Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations

It is important for students and faculty or staff advisors to understand their responsibilities and the potential liabilities when managing an organization's funds. These guidelines outline requirements and best practices for managing funds. 

Three-Step Process

There are three primary steps to forming a sanctioned university club or organization:

Become Recognized

Before clubs or organizations can set up an account, they must be recognized by the University.

The Student Organization Process for Recognition is managed by Student Engagement. Student organizations can learn more about this process by visiting Student Engagement's webpage. Student Engagement also offers workshops and consultations for student organizations that would like to become recognzied. 

An organization can be recognized by one of UB’s student governments, or by a university department or office.

Club Types and Recognition Process
Club Type Recognition Process Account Type -Funding Source

Student clubs or organizations recognized by one of the seven student governments.

 

Example: Undergraduate Biology Association

Student governments can serve as official recognizing agents for new student organizations. All organizations must comply with all the formal rules and regulations related to the student government’s recognition process. To learn more about receiving recognition by one of these recognized student governments, please contact them directly:

Student Government Agency Account - FSA

(assigned during recognition process)

Clubs or organizations who are recognized as independent entities (501c, LLC, Inc.). 

 

Examples: Greek organizations with national affiliations, bylaws and incorporation; honor societies

Student organizations seeking recognition from a university department or office are required to perform the following in order to be formally recognized:

  1. Visit the UBLinked registration page to learn the details and instructions about the registration process.
  2. Complete and submit the UBLinked "Register a New Organization" form.
Agency Account - UBF

Clubs or Organizations who are looking to be recognized by a University department or approved affiliated entity. 

 

Examples: Veteran's Club, E-Sports

Student organizations seeking recognition from a university department or office are required to perform the following in order to be formally recognized:

  1. Visit the UBLinked registration page to learn the details and instructions about the registration process.
  2. Complete and submit the UBLinked "Register a New Organization" form.
General Operating Account - UBF
Not sure where to start?

Contact Student Engagement, for assistance getting started.

Request an Account

All student clubs and organizations recognized by a student government (funded by the mandatory student activity fee or self supporting) must use Faculty Student Association (FSA) as their primary fiscal agent for accounting services.

Other clubs and organizations can request an account (after being recognized through the Student Organization Process for Recognition). If they are unsure which account type they require (University at Buffalo Foundation (UBF) Agency Account or UBF General Operating Account), they should contact Financial Management for assistance.

Student Club and Organization Account Types
Account Type Funding Source Club Type Application Information
General Operating Account UBF Clubs or Organizations recognized by the university but NOT recognized by a student government or as independent entities.  General Operating Account Request Form
Agency Account UBF Clubs or Organizations recognized by the university and who are independent entities (501c, LLC, Inc.).  Agency Account Request Form
Student Government Agency Account FSA Student Clubs or Organizations recognized by one of the seven student governments. Clubs or Organizations will receive their account as part of the recognition process. 

Understand Your Fiscal Responsibilities

Each account type has specific policies and procedures that must be followed by club officers and faculty or staff advisors. 

Budgeting Process

UBF requires that clubs or organizations utilizing General Operating Accounts prepare a budget at the beginning of the school year or term.

Best Practices for Budgeting

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

Excel is a great tool for developing budgets.

Depositing Revenue and Cash Handling

Depositing Revenue

Revenue can be deposited into a UBF account at any time. 

Cash Handling

All student governments, organizations, clubs or groups should follow the university's Safeguarding Cash and Cash Equivalents Policy.

Best Practices for Cash Handling

  • Cash handling is very high risk. Eliminate or reduce cash through the use of UBF Checkout
  • Develop standard operating procedures for all cash handling.
  • Use your approved funding source for all financial activity.
  • Use pre-numbered receipts when collecting cash.
  • Maintain a cash receipts log.
  • Reconcile cash receipts log to SIRI reports 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.
  • Deposit cash and checks daily, at the close of each business day.
  • Safeguard cash and checks awaiting deposit in a secure location, either in a locking safe or lockbox.

Accepting Electronic Payments

Credit card payments are accepted through UBF Checkout. A 2% Credit Card Fee will be assessed on all transactions.

