Our Committee has decided to go forward with the addition of a girls troop. We will operate with the same troop # but as T#G & T#B. We will have the same COR & Committee Chair and several committee members and ASMs will have dual jobs. We anticipate several families will have enrolled boys and girls and we will hold meetings on the same night. It was suggested by a committee member that we can share the same checking account to make it easier for families to write one check for the cumulative activities of B & G scouts. I have many reasons why I don’t think this will be the feasible but I want to see if there’s any guidance from scout world on this scenario before I give all the reasons why I don’t think this will work.
Our linked troops have separate accounts at the same bank. The treasurer is a signatory on both accounts and can easily move money between them. The families that have Scouts in both troops have not complained about paying for Scout activities with two checks.
I’m not aware of a specific prohibition on two units with the same chartering org sharing the same account. However, I wouldn’t do it myself.
First, if the units have different annual plans, they are likely going to have different expenses. Trying to track those expenses and the incoming payments offsetting them will be a lot more difficult in a shared account. It would be made even more difficult if you had two treasurers trying to reconcile things in one account.
If it wouldn’t make sense to have a pack and a troop (and a crew and a ship) share a single account, why would it make sense to have boys’ troop and a girls’ troop share one?
All scouting is local.
The norm for crews and troops (the closest comparison to your T#G and T#B) is separate accounts. But, not all crews have separate bank accounts from their troops. The units’ expenses simply show up as separate line items.
My gut is, if you have one committee meeting to cover the affairs of T#G and T#B, it is easier to have one treasurer’s report of the funds available for each group in one account.
If you have separate committee meetings for both groups, then separate accounts begins to make sense. Reports aren’t as confusing. Auditing is a lot easier. If one group wants a different policy, it’s easier to implement. Etc …
Try it for a year. If either side feels like they or getting shortchanged, or if the treasurer is going nuts, change.
I would recommend talking to your chartered organization before making a decision one way or the other. While the unit committee is responsible, the assets belong to the chartered organization.
You can certainly keep track of the income and expenses for the two units on paper (or in your accounting software) while maintaining one single account with the bank. Your treasurer will need to be sure to record how the money is split, but they would need to do that anyway if maintaining two separate accounts (e.g. make sure they deposit the girls checks into the girls account). If your treasurer sets up a good system, and promptly records transactions, it should not be a problem to get a report of the bottom line for each units financial standing. This will make it easier for parents to only write one check, or one credit card payment (with lower fixed fees for the unit).
Two accounts makes it easier for leaders to look at the bottom line and know how much they have to spend, with the slight inconvenience of parents having to cut two checks, and the treasurer having to manage multiple bank and credit card processing accounts (if you take credit cards).
Since you’re asking for opinions (and there’s no shortage of that) I would suggest going with separate accounts. The bank should work with you easily on that and it just makes sense. Maybe they share gear back and forth, but I’d keep the funds separate. A little bit more work.
It depends on what the plans are , we do the same ativties show sharing the same account works well for us.
Linked troops should not have identical activities, just as two troops chartered by different charter orgs would not have identical activities.
Because of this you can’t claim the expenditures will be the same either.
Each unit should have its own bank account.
We might be dancing around the possibility that this linked troop would rather be co-ed, if it were allowed. The activities might not be “identical” they just might happen at the same time in the same general area. I assure you nobody at National would dare define the minimum level of differentiation required by any two patrols, let alone two troops.
For a couple of years, prior to merging, we had two troops meeting under the same roof and sharing meetings and activities. Sometimes that “roof” would be under one CO, sometimes the other. The one troop was a spin-off of the other, and after a while the boys declared that being divided was patently stupid. So we made it work for them.
I imagine that among the 3,000+ new troops of girls, a hefty few are in communities youth who won’t countenance these attempts at separate but equal, and among about half of those, their leaders will do what it takes to support their subculture.
You’re right, but that doesn’t change the fact that recommending separate troop accounts will avoid some potential conflict…
My concern would be potential resentment among the parents or leadership. If the troop is “all in” for the success of both troops, then one account would be easiest and provide the the membership with the notion that we are all in this together. If the unspoken concern is that you want to see whether one of the troops can sustain itself without using or borrowing funds from the other troop, I would foresee a rocky road ahead. At this point this would tend to favor the boys troop over the girls troop. If both troops are equally strong, I would see about splitting the troops into two separate entities, each with its own leadership and sponsor.
