to use Union money to pay for food and drink where it is a core
  part of the event e.g. Wine Society organise a wine tasting and ask for funding to
  subsidise the cost of the wines.

   Money granted by Activities Committee can only be used to affiliate to a national
   body where the return service is good value, proportional to the fee paid, and in
   line with the society’s aims e.g. Amnesty International Society may affiliate to
   Amnesty International provided that the fee is good value for what the society
   gets from it.
   The Union itself cannot affiliate to external groups.

  Societies can only use Union money to fund campaigns directly related to our
  members as students.
  You can only use Union money to subsidise places on demos which relate to
  student issues e.g. top up fees.
  If campaigns do not fall into these categories, the Union cannot fund them.

Educational Campaigns
  It is valid to use Union money to run a campaign on non-student issues provided
  it is educational and run for/promoted only to students e.g. An on-campus
  event raising awareness about climate change in the student body would be
  permissible. It would not be permissible to use Union funds to promote this
  campaign to non-students or to campaign outside the campus community e.g.
  Funding a coach to a national demo in London against climate change.

                                  - Page 6 of 12 -
                          Society Finance Manual 2009/10
   If a campaign did not fall into the permissible categories, you can fundraise and
   use the society’s own money to fund the campaign as you wish.

If you have any questions about Ultra Vires law and how it will affect your society,
contact the Finance Officer.

Paying money in and out of your account
Paying money into your account
Payments can be made at USSU Reception by card/cash/cheque. Cheques must be
made payable to USSU with the cheque guarantee card number, expiry date and
guarantee limit on the back. If you need to pay money in by bank transfer, see the
Finance Office.


Paying money out from your account
It is important to talk to Jo, Societies Development Co-ordinator, before undertaking
any significant expenditure to check that the correct procedure has been followed. If
the correct procedure is not followed then the Union may not pay and this could
mean that you are personally liable for the expenditure. See the relevant sections on
Purchase Orders (page 9) and Payment Request Forms (page 9) and ask the Jo
if you have any questions.

You should ask DJs, bands, and suppliers to provide invoices for your event. If they
will need to be paid on the night, please ensure that you leave plenty of time for the
Finance Office to process the cheque in advance. If your chosen DJ, band or supplier
cannot accept a cheque, please let us know in advance, alternatively you can pay
them yourselves and then claim back the money through the same form but you will
need to keep a receipt (don’t forget that all payments over £50 need to be
authorised in advance).

VAT (Value Added Tax) is deducted from membership payments, ticket and general
sales but is not deducted from donations which can include sponsorship, money
collections etc. This means that if your membership fee is £5 you will only get £4.26
into your account.

It can be reclaimed on goods purchased as long as the correct process is observed
and there is a VAT receipt or invoice with VAT number. This means that if you buy
something (using the correct process) costing £100, only £85.11 will be charged to
your account.

The Finance Office will automatically deduct/reclaim VAT on your behalf so you don’t
have to make any alterations to the way you pay suppliers or pay in money.

                                   - Page 7 of 12 -
                           Society Finance Manual 2009/10

VAT & fundraising events
The Union is an exempt charity, which means that when you are putting on a
fundraising event, you won’t have VAT deducted from the ticket sales provided that
it is clearly stated on the tickets and publicity that it is a fundraiser. E.g. “This
is a fundraising event for XX Society.” You will have to provide the Finance Office
with copies of your tickets and publicity. Note that in this case you cannot reclaim
the VAT on the goods you buy.

VAT & other events
However, if the event is not fundraising e.g. your society is subsidising a Ball or
other event so that members can get cheap entry, you are liable to pay VAT on ticket
sales, so supposing entry to that event was £10 you would only get £8.51 into your

If you are putting on an event where you will be charged VAT on ticket sales, you
can claim it back on other expenditure e.g. Venue costs, decorations etc.
To claim back VAT you need a VAT invoice detailing
    The name of the supplier
    The cost excluding VAT
    The amount of VAT charged
    The cost including VAT.

So please try to get a VAT receipt wherever possible, it might be tricky sometimes,
but you should always get them for larger amounts.

If you are unsure about VAT and your society, come and speak to Jo, Societies
Development Co-ordinator.

Finance Forms
All finance forms are available from the Activities Centre. Payment Request forms can
be downloaded from The purpose of each form is detailed
below. Please be careful to complete the correct form or it may delay the processing
and payment of the transaction. Please note that all forms require supporting
documentary evidence – receipts, invoices etc.

The forms available are:
   Purchase Order – to authorise payments in advance for items or services over
   the value of £50
   Payment Request – for reimbursement in cheque/BACS/cash form for
   payments you have made

Please remember that prior authorisation is essential for any expenditure over £50
(up to this point it can be authorised by your club/society treasurer). If authorisation
has not been obtained, the Union is not liable to pay and the matter becomes the
responsibility of the person who made the purchase.

                                   - Page 8 of 12 -
                           Society Finance Manual 2009/10
Purchase Order Form
If you are ordering anything over the value of £50, you must fill in a Purchase Order
form before the goods or services are supplied. The reason for this is that the order
guarantees that the supplier will receive payment, subject to the goods/services
detailed on the Purchase Order being delivered.

