This virtual solution is sometimes called “consolidated banking” because the sub-accounts of every chapter are consolidated under one larger bank account. Consolidated banking is also called:
- Chapter banking
- Component banking
- Concentrated banking
We call it “chapter banking” throughout this paper as a generic term because this banking solution was developed specifically for organizations with chapter, affiliate, or component networks — and it’s unique to the Billhighway platform.
Burden of Admin Tasks
Chelsea is a rising star at work and at her chapter. She’s treasurer this year — but the way officers have been burning out and dropping out, she’ll be president in no time. As it is, she’s already taken on many of the vice-president’s responsibilities. Chuck, the chapter president, mentioned the monthly reports to her, but not how much time they’d take. This is not the leadership experience she expected.
Manual Entries & Reconciling
At least once a week, Chelsea’s up late making ledger entries and reconciling accounts and statements. To identify members who are at risk for not renewing, she has to compare the roster to registration lists to see who hasn’t been attending events in the last six months. Then, she calls them, or finds someone else to call them so they can talk these members into giving the chapter another chance.
Disconnected from National
Chuck is also struggling. He’s troubled by declining event attendance and member retention, but he’s not comfortable reaching out to NATL for help. He doesn’t believe someone halfway across the country can help in any tangible way over the phone.
Time Well Spent
Volunteer Leaders Spend Time Where They Should
Instead of reconciling accounts, filling in spreadsheets, and completing reports for National, time-squeezed chapter leaders can focus on providing more value to members. Behind the scenes, the Billhighway team is updating the financial ledger, balancing all the books, generating financial reports, and acting like an outsourced financial team.
“The fact that they have to spend hours trying to reconfigure their records to match up with National’s, so they can send reports to National, makes them go crazy.”
Smoother Chapter Leadership Transitions
“I have a hard time imagining where this process is not going to be beneficial, where it’s not going to be a vast improvement over the status quo,” said Peter. “Chapter banking provides financial benefits, data benefits, and process benefits, which all support a key member benefit: you’re lessening the load for volunteer leaders and making their experience more rewarding.”
Easier Onboarding Process
When you take away the administrative burdens of chapter leadership, the job becomes more alluring. It’s easier to recruit and keep chapter officers. Onboarding new leadership is easier too since less administrative training is required and all records are online and easily accessible to new officers. If a leadership change occurs unexpectedly, bills still get paid and payments still get deposited — chapter business doesn’t suffer.
Peace of Mind
“Since we started out in the fraternal market 20 years ago, where 19 and 20 year olds are running chapters, our chapter banking system is heavy on controls,” said Troy. For example, it’s impossible for a chapter to overdraw an account because they can’t make a payment for anything above and beyond what’s in their cash ledger.
Access to Prepaid Cards
Besides physical checks, chapters have access to prepaid cards that work similarly to debit cards, but with spending limits. Funds are loaded onto the card from the chapter’s account and transactions, including the vendor, amount, and date are all tracked automatically in the system. All of the appropriate journal entries are automatically posted to the general ledger. Troy said.
“The card has controls in place as well, such as an approval protocol for outgoing funds. We also configure which sub-accounts can be spent by whom, and ensure they can only spend what’s in their sub-account.”
Reports Lead to Better Decision Making
Chapter leaders no longer have to rely on educated guesses and assumptions. The chapter banking system provides a slew of meaningful and accurate reports that can be consulted before making decisions — such as…
- Balance sheets
- Income statements
- Expense reports
For example, expenses and revenue can be tagged, so chapters can see how much they’ve actually earned on events in the past year.
Review Reports & Performance
Chapter boards can review financial reports and performance, while National can provide benchmark reports that help chapters compare their operational expenses against each other. “Now, I can look at a set of data points, compare our performance, and confirm we’re going in the right direction — and understand how to improve our operations if “we’re not,” said Peter. “What’s of value from the chapter perspective is benchmarking our performance against other chapters.”
AUTOMATING BUSINESS AS USUAL
“With chapter banking, the chapter admin or volunteer doesn’t have to keep the bank account and the financial system in sync, whether it’s in Excel or QuickBooks,” said Troy. “All of that goes away for the administrator or treasurer because it’s done automatically as transactions flow through the Billhighway platform.”
“Billhighway’s validation and approval process is much smoother and more efficient than the traditional chapter practice,” said Peter. “Chapters aren’t writing checks and sending them off to the treasurer for a signature, and then again to someone else if it’s a double-signed check.”
Download Our Guide
In the Chapter Banking Guide, we share the basics of chapter banking, how your association and chapters could benefit from the solution, ways to overcome possible resistance, and how your national-chapter relationship can change positively with the solution.