Allowable Use of Funds

It is the club or organization advisor's responsiblity to make sure that funds are used for purchases that support the mission of their club or organization.

Expenditures paid from University at Buffalo Foundation (UBF) funds are subject to specific requirements. Clubs and organizations must follow the Allowable Use of Funds Policy.

Paying Bills and Reconciling

Paying Bills

Student clubs and organizations can pay bills using a UBF Disbursement Request, signed by their advisor.

Cash advances are only available in special circumstances to cover specifically pre-identified club expenditures that cannot easily be paid for by an individual and reimbursed via a UBF Disbursement request. Advances must be "cleared," post purchase, by providing receipts and business purposes for the items purchased.  

Best Practices for Paying Bills

  • Establish a process to review and pay bills monthly, preferably through electronic funds transfer (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.

Reconciling

How to access account information

Faculty or staff advisors and designated board members will have access to their account information via SIRI. Access will be provided during the account set up process and users will be able to log in using their UBITName and password. 
 
To change user access, please email: UBS-GroupAccounts@buffalo.edu

Best Practices for Reconciling

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

Reconciling should be performed by an individual other than those responsible for signing off on payments.

Purchasing Equipment

All equipment purchased by a student club or organization is property of the University at Buffalo. Title shall vest with UBF and the “Owner” shall be defined as the department recognizing the club or organization who is the primary user of the equipment.

Equipment Over $5,000

  • Equipment over $5,000 must be purchased with an Electronic Requisition (eReq) or Shopblue. Faculty or Staff advisors can assist students with filling out an eReq or purchasing on Shopblue.
  • Once the equipment is purchased, UB is required by New York State, SUNY and RF to record assets that have a value greater than $5,000, are not consumables and have a probably life expectancy of one or more years. Asset Management will reach out to the organization’s advisor to get additional information on the asset and to place an asset tag on it.

Equipment Under $5,000

  • Equipment under $5,000 can be purchased through the UBF Disbursement Request.
  • UB identification tags should be placed on high-risk equipment items costing less than $5,000. High-risk items include, but are not limited to, laptop computers, cameras, projectors, and items removed from campus.  A Property Removal Authorization Form must be completed for all items removed from campus.
  • The responsibility for tagging items under $5,000 lies with the department to which the asset belongs. Contact Asset Management if you need additional tags.
  • Faculty or Staff advisors are required to periodically spot-check high-risk items costing less than $5,000 to verify their existence and condition.  Faculty or Staff Advisors are encouraged to keep an inventory of tagged high-risk items to assist with this periodic review. High-risk items should be reviewed annually. 

Fundraising

  • Any fundraising that involves the UB name or logo should be deposited with an approved UB funding source. Fundraising revenues should never be deposited into a personal or third party account. 
  • Fundraising should benefit the student club, group or project, rather than to support a specific student. 
  • Go Fund me or similar public crowdfunding sites should NOT be utilized. 
  • Follow the Raffle Policy for University Fundraising Efforts and complete the Raffle Propsoal Request Form

Administrative Fees

There are no deposit or withdrawal fees.  If clubs or organizations would like to accept credit card payments on a website via UBF Checkout, there is a 2% credit card fee assessed against the gross amount charged.

Financial Reporting and Tax Information

UBF is responsible for all financial reporting, tax filings and audits.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of my club opening a UB Foundation account?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF) Only

  1. Financial information is available centrally and can be easily transitioned to new executive board members each year via email. 
  2. You can accept online credit card payments for dues via UBF Checkout.
  3. You are not putting board members at risk by opening up accounts under board member’s names and social security numbers.

How does my club submit deposits?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF)

Instruction on how to submit a deposit can be found in the Depositing Revenue and Cash Handling section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

All ticket and merchandise sales should run through the Student Union Ticket Office. Please contact the Student Union Ticket Office Coordinator at (716) 645-2055 or Request Additional Information (via UBLinked)

Other deposits can be brought to FSA in Fargo Quad, Suite 146, Buffalo, NY 14261-0050.

How does my club request a check?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF)

Clubs and organizations can request a check by filling out a UBF Disbursement Request. Additional information and a link to the form can be found in the Paying Bills and Reconciling section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

Student Clubs and Organizations must fill out an FSA Requisition Request and receive a PO before they can purchase items.

