Student Club and Organizations Financial Guidelines

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These guidelines will assist clubs and organizations who are not required to follow SUNY guidelines for funds generated by the Student Activity Fee with best practices for being fiscally responsible.

Student clubs and groups must be established and officially recognized by one of the seven student governments or by a University department or office.

It is important for students to understand their responsibility and potential liability with being entrusted with other’s money. The goal of these guidelines is to help guide clubs and organizations (who are not required to follow SUNY guidelines for funds generated by the Student Activity Fee) with good financial practices when operating a club.

What Type of Account Do I Need?

All student clubs and organizations recognized by a student government (funded by the mandatory student activity fee) must use FSA as their primary fiscal agent for accounting services. Other clubs and organizations should work to utilize an on campus fiscal agent by contacting Financial Management.

Cash Handling

  • Cash handling is very high risk. Eliminate or reduce cash through the use of University approved electronic payment processers. 
  • Eliminate bank accounts and use your approved fiscal agent. 
  • Use pre-numbered receipts when collecting cash.
  • Maintain a cash receipts log.
  • Reconcile cash receipts log to fiscal agent reports or bank statements on a monthly basis.
  • Ensure adequate segregation of duties for cash handling.  Specifically, one individual should handle cash, one individual should prepare the deposit, and one individual should reconcile receipts to the deposit to ensure agreement.
  • Restrictively endorse checks received “for deposit only, organization name" upon receipt.
  • Secure checks and cash in a locked area prior to deposit.
  • Additional guidance can be located within the University policy, Safeguarding Cash and Cash Equivalents Policy.


  • Prepare a budget at beginning of term or school year.

Excel is a great tool for developing budgets.

  • Set realistic targets; budgeted income should equal or exceed expenses.
  • Document assumptions used to determine budgeted income and expenses.
  • Obtain feedback of the final budget from a faculty,  staff advisor, and,or club members. Ensure that expenses incurred are in line with the annual budget.

Paying Bills

  • Establish a process to review and pay bills monthly preferably through EFT, do NOT use cash.
  • Ensure that two officers sign all payments.
  • Review vendor invoices for accuracy prior to payment.
  • Maintain copies of vendor invoices and evidence of payment in accordance with the Record Retention and Disposal Policy.
  • Log all payments immediately.
  • Reconcile all payments to your agency account and,or bank statement each month.

This step should be performed by an individual other than the officers responsible signing off on payments.


  • Reconcile approved fiscal agent reports and,or bank balance to receipt and payment logs monthly.
  • Document all reconciling items.
  • Resolve errors identified.
  • Obtain officer(s) and,or a faculty advisor’s approval for the reconciliation.

Additional Best Practices to Consider

  • Establish an officer transition plan.
  • Document key responsibilities
  • Maintain records of budgets, financial activity, and,or contracts
  • Campus Life staff is always available to provide guidance and advise for any club or organization need.  
  • Utilize your approved fiscal agent for banking services.

Contact an Expert

Campus Life

Student Life

150 Student Union, North Campus

Phone: 716-645-2066

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