Photo courtesy ASMP member William Jones
Using the Voucher System
Description and policy for reimbursement of chapter expenses
Goal: To provide a means of funding ASMP chapters doing official ASMP-related business that:
- fits within good accounting practices,
- does not unnecessarily inhibit the freedom of chapter leaders,
- is manageable from the chapter’s perspective,
- is manageable from a staff perspective.
ASMP’s chapter policies provide that the ASMP National Board may appropriate from National revenues a sum of funds on an annual calendar year basis to be used at the chapter level and at the discretion of the chapter leadership within the parameters set by the Board.
The voucher system is simply a means of reimbursing chapters for certain expenses incurred by them in the performance of their official ASMP-related functions. Unlike the prior rebate system, the voucher system allows a chapter making a qualified expenditure to report it to National for reimbursement. Alternatively, the chapter can send in a voucher to have National pay an invoice that the chapter owes; the money, of course, comes from the chapter’s annual allocation. Either way, the expenses and purchases must fall within the categories of authorized expenses.
Under this system, the National Board allocates funds for chapters. Each chapter then submits its requests, for either reimbursement of expenses incurred or for payment of purchases ordered, provided that these expenses and purchases are within the categories of authorized expenses. If there are any questions about whether an expense or purchase is within those categories authorized, the chapter should contact the National Office in advance of spending any funds or making any commitments to first get clarification.
The allotments made are for the calendar year, and reimbursements and payments will only be made to chapters for expenditures related to activities that take place solely in that same calendar year.
The main elements of the system are:
a) nature of authorized expenses;
b) procedures and paperwork for obtaining payment, and
c) method of accounting for the expenses.
Let’s take each of these in turn.
The nature of authorized expenses is defined by policy set by the Board in consultation with the chapters. While the following concept list is not all-inclusive, it demonstrates the approach the Board has taken. Generally, chapters fulfill membership recruiting, social and educational roles in ASMP. The main activities used to fulfill these roles are meetings and newsletters coupled with some administrative apparatus. The types of expenses which flow from these activities are predictable. Printing, postage, graphic design, telephone, speaker expense, food and beverage, facility rental, equipment rental transportation, part time help, salaries and insurance are good examples. These are the kinds of expenses eligible for payment under the voucher system policy.
Procedures. There are specific procedures and paperwork required to obtain reimbursement of funds expended from the chapter treasury, or payment for materials and services ordered by the chapter. Payment can be sent to a chapter, a company or an individual. The voucher form provides a template for the data needed to authorize payment or purchase.
Use the voucher form to submit expenses for reimbursements.
All vouchers must be submitted within 60 days of purchasing by the chapter, and vouchers must be accompanied by original invoices and receipts. Exceeding the 60-day requirement will result in the denial of payment, making the chapter as an entity and its officers specifically directly responsible for paying. Once received at National and approved, a voucher will be scheduled for payment in the next check-writing batch. National writes checks twice a month.
Near the beginning of each year, the National Board appropriates a sum of funds, based on the actual dues revenue from the previous calendar year received from the ASMP Members assigned to each chapter. These funds are to be used at the chapter level and at the discretion of the chapter leadership within the parameters set by the Board. The funds are supposed to last all year, and any requests for reimbursement or payment above the allocated amounts will be denied, with payment thus being the sole legal responsibility of the chapter as an entity and its officers specifically to pay.
Advance funding for any purpose is discouraged, and any application for such advance funding must be made in writing to the Executive Committee of the National Board (the Executive Committee) before any funds are spent or commitments are made by the chapter. Your request must include copies of the latest bank statements from all chapter accounts, and should be e-mailed to ASMP’s accounting department. The Executive Committee has the sole discretion in deciding whether to advance the funds.
Employees. Chapters may not hire employees or professional service providers without the written and advance approval of the Executive Committee. To start the approval process, contact ASMP’s accountant at firstname.lastname@example.org. All employees are to be paid through the National payroll system, which is set up to handle tax withholdings. The chapter can choose whether to repay National from a local account or, if it has enough in its National funding account, to have the money deducted. If there isn’t enough in the chapter’s National account, the chapter must send National the money in advance of the payroll disbursements.
Major contracts. Chapters may not enter into any financial commitment with a face value of $3,000 or more without the prior review and approval of the Executive Committee. (The Committee must conduct its review within 48 hours of the time your request arrives at the National Office.) ASMP National cannot enter into contractual relationship with its chapters.
Accounting for expenses. The bookkeeping for reimbursements or direct payments will be done in accord with our normal accrual accounting procedures. Regardless of the date when we receive your voucher, the books will show the date when the purchase was actually made or the service was performed. (Thus, submitting a voucher late is never an advantage.) This gives an accurate picture of the organization’s expenses and liabilities at all times.
To help you submit vouchers that conform to the accounting system, National has prepared written guidelines and a Frequently Asked Questions page. These guidelines have listings of the types of expenses authorized for reimbursement or purchase, instructions for completing and filing the forms, and information about the required documentation. Vouchers will have to be sent to the National Office so that original copies of substantiating invoices and receipts can be verified.
A chapter may ask National at any time for the amount remaining unspent in its calendar year allotment, and the records of National are final for accounting purposes, but it is also the responsibility of the chapter and its officers and board treasurer to keep accurate track themselves of this and the chapter’s spending in the course of its budgeting and spending decisions and actions.