Basic Roles and Responsibilities of a Nonprofit Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is a standing committee of the Board of Directors and is typically chaired by the Board Treasurer. The committee is responsible for reviewing and providing guidance for the organization’s financial matters. Specifically, the committee assures internal controls, independent audit, and financial analysis for the organization.

The Finance Committee reviews all financial statements and reports on financial activity to the full board. The full board may be better able to respond to aggregated information with important financial trends and issues highlighted in an accompanying narrative report. While each board member should have the opportunity to review organization-wide income and expense reports to understand the impact on the organization, members who are inexperienced at reading financial statements may get lost in overly detailed statements. To help the board fulfill its oversight function, it is important for the Executive Director and the Finance Committee to present the information in as clear and concise a manner as possible.

Here are the Finance Committee’s basic responsibilities:

1. Provide direction for the entire Board for fiscal responsibility.
2. Regularly review the organization’s revenues and expenditures, balance sheet, investments and other matters related to its continued solvency.
3. Approve the annual budget and submit it to the full Board for approval.
4. Ensure the maintenance of an appropriate capital structure.
5. Oversee the maintenance of organizational-wide assets, including prudent management of organizational investments.

Here are some specific tasks the Finance Committee might undertake:

1. Review revenues and expenses at a monthly Committee meeting.
2. Ensure that organizational funds are spent appropriately (i.e., restricted funds).
3. Develop an investment strategy.
4. Ensure the preparation of an annual audit, tax form (990), and audited Financial Statements.
5. Provide support to staff as needed.

A committee of about 5 or 6 knowledgeable people should be able to provide invaluable financial leadership to your Board.