Constitution

BUDDHA HOUSE CENTRE FOR ADVANCED BUDDHIST STUDIES INC.

At this year’s Annual General Meeting this proposal will be presented to alter the Finance specifics in the Constitution, i.e. Section 6.

Current wording:

6.FINANCES:

  • Buddha House may operate cheque and other accounts at such bank as the Committee may determine. The signatories on those accounts shall be the Director, the Treasurer and such other members as the Committee may determine. At least two such signatories must sign each cheque or withdrawal authority, of whom one must be the Director, the Assistant Director or the Treasurer.
  • The financial year shall end on 30 June each year.
  • The accounts and annual balance sheet shall be audited by an Auditor appointed by the Committee, subject to ratification each year at the annual general meeting.
  • Subject to paragraph (e), all expenditure by Buddha House requires the prior authorisation of the Committee.
  • The Treasurer, with the approval of the Director, may authorise any item of expenditure by Buddha House of up to the prescribed amount without prior reference to the Committee, save to the extent that the Committee may require such prior reference. The prescribed amount shall be $500.00 or such higher amount as may be determined by resolution at a general meeting of members.

Issues:

  • In (a) The provision for “At least two signatories must sign each cheque or withdrawal authority, of whom one must be the Director, Assistant Director or the Treasurer”.
  • Cheques are not used these days, and even bank staff have failed to recognise the concept.
  • Electronic banking does not directly provide for 2 people to authorise transactions. Large organisations have a 2-stage process, and very small organisations, with lots of lead time, can wait for people to take cheques to each other’s house. Buddha House falls between these.
  • BH has used electronic banking for most transaction for many years. We might have written one cheque a year in the last 5 years.
  • What we do is have one person pay the bills, currently the Treasurer, or book keeper.
  • With the Treasurer paying bills, the bookkeeper checks what has been paid and to whom, but it is after the event.
  • There is in place policy and procedure which requires the signature of 2 people, to effect payment in most cases. This is before the event e.g. book buyer orders goods, completes payment requisition, signs that items are delivered and Treasurer signs and effects electronic bank transfer.
  • Exceptions occur often, in that regular utility bills and the like are signed only by Treasurer. It would be better if the constitution was written to reflect current electronic banking processes.

Proposed change to clause (a) remove words “sign each cheque or withdrawal authority” and replace with “authorise each withdrawal”;

Revised clause would then read

  • Buddha House may operate cheque and other accounts at such bank as the Committee may determine. The signatories on those accounts shall be the Director, the Treasurer and such other members as the Committee may determine. At least two such signatories must authorise each withdrawal, of whom one must be the Director, the Assistant Director or the Treasurer.

Propose both clauses (d) and (e) be omitted.

(d     Subject to paragraph (e), all expenditure by Buddha House requires the prior authorisation of the Committee.

(e)   The Treasurer, with the approval of the Director, may authorise any item of expenditure by Buddha House of up to the prescribed amount without prior reference to the Committee, save to the extent that the Committee may require such prior reference. The prescribed amount shall be $500.00 or such higher amount as may be determined by resolution at a general meeting of members.

  • The necessity to get separate approval from the Committee for each expenditure of $500 or more, is no longer workable. The value of $500 is quite low in today’s context. Utility bills, rent on the teacher flat, most flight tickets, would require more.
  • Specifying a dollar amount in the constitution is not the best method to ensure financial control.
  • There is an annual budget drafting and approval process, combined with a Financial Delegations document, which will provide adequate control of spending.