New Shire Officers - Exchequer

So you’re a new Exchequer in your Shire, what now?

Do you have your warrant?

In order to become a group or branch Exchequer, either the branch seneschal or the outgoing exchequer should assist the new exchequer in completing a request for Warrant letter or email, which will be sent to the Principality Chancellor of the Exchequer. Along with the Request for Warrant letter, the following items must be included: i) Proof of identification, which includes a photo. This can be can be a copy of a driver’s license, military ID card, passport or other legal identification. ii) Proof of SCA membership, which can be a copy of their membership card, newsletter mailing label, registry printout, or a letter from the Society stating membership. Note that scans sent by email are acceptable. iii) All exchequers must be 18 years or older. iv) Upon approval, the Principality Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide the relevant information to the Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer and request that a warrant be issued. v) The Term of Office shall be two years long, and no Exchequer should serve more than two consecutive terms.

Don’t panic!

First, you are part of a branch committee, so you’re not alone, you should have the branch Seneschal and at least one other officer to share the responsibility with.

Your Responsibilities.

1) You need to become familiar with the Laws and Policies governing the use and controls of branch assets as outlined in the Chancellor of the Exchequer Branch Officer’s Reference Handbook, Drachenwald Financial Policy and Insulae Draconis Financial Policy. [Get links] 2) You will also need to become familiar with your country’s laws regulating clubs and societies and not for profit organisations. 3)Read the Kingdom Exchequer’s letter in the Dragon’s Tale and the Principality Exchequer’s letter in the Baelfyr, where any proposed changes in policy or procedure will be noted first. 3) Reporting - you will need to make a standard quarterly report to the Insulae Draconis Exchequer and complete the Doomsday report. The group’s Exchequer and Seneschal shall sign the reports at least once a year (Doomsday report). 4) Keep records!! Keep receipts!! 5) Administer the branch bank accounts and ensure you get quarterly statements

Reporting

C. Quarterly reports are due to the Principality Exchequer by i) First Quarter (1 January – 31 March) 15 April ii) Second Quarter (1 April – 30 June) 15 July iii) Third Quarter (1 July – 30 September) 15 October iv) Fourth Quarter (1 October – 31 December) 15 January next year. This report is also the year-end “Doomsday” Report.

Banking considerations.

All funds held by the branches or Principality Offices will be held in an account in the name of the ‘SCA,Inc-<name of branch or office>’ or ‘SCA-<name of branch>’, or ‘<name of branch>-SCA, Inc.’. The account will require two signatures to withdraw money. The signatories will not live in the same residence.

Agreeing a budget spend

Exchequers can only release funds with the agrement of the finacial committee for that branch. The decisions on expenditures of financial committees will be determined by a simple majority vote of the committee members. The amount must be agreed in advance. Receipts must be provided. Petty cash is not allowed.The advancement of cash for purchases is allowed, if agreed by the Shire Finance committee, and if the remaining cash, plus receipts are taken back by the exchequer when the specific purchase for which the money was released has been made. Cash advances for this should be made by cheque made out to the individual making the purchase (not taken from event fees or by using a cheque made out to “cash”).

A personal Perspective - some words of encouragement from a fellow local Exchequer

(with thanks to Lord Aodhan Dha Cheist)

So you have been elected to the office of Exchequer. Congratulations! This is of course the first step along the path to Known World Domination! Soon, they will fear you, then the will respect you, then they will follow you!

I kid, of course. The role of the Exchequer boils down to a couple of questions. Those are usually How Much?, and Why do we need it? These are important because you are now the steward of the Shire’s money, and you have a responsibility to make sure it’s spent judiciously and efficiently.

You and the other members of the Shire financial committee will be the ones making day to day decisions on how funds are disbursed. This means helping decide who to buy from, what to pay for and if something is actually necessary. This last one is arguably the most important. Essentially you act as a check on the well know SCA urge of “ooh shiny, gimme!”.

In effect, your job is not to say “no, you cannot buy that trebuchet!”, it’s to say “How much is the trebuchet going to cost us? Who’s selling it? Can we get it cheaper somewhere else? Would it be more cost effective to construct it ourselves? Would a Mangonel be a better choice cost wise? Where are we going to store it between sieges? And, do we actually need a trebuchet? (in that order of priority, usually!)

It’s important to remember, you are not in this alone. Your principality and kingdom Exchequers have got your back. If you have questions, ask them. Seriously, they are lovely people. They hardly ever eat full grown people! If you’re hesitant, ask your predecessor in the Job. They will be completely happy to give you advice, they very recently were you, and they remember what it was like.

Keep your ledger up to date. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time, literally 15 mins a week, sometimes even less, but simplifies things so much.

Always fill out the counterfoil in the chequebook with as much info as you can. What’s the cheque for? Who to? How much? When was it written? All super important, all much harder to recall at a remove.

Be clear who is giving you info. For example, say Sir A is in charge of taking money and paying the hall for Heavy. At reporting time I need to get the Relevant info from him. Similarly, Master B for A&S, Master C for Fencing and Lord D for Archery. At quarter end, these are the folks you need to check in with.

Sometimes, you will need to bug people for this info. SCA people are lovely, so be polite about it, but be firm. The quarterly report is due on the 15th of Jan/April/July/October, if they haven’t volunteered the info by the 3rd, start asking them. Repeat as necessary. Adjust firmness as required, while maintaining politeness. We’re all volunteers and this is a game, and sometimes people have Mundane stuff getting in the way. Bear this in mind.

The report. Aah the report. It’s actually pretty straightforward now (ask any older exchequer about the old report. Oh how they’ll laugh, and laugh and laugh!). Your predecessor should have gone through it with you, and hopefully made you familiar with it. If for whatever reason that hasn’t happened, the important thing is not to panic! (or forget your towel, but I digress) Again, ask. The principality Exchequer will be happy to walk you through it if necessary.

Fair warning, sometimes it will not balance. This WILL drive you potty. You WILL shout at your computer. You WILL start to reconsider all the life choices that brought you to this point. You WILL consider quitting to go and walk the earth to fight crime. Get someone else to have a look at the report. This is most definitely an area where a second set of experienced eyes is super worthwhile (though if you want to go walk the earth and fight crime, that’s cool too. You just need to trick/recruit someone else into being your replacement!)

Remember: there are a whole bunch of people who are here to support you