I can’t say a particular strategy is sure to avoid conflict. We had a nebby scouter probing our crew’s finances. Telling him that we had separate accounts did put him off the scent. But, I’m sure he was asking because someone from the troop was jealous of our position … which was partly because other people with an axe to grind dropped some contributions in the crew’s treasury vs. the troop’s. There were several occasions where the crew treasurer and I thought, “If these were accounted for in the same checkbook, it would have been part of the troop treasurer’s report, and in tight times I could just tell the troop to avail themselves of what the crew amassed.” Ultimately we did close out our account and wrote them a check. And, I filed the whole business under “Condemned if you do. Condemned if you don’t.”
Our CO is easy going. If the crew restarts, I’ll happily give the troop treasurer the option of managing it as a sub-account. If they pass, we’ll start a separate one.
My recommendations are to keep great records of everything including committee decisions. (But do NOT track who said what, only the results.)
If you are sharing equipment, then you probably should have a “his, hers, and ours” arrangement. Then have the troops fund the joint proportionally. It will be hard to track equipment wear to the exact unit.
Oh, and make sure EVERYONE knows what is happening in the macro level. If you’re sharing some equipment, say so. If the girls are only borrowing until they buy their own - say so. And realize that two things are true:
- The best use of resources involves sharing
- Some people are too concerned about getting their share to save money
In the end, find what works and follow that.
Our Troops are set up the same way. We have one bank account. Our thinking was that the account had more to do with the Committee than the Troops, so one Committee (one Treasurer) equals one account. It would be easy enough to change later as our G Troop gets off the ground; in the meantime, it’s easier to borrow the infrastructure, policies, parent handbook, etc from the B Troop.
Let’s be clear about this. It doesn’t matter if both units are on the same account. What does matter is that the treasurer has different accounts for each unit. That is different accounting spreadsheets for each unit that, when combined, total the bank’s information on the account. It is quite simple.
I would suggest the accounting spreadsheet be set up with two sub accounts: one for the Boy unit and one for the girl unit. For instance in the Income account, there would be a sub account for income for the boy unit income and a sub account for the girl unit income. There Should be the same or similar income items with a subtotal for each subaccount that create a grand total for income. The same should be done with the Expense items. The totals of each sub account equal a grand total for income and the same for expenses.
Someone mentioned different annual plans etc. That is so true. Yet when the Treasurer keeps separate accounting spreadsheets, regardless of different bank accounts, the issues work themselves out.
Finally, there was a mention of families with scouts in multiple units needing to write two checks. That would certainly be the simple answer. That is the same answer if a family has two youth in the same unit. Accounting wise it is easier to track. However, I think it is possible to receive one check/payment for multiple scouts, even if in different units. Wouldn’t the accounting be similar to paying for multiple items or events with one check? The Treasurer would still need to account for the money in different income categories.
I would be opposed to mixing funds in the same account for different units. My full-time work is in the banking industry and that would be a red flag for money laundering.
We have linked troops, and are currently working with one bank account and one treasurer. Scoutbook is recorded with all of the payments for each Scout, as well as a spreadsheet tallying ins and outs with a column attributing each expense and each income as belonging to boy or girl. That way, a parent can write one check for $100 and we can record two payments of $50, one for each kid. Income/expense tracking can be filtered to show boy troop or girl troop for summary reports. That is a short summary, obviously it is more complicated than that but it is working for us, for now. I’m not a financial expert or an attorney, but the research I’ve done says all the money belongs to the chartering org anyway, not the troop, so I imagine it would be easier for whoever does the taxes for the org to have one account to deal with and not track transfers between two of them.
It’s really up to your treasurer and your committee on how to handle this. Some treasurers may balk at having one bank account for multiple units, and others may be perfectly comfortable with it.
In my experience, we’ve always had separate accounts for the Pack and Troop, and would do the same if we launched a Girl Troop. But… that’s just the way we’ve always done things, which doesn’t automatically make it the RIGHT way or the ONLY way.
I think, as long as your treasurer can keep the accounts clean and clearly auditable, it should not matter too much if you have two bank accounts or just one.
We have a situation similar to yours where meetings, activities, gear committee, and fundraisers are shared. The troop for girls has only been around for one year, but our troop for boys has an 83-year history in the community, so for the simplicity of our small community, we tell people to make checks out to our long-established troop for boys. Our treasurer then divides the money between the two troops taking into consideration the Scouts’ level of participation. This has really allowed both troops to prosper.
Down the road, we have talked about each troop perhaps going on separate excursions, particularly when other troops for girls might want to camp with our girls. We’re not opposed to this idea, but this will also give us another reason for maintaining a separate account for each troop (I imagine).