All of the suppliers that the Union regularly deals with require Purchase Orders as a
guarantee of payment, and the Finance Office will require you to have filled one in to
make the payment, so it is good practice to send the Purchase Order number to

By supplying an authorised Purchase Order, there is clear evidence of what was
ordered - quantities, colour, product, price and delivery requirements. In the event
that there is a dispute with the supplier, this document will be vital. If there is no
such evidence i.e. the order was placed verbally, any disputes are likely to fail, the
result being the society will have to pay, even if dissatisfied with the product
supplied. The point should be considered with every order placed so that the society
does not find itself in this position.

Purchase Orders require authorisation from the Assistant Director (Membership
Services) (and the Finance Officer for amounts over £300). Authorisation will not be
given unless there is adequate money in your account to pay for the proposed
purchases. If a Purchase Order is not used (in the case of amounts under £50), the
society must ensure that sufficient funding exists before any expenditure is incurred.

N.B. The Purchase Order Form comes in duplicate, both copies are to be returned to
the Finance Office so if you’d like to retain a copy you’ll need to photocopy one.

Payment Request Form
When you have sufficient funds in your society’s USSU account and you’re reclaiming
expenses you have to fill in a Payment Request form. The form must be completed
carefully and all supporting documentation attached for example; receipts,
tickets, purchase invoice, price list. Payment Request forms can be downloaded from or you can pick up a copy from the Activities Centre

Payment Request forms need to be authorised by Jo, Societies Development Co-
ordinator, who will check that your society has sufficient funds to be able to meet the
costs and the Finance Officer will authorise your claim. If the claim is for under £15,
it may be reimbursed in cash, otherwise all claims will be dealt with by cheque.
Please hand in completed forms in sufficient time for processing of cheques which
takes place once a week; items submitted by Monday 4pm will usually be available
by the following Thursday.

Deadlines and collection times
Cheques for reimbursements and invoices are processed once a week so please plan
ahead if you wish to be paid by cheque! Payment requests submitted by Monday
mornings should be ready by the following Thursday. Cheques will be posted out if
an address is specified on the Payment Request form, otherwise they will be kept in

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                          Society Finance Manual 2009/10
the Finance Office for collection. Please ensure that you plan your activities to take
into account the time it will take for a cheque to be raised.

Other things
The Union insures the possessions of societies but there is an excess of £500. If you
are buying any expensive equipment etc, please speak to Jo, Societies Development
Co-ordinator, about storage, security etc. Societies should maintain inventories of
their equipment.

If you plan on taking equipment off campus, we need to know exactly what you are
moving, where it is going to and the value of the items as they may need additional

If anything of value is lost/stolen please report it to the Office Manager, so that a
claim can be filed.

The only person empowered to sign contracts on behalf of the Students’ Union is
the Finance Officer. This includes any sort of agreement whether it be sponsorship or
a contract with a band to play at an event. If you sign a contract yourself, the
Union is not liable.

Please bear in mind that the Finance Officer will need to send off any contracts with
payment in advance of your event, so don’t leave it all to the last minute!

Managing Finances
The financial year for the Students’ Union runs from 1st August to 31st July. If the
Society continues to run the following year, credits and debts from the previous year
will be carried over. For your funds to be carried over you must submit the new
committee details to Jo, Societies Development Co-ordinator, by the end of the
summer term.

Statements & record keeping
The Union keeps a computerised record of all financial transactions that go through
your society account. You can request a printed or emailed copy of your account
from Jo, Societies Development Co-ordinator.

Just like a bank statement, the information within the account statement only shows
transactions which have been processed.

If you want some help understanding your statement, or have any queries, speak to
Jo, Societies Development Co-ordinator.

Whilst you can request a copy of your account details at any time, we recommend
that each Treasurer keeps their own record of all spending and income. The key

                                  - Page 10 of 12 -
                          Society Finance Manual 2009/10
purpose of this is to ensure that at all times the Treasurer can explain the society’s
financial position. Because it can take a while for a cash deposit or cheque claim to
appear on the statement, it is not sufficient to rely on the statement alone. This is
especially important with larger purchases, so you should keep a copy of the
Purchase Order.

Cash Handling
Running a society often involves collecting money from members. It is important that
you follow a few simple rules to ensure that everything is managed safely and with
minimal risk in terms of loss or theft.
1. Keep clear records of money collected and deposited – when you pay it into USSU
   Reception you will be given a receipt.
2. Avoid holding sums of cash at home unless absolutely unavoidable and aim to
   bank the money with the Students’ Union as soon as possible.
3. If you have tickets for sale, you can usually sell these through USSU Reception to
   ensure all the money goes straight into your account.
4. If you are running an event, it’s better to keep the ticket money separate from
   the money that you are paying to performers etc.

Useful contacts

Activities Centre
First floor, Falmer House

      Societies Development Co-ordinator
      Jo Walters –               Tel: 877641

      Activities Officer
      Scott Sheridan –          Tel: 678155

Finance Office
Top floor, Falmer House

      Finance Assistant
      Berni Lee                                              Tel: 678150

      Finance Director
      Mark Bushby –                    Tel: 678150

Sabbatical Officers
Top floor, Falmer House

      Finance Officer
      Anna Cornish –               Tel: 873353

Other Staff
Top floor, Falmer House

      Office Manager

                                  - Page 11 of 12 -
                        Society Finance Manual 2009/10
     Sue Cornford –            Tel: 877470

     Assistant Director (Membership Services)
     Mike Riley –                 Tel: 678149

USSU Reception
Ground floor, Falmer House                         Tel: 678152

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