[Theforum] bank accounts (was: treasurer duties)

A. Erickson amanda at gawow.com
Wed Jan 9 13:15:26 CST 2002

Looks like this email maybe got a little buried....

> From: theforum-admin at lists.evolt.org 
> [mailto:theforum-admin at lists.evolt.org] On Behalf Of Marlene Bruce

> 1. Create a "DBA" ("Doing Buisness As") account, which is basically a 
> less official business account. He said we would have the account 
> under *both* my name and evolt.org, with additional people assigned 
> as having access. Since we're working towards NFP status they would 
> wave any fees associated with the account.
> Pros:
> * Much easier to establish than an official business account
> * It would be free.
> Cons:
> * There are only two ways to set the account up:
> a) Have individual signatories. Anyone listed as a signatory can get 
> access without anyone else's signature. This is the "or" set-up 
> (person one OR person two OR person three, etc.). This could look 
> less trustworthy to the public.
> b) Two people must sign to access the account. This is the "and" 
> set-up (requiring any two people listed).

Maybe you could ask if they have any ideas about how to solve this.
Digital signature? Some sort of note of authorization? Of course, this
might also open up the account for abuse anyway.

> We'd have to go with (a) 'cause it would be a real headache for me to 
> manage the account with no other executives/BOD members nearby to 
> sign with me. The problem with (a) is that anyone listed on the 
> account could manipulate it without anyone else's permission or 
> knowledge, including mine.
> * Another con (for me and for evolt.org) is that since I'd be the 
> principal signatory, *I* would have to pay taxes on any interest 
> earned on the account. Perhaps there's a way to deal with this (I 
> just don't know how at this point).

It seems to me that we could start out *not* putting money in an
interest-bearing account and that would solve that problem. Of course,
any smart business person would tell you to always maximize the
potential for interest earned. (I wonder if earning interest would
affect a not-for-profit bid.)

> 2. Create a fully official small business account. I have a lot of 
> literature to go through before I can give definitive information 
> about this option, but in brief it seems we'd have to:
> a) Supply some kind of "certified" document demonstrating we exist. 
> This basically means a document *we didn't* produce. Qualified 
> documents would include something from the government, a fictitious 
> name statement, or a business license. I don't think we have any of 
> these things. I asked if something from Network Solutions showing 
> we've registered and operated under "evolt.org" would suffice, and he 
> said it might.
> b) Supply documentation about our executives and BOD members.

Uh. Yeah. 

At some point we have to decide how we're going to handle this. We just
cannot take donations without a better structure in place. There needs
to be some checks and balances. I think if we're going to resist
structure then we will have to give up on the idea of a business
account. It would be shameful to solitic monies and then not be able to
distrubute it in a lawful and appropriate manner.

> Pros:
> * It would really be official.
> * We could set it up with me as the main signatory, and as preferred 
> if anyone else needed to access the account it would require two 
> signatures (useful if I die or become incapacitated). This would be 
> more trustworthy in the eyes of people donating money.
> * We would have access to lots more services if we need them in the 
> future (like business credit cards, business loans, payroll, 
> retirement plans, etc.).

Hm. That sounds interesting. 

> * Taxes would be the responsibility of the organization, not me.
> Cons:
> * It may not be free. This would be at the discretion of the manager.
> * We'd have to come up with an adequate "certified" document to the 
> satisfaction of the bank. I don't know how hard that would be.
> We could sign up for a DBA account, and switch to an official small 
> business account in the future.

This is probably a good way to start. That way if we want to informally
donate money through the admin or theforum group we would at least have
a place to put it. Maybe this would help us get some documentation for
the second part, too -- 2(a) above. 
> This is just one bank. I don't know how/if other banks would differ. 
> If anyone has any relevant knowledge, I'd appreciate feedback.
> Heck, I'd appreciate *any* feedback.

Good job! Thanks for compiling this.

> P.S. Maybe, just maybe, something is happening on the job front for 
> me! Oracle just called...

Yea! Let us know.

- amanda

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