CAREER GUIDES

Here's how to become a city treasurer for your municipality

The treasurer's department forms the core of the municipality and city treasurers are responsible for the smooth and efficient running of the financial and information systems

Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov.

Treasurers and their staff are in charge of all the financial aspects of the municipality.

These can be divided into the following main areas:

  • Income section
  • Expenditure section
  • Financial administration section
  • Data processing section
  • Internal audit

Town treasurers are the heads of the departments and to help them to control the departments they have section heads for the five different sections. The main tasks of the different sections are as follows:

Income section

  • Meter reading
  • Sending out of bills
  • Collection and safe-keeping of all the income
  • Administration of debtors
  • Credit control

This section permanently works with the public and therefore the right person will be somebody that is good with figures and has good interpersonal skills.

Expenditure section

  • Stores and buying
  • Expenditure control
  • Salaries
  • Insurance
  • Assets control

This section works very closely with the municipality personnel and needs people with very good accounting skills.

Financial administration section

  • Investments.
  • Budgets.
  • Financial statements.
  • Research.

This section is very specialised and needs people who have formal accounting training and experience.

Data processing section

This section varies from municipality to municipality. Some municipalities have their own computer programmes and therefore they will need programmers as well as data processing officials. The trend is, however, that all municipalities are buying complete systems and then only data- processing officials are needed. The ideal person is one who can work very fast and accurately.

Internal audit

This section is the watchdog of the town treasurer. Internal auditors must have a good knowledge of how the system works and must ensure that all the employees of the municipality do their work within the relevant financial by-laws.

They should, however, also be able to improve the systems to minimise fraud and corruption. If they do their work correctly, the employees of the municipality are protected.

The ideal person must have a good knowledge of accounting and must have good interpersonal skills.The training is also done in conjunction with the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants.

Watch the video to learn more:

How to enter

Schooling & school subjects

Compulsory school subjects: Mathematics (for University BCom degree).

Recommended subjects: Accountancy, Business Studies.

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to study

Degree: Prospective city treasurers can study for a BCom degree at all the universities in South Africa.

Diploma: A N.Dip. Accountancy can be followed at the following universities of technology: DUT, CUT CPUT, TUT, UNISA, VUT and UJ.

One of the rewards of working for a local authority is the assisted study schemes, in the form of bursary or subsidised education schemes. The former refer to full-time study at a university.

The latter, preferred by most treasurers, refer to part-time study while the employee works. In this way, the employee gains experience while becoming academically qualified.

Employees qualify for advancement in the treasurer’s department by obtaining membership of the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants (IMTA). Any person wishing to gain admission as a member of the Institute (IMTA) must register in advance as a student of the Institute.

Employment

  • At any municipality
  • Self-employment, many professionals act as consultants to local authorities

Getting started

  • Arrange to speak to a city treasurer and ask permission to observe this work
  • Try to obtain part-time or vacation work with a city treasurer 
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