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Off-campus Bank Accounts for Student Organizations

Follow these guidelines to prevent mismanagement of off-campus accounts for student organizations.

For information about on-campus accounts, see Financial Processes for Student Organizations.

Because the university doesn't regulate off-campus accounts for student organizations, it's important to establish financial controls to limit the risk of mismanaging organization funds, specifically the use of funds for personal gain.

Examples of easy-to-implement controls:

  • Require double endorsement of expenses
    Requiring 2 signatures on checks prevents purchases by check without the consent of a second student organization officer.
    Unfortunately, paper checks are used less often these days in favor of ATM or check cards. As a result, double endorsement of all expenses is difficult to enforce.
  • Separate financial duties
    The student organization financial officer should reconcile the bank's financial statements regularly. While the financial officer could theoretically be the second signer on a check, he or she should not be the primary purchasing officer or have access to an ATM or check card. If so, another person needs to reconcile the bank statements.
  • Use a central mailing address
    Student organizations should use their UCSD mailing address to receive bank statements and notifications. This way, statements and other notifications that might identify financial mismanagement cannot be easily hidden from the student organization's membership.

    Like checks, paper statements are becoming increasingly rare. If statements are being e-mailed or require Web site access, multiple recipients or users should be authorized.
  • Keep records public
    Purposeful mismanagement of funds is difficult to conceal when financial records are made public or readily available to the student organization's members. Public records let members question all expenses, which virtually guarantees generally accepted use of the organization's resources and protects against prolonged collusion.
  • Define consequences for embezzlement
    Address embezzlement in their your organization's constitution or bylaws. Include:
    • Definitions
    • Methods for policing
    • Consequences for breaking the rules
    By doing so, the student organization states its intentions to police financial management of organization funds.

    This acts as a deterrent and leaves no ambiguity about the risk of being caught. The point is to deter the activity and outline a course of action in the rare event embezzlement occurs.
  • Tax Identification Number
    Every bank account is required to have a tax identification number associated with it. Student organizations are not eligible to use the University of California, San Diego tax ID number for the purpose of setting up a student organization bank account. Therefore, at least one of your Principal Members will likely be required to provide a personal tax ID number (Social Security Number) to the bank for use in their tax reporting requirements. 
  • Remove your information from accounts when you leave
    When you are no longer associated with the student organization, due to graduation or any other reason, be sure to communicate with the bank and have your personal information removed from any accounts.

    If you don't remove yourself from the accounts, you can be held responsible for financial obligations. Also, transferring your account status to a current organization member ensures a smooth transition for the organization.