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Many room hirers pay by cash or cheque, especially those groups which are fairly informal, without a group bank account, or who need to have two signatures on any cheque.
However, cash handling is one of the weakest points for any financial system. it is too simple for cash to be lost, misused (using room hire receipts for petty cash is all too common) or appropriated.
Cash is more complicated to deposit than cheques, which can be deposited by post. As the Treasurer’s Handbook points out
“The Meeting’s money should not pass through the treasurer’s personal account, even though there may be times when this could seem more convenient.
The only possible exception is to enable odd amounts of cash to be paid into the Meeting account by means of the treasurer’s personal cheque.”
There can be other, larger sums of money coming into the building, separate from any cash collected for meeting funds or for other collections. If the meeting house hires out rooms and the fees are paid in cash, this can also put the building (and any warden/staff) at risk if knowledge of this cash on the premises becomes known.
There is also the need for someone to collect these room hire cash and cheques, record this alongside a second counter signatory and then take it to the bank. If the Treasurer or Assistant are not able to attend meeting very often, this can mean that the envelope of monies is waiting around for some period of time.
Due to these reasons, many meeting houses are no longer accepting cash from groups, instead asking that the group organise a way to collate the cash and pay by cheque. This was discussed on the wardenship e-list and one warden explained the decision,
“The Treasurer decided that accepting cash was putting extra work upon both the wardens and the treasurers that actually should belong to the group. Instead the group were asked to do their own treasurer’s work and pay by cheque or bank transfer. This has worked for all groups and we now have the majority paid by bank transfer with only a handful of cheques.”
If you decide to continue accepting cash payments do ensure you have procedures in place to track such payments from receipt to deposit, such as numbered receipts which can ensure the cash can be traced not only to the bank account but also to the contract or invoice it was paid against.
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