Communal wool farmers shine in basic training courses
Regional chairpersons, treasurers and secretaries gathered in Queenstown last week to equip themselves with a basic understanding of administration and bookkeeping. NWGA staff members Patti Myburgh and Bonita Francis shared their knowledge and skill over a 2-day training period.
All 15 trainees as well as East Cape communal chairman Lawrence Maduna were given the opportunity to explain how regional meetings are planned and structured and what their bookkeeping systems look like. It was also determined that regional constitutions are in place and, according to Chairman of Region 21, Mr Mlondolozi Mnyanga, that the needs of regions are very similar.
The majority of the training session was spent on basic bookkeeping and although the practical session proved quite daunting, they was greeted with large smiles and thumbs up when their calculations agreed with the sample.
NWGA Finance and Administration Manager Patti Myburgh explained that most of what she will be teaching could be applied to not only the regional finances, but also to their personal lives and even their own businesses, involvement with church, school, and other committees. The importance of compiling a budget and recording monthly income and expenses was accentuated and that a well-kept paper trail and filing system is crucial in order to maintain a credible structure. At all times the treasurer’s accountability and responsibility towards the contributions paid by fellow farmers should be top priority.
The practical session enabled the members to compile a budget, familiarise themselves with a claim form and the calculation of accommodation rates and kilometres travelled. An income statement projecting various sources of income such as membership, sponsorship, grants and interest were shown and members recorded a variety of invoices onto an expenses sheet. They were shown how to calculate percentage increases and decreases in order to plan budgets more accurately and the importance of a bank reconciliation was explained.
Company Secretary and Public Relations Officer Bonita Francis presented training in general administration and minute keeping and shared some advice on how to plan, give notice and compile comprehensive agendas for meetings. The format for agendas, the importance of accurate record keeping and the approval of former minutes was accentuated. The value of attendance registers and the upkeep of a database of names of important stakeholders and members was explained to enable secretaries to be more productive and effective.
Francis elaborated on the functions of chairmen and secretaries and stressed the importance of being punctual for scheduled meetings. She concluded that secretaries are an essential link in every organisation or company and that they should be involved in all aspects of the job, as administration, minute keeping and execution of decisions touches all facets of the industry.
The training was well received and the need for more grassroots training reaching the levels of shearing sheds and districts was expressed and regarded as significant for growth and development.