Treasurer: Halsford Park Primary School
Tracey Poole, Halsford Park Primary School, East
Grinstead, West Sussex (415 pupils)
- How many people are there on your committee?
- How long have you been Chair? 3 years
- When is your busiest time of year? Both the
Christmas and summer fairs, because there is so much to do. We do
struggle for volunteers, which is what makes it difficult.
- When is your quietest time of year? The summer
holidays, though this is the time where I'm doing the Charity
Commission report and finalising our accounts. There are no events
to plan other than the AGM, as the new PT is elected in
Tips and advice
- What's the best piece of advice you received before
taking on the role of Treasurer? Don't be afraid to ask
- What advice will you pass on to your
successor? My best advice would be to buy a coin counter -
those are worth their weight in gold!
- What have you gained from being Treasurer?
I've learnt a lot about all the different licences you need for
different events, eg, the alcohol licence and lottery licence, as
well as filling in the Charity Commission reports.
- What do you wish you'd known before becoming the
Treasurer? I didn't realise that when I took on the role
that I would have to learn a lot about all the different licences
you need. I knew I would be able to handle and manage the accounts
and everything without a problem, and I can use spreadsheets and
everything. But there was the other side to the job, which I didn't
have an inkling about before.
- What is the best thing about being Treasurer?
My role allows me to get involved with everything. You're always
needed in some aspect of whatever is being organised, and you're
involved in every event, and I think that's quite interesting. You
also get to work with all different people working in different
- What do you think makes a good PTA Treasurer?
Organisation is a big factor. I have a rolling spreadsheet that as
expenses come in, I add to it and each month I tally this up, and
ensure that the accounts match what we have in the bank. Keeping on
top of the accounting is important, so that when you get to the end
of the year, you don't have to do everything in one hit. Skills and
experience with using spreadsheets are also important - it makes
life so much easier than just using pen and paper.
Challenges in the role
- What challenges do you face? There's
frustration with trying to get expenses out of people sometimes.
There's also difficulty with people that don't understand how much
work is involved in producing the figures - they assume that if the
fair has been at the weekend, they want the profit total on Monday.
It's not as easy as that! Especially when we still have expenses to
come in. You want to be certain on the figures before making them
public. I took on the role originally thinking that's something I
can just on with quietly in the background, and still be
contributing to the PTA, but you still have to be quite straight
with some people!
- What is the most daunting task you have to
undertake? The most daunting thing is handling the amount
of money you get from the bank for the floats for events, and then
taking the cash back to the bank at the end of the event. I use a
wheelie case because I couldn't lift it, and these are really
useful. The first year I did it, I used a bag pack to carry the
floats, and was almost crippled by the time I got to the car!
Walking through the streets with all that money can be quite
- Have you had any disputes regarding payments with the
school in the past? We've had no disputes, but sometimes
the school assumes we can afford to pay for things, which we
Handling money at events
- What are your responsibilities during bigger events,
like the summer fair? I pay any outstanding entertainment
payments that require payment on the day. I also hand out all the
floats, and visit stalls every 45 minutes to take away large
amounts of cash and sort out any change requirements. I collect all
the money from the stalls at the end of the year. I chase up any
outstanding payments from sponsors or our silent auction. I also
collect any insurance and risk assessment documents that we require
for outside entertainment.
- How do you go about obtaining and distributing the
floats for each stall at a big event? I request floats
from the bank two weeks before the fair, and pick them up the week
before. I count out all the floats for the different stalls a few
days before the fair. The amount each stall receives is dependent
upon the charge of that stall.
- What procedures do you have in place for the safe
handling of money at events? I usually ask the Chair or
Vice-Chair to watch over the money while I go round the fair
checking stalls - I've never have someone like an 'Assistant
Treasurer' before, but we've just had someone volunteer for this
- What is your process for counting at the end of
events? I have a coin counter, which saves me a lot of
Making and receiving payments
- How does the school go about requesting funds?
We have PTA meetings that the staff regularly attend, and they say
'this is what we want'. We check if we have the money, and if not
then we tell them they'll need to wait until we run a few more
- How do you go about giving money to the
school? I write a cheque for the Bursar with a letter
confirming what it is for. She lets me know the amount they need
and what it is for.
- Do you have a lot of interaction with the school
bursar? Yes - she's one of the people who attend the PTA
meetings. I work at the school, too, so I know her and get on with
- Do you use online banking? Yes, and I try not
to keep any cash. I use either cheques or online banking. We have
three accounts - one for the 200 club, a savings account, and a
current account. We pay in a small amount each month into our
savings, though we don't get as much interest on this as we used
- What are the logistics behind taking cash from an event
to the bank? I take the money home, and keep it there
until the bank opens again on Monday.
- How do you handle expenses? I have an expenses
form - they fill in the date, the money they're owed, what they
bought it for, and attach their receipts. It makes life a lot
easier for me. The forms are something that the previous Treasurer
passed on to me.
- How long do you intend on being Treasurer? I'm
happy to stay in the role while my children are at the school. My
youngest is now in Year 2, so providing everyone is happy with what
I'm doing, I'm quite happy to carry on doing it until my little one
- Did you shadow the previous Treasurer before taking on
the role? I shadowed the previous Treasurer. I took over
the role but she was there to answer any questions and help with
every event. The year before, I helped her with the summer fair, to
know roughly what went on, and that worked really well. I also
learnt about the licensing laws and our insurance cover through the
- Do you intend on having your successor shadow you in
the role before you step down? Yes. I think shadowing that
person for a year is enough to help them learn enough about that
role, with one big event like the Christmas or summer fair - there
are so many different events to run, and there are different things
you need to remember to do throughout the school year, so a year
gives people enough time to learn all these things.
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