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What is a Treasurer?

Niki Foster
Updated Feb 07, 2024
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A treasurer is a person who oversees the treasury, or monetary stores, of a government or other body. Clubs, corporations, and nonprofit organizations, as well as national and local governments, commonly employ treasurers. In the original use of the term, a treasurer was the person entrusted with the oversight of a noble's wealth, or treasure. A treasurer is responsible for economic and financial matters, such as the maintenance and administration of funds, generating revenue, and keeping financial records. Treasurers create financial reports for their employers and analyze past financial records in order to predict future trends and plan appropriate budgets.

The precise role of the treasurer in governments around the world varies. In the United States, for example, the Treasurer does not have direct control over all the actions of the Treasury, but reports to the Secretary of the Treasury and has limited financial authority, mostly related to the minting and printing of currency. In the Australian government, on the other hand, the Treasurer is second in importance only to the Prime Minister.

In a corporation, the treasurer is typically in charge of all financial matters. Corporate finance consists of maximizing the value of the corporation while reducing financial risk. Corporate treasurers manage investments, debt, and expenditures and advise the corporation on financial matters. For example, they may assess whether certain expenditures, investments, or loans are in the best interest of the corporation. Corporate treasurers also make sure that a company has adequate cash flow to achieve its goals and run smoothly.

Nonprofit organizations and clubs often appoint a treasurer to handle funds and make sure they are appropriately spent. The treasurer of such an organization is also responsible for generating income, such as through seeking sponsorship or organizing fundraising events. He or she must also maintain a budget, keep records and documentation on all financial transactions, and keep other officers abreast of financial matters.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Foster
By Niki Foster , Writer

In addition to her role as a WiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

Discussion Comments

By croydon — On Nov 18, 2014

@umbra21 - I'm sure you're thinking of very small scale clubs and groups, but there are much larger ones that can end up processing big sums of money. My hiking group in a big city had hundreds of members and we all had to pay something like $50 annual membership fees, not to mention the additional amounts when we wanted to go on an overnight camp.

I don't think the club had a treasurer so much as an accountant because they needed to make sure everything was done above board and they had financial assets like a hut in the mountains that they had to look after. I don't know exactly how it worked, but I think the official treasurer was in charge of money in the sense that they oversaw decisions concerning it, but they didn't literally collect the money or write the checks or anything.

By umbra21 — On Nov 18, 2014

@KoiwiGal - Being a club treasurer is rarely complicated. It's only once you get to corporate or government level that it becomes more of a job instead of just being the person who records the numbers.

These days it's not even an issue of trust because (outside of high school anyway) you will probably not be handling that much money at a time, but just putting it all into an account that is probably under the club name rather than yours. You'd have to be pretty nefarious to rip them off, and the amount you'd get wouldn't be worth the risk you'd take.

By KoiwiGal — On Nov 17, 2014

I always liked being the treasurer when I was in high school and joined a few clubs. It seemed like the best of both worlds, in that you've got a bit of responsibility, but your duties are very clear and you don't have to worry about the opinions of the other members the way the president has to.

Of course, I quite liked math as well, so that was never a problem. And in high school you aren't exactly working with large sums of money or complicated calculations of risk, so I'm not so sure I'd want to do it on a larger scale as an adult.

Niki Foster

Niki Foster


In addition to her role as a WiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in...

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