How do I request access to UBF Checkout?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF) Only

Instruction on how to set up UBF Checkout can be found in the Accepting Electronic Payments section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

How far in advance does my club need to request a check?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF)

While checks are cut daily, please allow up to 7 business days for processing.

Student Government Agency Account (FSA)

Contact FSA for additional information.

Does my club have the option to use a credit card or debit card for purchases?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF)

No, however, cash advances are available in special circumstances to cover specifically pre-identified club expenditures that cannot easily be paid for by an individual and reimbursed via a UBF Disbursement request. Advances must be "cleared," post purchase, by providing receipts and business purposes for the items purchased.  Instruction on how to submit a UBF Disbursement Request can be found in the Paying Bills and Reconciling section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

Student Governments do not have credit cards.  Individual students can get reimbursed if they use a personal credit card or debit card to make a purchase.

Can my club use Venmo or any type of peer to peer cash apps?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF)

No, Venmo and other peer to peer cash apps are not Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. Clubs may use UBF Checkout to accept electronic payments. Instruction on how to set up UBF Checkout can be found in the Accepting Electronic Payments section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

Contact FSA for additional information.

Can my club use GoFundMe accounts?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF)

No, GoFundMe is not Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. Clubs may use UBF Checkout to accept electronic payments. Instruction on how to set up UBF Checkout can be found in the Accepting Electronic Payments section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

Contact FSA for additional information.

What are the restrictions on how my club spends our funds?

General Operating Accounts (UBF)

Information on funding restrictions can be found in the Allowable Use of Funds section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Agency Accounts (UBF)

Restrictions on use of funds are dependent on agreements signed between UBF (the fiscal agent) and the independent entity. 

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

Clubs and organizations recognized by a Student Government must follow the Use of Funds section of the SUNY Student Activity Fees - Mandatory Policy. 

Does my club have the ability to view account information online?

General Operating or Agency Accounts (UBF)

Yes. Via Strategic Information Reporting Initiative (SIRI). Login information to SIRI can be found in the  Paying Bills and Reconciling section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

Contact FSA for additional information. 

Can I access SIRI with my UBIT information?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF) Only

Yes. Access will be provided to designated advisors and board members during the onboarding process. More information on SIRI can be found in the Paying Bills and Reconciling section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations.

Does SIRI have live updates?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF) Only

Updates to SIRI are made nightly and include all transactions processed during the business day.

How does a UBF account affect our fundraising efforts?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF) Only

Information on fundraising can be found in the Fundraising section of the Financial Guidelines for Recognized Clubs and Organizations. 

What are the fees associated with opening a UB Foundation account?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF) Only

There are no deposit or withdrawal fees.  If clubs would like to accept credit card payments on a website via UBF Checkout, there is a 2% credit card fee assessed against the gross amount charged.

Is my club responsible for our own accounting and receipt tracking?

General Operating Accounts (UBF)

Clubs and organizations are responsible for submitting all receipts to UBF. UBF is responsible for all financial reporting, tax filings and audits.

Agency Accounts (UBF)

Clubs and organizations are responsible for submitting all receipts to UBF. UBF will provide account reports to signatories on the account but the independent entities are responsible for maintaining their own financial reporting, tax filing and audits.

Student Government Agency Accounts (FSA)

Financial reporting, tax filing and audit requirements are outlined in the Student Government contracts with FSA.

How do I close my club’s current bank account?

General Operating and Agency Accounts (UBF) Only

  1. Transfer funds from the club's bank account to the new UBF account via a check, made payable to UB Foundation. 
  2. Contact the club's current bank for information on how to close the old account. 

Contact an Expert

General Operating and Agency Account Requests

Ashley Butcher Picture.

Ashley Butcher

Cost Accounting

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-1521

Email: ambutche@buffalo.edu

UBF Financial Procedures

Christopher Decker.

Christopher Decker

Senior Director of Endowments and Gift Administration

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8740

Email: cdecker@buffalo.edu

FSA Financial Procedures

Grela, Michael.

Michael R. Grela

Accounting Manager

FSA - Campus Dining and Shops

Phone: 716-645-2954

Email: mrgrela@buffalo.edu

Related Policies, Forms and Links