Where does the buck stop when it comes to the oversight of a library’s finances? Even if the library has competent bookkeepers and accountants, the ultimate legal and ethical authority rests on the shoulders of the library’s leadership. This might include the library's director, the administrative personnel, the dean or library CEO, or the elected or appointed members of a governing board, be it the trustees of the library board, the elected officials of municipality or county government, etc.
Sometimes leadership ends up rubber-stamping financial reports because they don’t feel they know enough to ask meaningful questions. Or, they are concerned that questioning financial issues might imply that they don’t trust their employees, which might result in hurt feelings and poor morale. Consequently, bigger problems fester until they blow up in public.
The answer? Require basic training in financial management for library management and leadership, regardless of their roles, and apply practices as recommended by the accounting profession, such as independent audits. This webinar is about what can be done before formal training.
Topics include what financial oversight means and the difference between oversight and micromanagement, expectations of the director’s financial competency, the different levels of money expertise needed to run a library–from policies to run a cash drawer at the circulation desk to budget projections for the next fiscal cycle, approving budgets, protocols for the purchasing department, the ethics of awarding contracts, policies to vet employees, and discouraging fraud.
Financial Oversight Guidelines for Non-Financial Library Managers and Leaders
Pat Wagner is a trainer and consultant with 40 years of experience working for libraries, universities, local government, nonprofits, and small businesses. She supports the success of libraries with programs on personnel, supervision, management, leadership, marketing, strategic planning, project management, and communication. Pat has worked with libraries and library organizations throughout the United States, from the smallest rural storefronts to the largest academic and urban library institutions. Pat also is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences. She is known for her good-humored and practical presentations.