Student Organizations - Finance

Student organizations are responsible for establishing controls surrounding their financial processing.


  • Prepare budget at beginning of term
  • Set realistic targets; budgeted income should equal or exceed expenses
  • Document assumptions used to determine budgeted income and expenses
  • Format should be consistent with financial reporting format
  • Obtain approval of the final budget from management and board

Financial Reporting

  • List income and expenses by major category
  • Format should be consistent with budget format
  • Compare current year actual results to budget and prior year’s actual results
  • Prepare financial reports throughout the semester and share with management/board

Cash Receipts

  • Restrictively endorse checks "for deposit only, organization name" upon receipt
  • Secure checks and cash in a locked area prior to deposit
  • Make frequent deposits, at least weekly
  • Maintain cash receipts log and record receipts in the checkbook
  • Reconcile cash receipts log to bank statement each month

Paying Bills

  • Establish process to review and pay bills by check at least monthly, don’t pay with cash
  • Review vendor invoices and receipts prior to payment
  • Ensure that two officers sign all checks
  • Maintain copies of vendor invoices and receipts after payment
  • Record checks in the checkbook on a timely basis
  • Reconcile all checks written to bank statement each month

Bank Reconciliation

  • Reconcile bank balance to checkbook balance each month
  • Document all reconciling items
  • Resolve errors identified
  • Obtain officer and board approval for the reconciliation


  • Review draft contracts early in the process
  • Refer to Student Organization Handbook for standard contract terms
  • Send draft contract to Harvard College Student Activities Office for review

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Separation of duties: two officers should handle all key financial duties
  • Establish an officer transition plan; document key duties and maintain copies of budgets, financial reports, contracts, bank statements,checkbook, copies of paid invoices, etc.