Check out this overview of how Radical Routes finance works and some key finance concepts. For a more in-depth guide into finance concepts check out Seeds for Change Financial Literacy for Co-ops (PDF version).
Also have a look at the Finance Group Handbook - this used to be a Word doc but we're gradually pulling everything into the wiki - it will probably be split out into several pages but it's here for now.
Here's an overview of all the things Finance Group does. Radical Routes finance roles goes into the differences between the Finance Group, Finance Worker and Treasurer.
If you're new to Finance Group and want to know what sorts of things go on and whether you could do any of them, have a look at What could I do?, and go to Where does everything live? for where to find all the documents and online resources.
If you have more questions check out the FAQ.
Broadly Finance Group's responsibilities are:
Here's an overview of all of Finance Group's activities, broken down into different areas of responsibility
One of the big things Radical Routes does is offer loans to its members. It's Finance Group's job to manage this process, helping co-ops apply, assessing loan applications and monitoring co-ops' financial health.
Getting a loan with Radical Routes should feel different to getting a loan from a bank - we want our members to be able to get loans so they can buy a house or improve their co-op, so we want to give them as much help as we can with the process.
Just before a co-op submits a loan application, Finance Group go through it together a final time and assess whether the model works financially.
Even if a loan has been agreed, a lot can happen between then and actually needing the money. Once the co-op is ready to take the money out, Finance Group need to have a meeting where they agree to release the loan
Finance Group have regular loan monitoring sessions where they check the financial situation of co-ops with loans.
If a co-op is having financial difficulties it may create other issues within the co-op, and other issues may affect the co-op's financial situation. So Finance Group work closely with CSG and the wider network to make sure the co-op is supported.
Another of Finance Group's jobs is to share financial knowledge with RR members and help increase the wider understanding of RR finance
Everyone in a co-op should have a basic understanding of how co-op finances work, so there's less chance of making a mistake or the co-op going into crisis when the person who does the accounts leaves! Finance Group offers training to any co-op who wants it.
The Intro to Radical Routes Finance workshop runs at every gathering for new co-op members or co-ops wanting to join Radical Routes
The Finance Literacy workshop runs at every other gathering (Spring and Autumn gatherings)
Everyone in the network should be able to assess a co-op business plan, not just Finance Group - so every now and then we should be making sure we have enough people who know how to do this dotted around the network, and providing training to get people up to speed.
As people join and leave Finance Group, there are different levels of understanding within Finance Group, so we need to run training sessions for ourselves too.
Finance Group keep an eye on Radical Routes' general financial situation and notify the network of any issues they need to be aware of, proposing possible solutions for potential issues.
Finance Group need to make sure Radical Routes' money in the bank is managed in an ethical and responsible way, so as much of the reserves are protected and earning interest where possible.
Finance Group monitor RR running costs and make recommendations to try and ensure that service payments cover those costs of Radical Routes which are not directly related to the making of loans.
The Treasurer responds to emails to the treasurer account with the help of Finance Group, and also signs any documents as needed.
The Finance Worker creates payments but can't authorise them, only members of Finance Group can do this. So Finance Group need to keep on top of outstanding payments and double check they've been approved and are going to the right places.
The Finance Worker is employed by Radical Routes to do the practical finance related tasks, and work closely with Finance Group to do this. Finance Group should be checking the work is up to scratch and manage the Finance Worker contract
Finance Group need to keep on top of the finance related policies in the Radical Routes policy document and make sure they get updated if they're out of date
Rootstock need to be informed of any financial situations that may affect their investments, and also keep Finance Group updated about whether new investments are coming in or shares are being withdrawn. Also every year Rootstock and Finance Group need to agree on the interest rate for Rootstock's shares in Radical Routes
Budget setting happens every 3 years at the Summer gathering and is where working group budgets and service payment levels are agreed collectively in a big workshop. This takes quite a bit of preparation and back and forth with working groups and the network in the run up to the gathering
The Finance Worker keeps track of service payments and keeps Finance Group updated with how co-ops are doing. If there are arrears Finance Group can chase them to some extent but decisions around large arrears generally need to go to a gathering.
Every now and then Finance Group hosts a Thinky Day around a particular topic whether that's going deeper into the Radical Routes finances, modelling future scenarios, or thinking through political or strategic ideas about what Radical Routes could do with its money.
Here's how to get in touch with us:
|email@example.com||The main way to get in contact with Finance Group, email the treasurer and they will forward it onto the mailing list for the group|
|Mailing firstname.lastname@example.org||This is how we communicate with each other within Finance Group, if you become a member you'll get added to this list|
|Finance email@example.com||This is a way to contact all the members of Catalyst Collective involved in providing the finance worker contract. (Though all of them will get messages sent to the member mailing list too).|