Finance module (e01)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Olivier Gardiol, Team Polaris

How do I get started with the finance module ?

Contents

Basic principles

A. Choosing the basic parameters

B. Event Accounting

C. Individual club member accounts

C.1 MAIN individual account WITHOUT automatic transactions

  • Accounting periods and grouped transactions
  • Most common transactions in a period

C.2 MAIN individual account WITH automatic transactions

C.3 MEAL PACKAGE System

D. Overview of members' accounts

E. How to experiment with the finance module?

F. Improvements planned for a future version.

Basic principles

The following functions are available in the finance module:

  1. An income-expenditure account of each event in the calendar:
    for each event it is possible to record as income the individual contributions of members, guests and visitors,
    and expenses to service providers: restaurant,...

  2. A current debit/credit account for each active member or Other contacts of the club:

    Debits such as regular membership fees, and credits such as payments into the club's bank account

    Optionally, contributions to club events can be automatically recorded as debits

    Alternatively a "Meal package system" can be activated, based on a fixed amount per period, regardless of the number of meals consumed.

     Visibility: the active member can view his current account at any time under NAVIGATION > MY FINANCES, which displays for the selected period
    • its balance at the beginning of the period
    • the debit/credit entries relating to it during the period
    • its current balance, or end of period balance.

The finance module is therefore not a club accounting system as such.


How to activate the various event and member accounts

A. Choose the basic settings

Under Club Parameters > Other Parameters > Finance enter the default prices offered when creating an event:

  • Country currency
  • Default event price for active members, prospects and guests of the club and multi-district
  • Default event price for visitors
  • Penalty for "noshows", i.e. members registered for an event but absent without announcing it.

At this stage do not activate the other parameters: they will be described later.

B. Event accounting

B.1. To be done before the event:

Edit Event, Event Finances tab, then button Enter event finance button to enter:

  1. The various prices to be applied, and possibly the penalty charged to an active member unable to attend,
  2. The cost per participant used to pay the provider e.g. the caterer,
  3. The cost charged by the provider for "no shows" e.g. meals ordered but not served,
  4. The various possible fixed costs, e.g. room hire, beamer, etc.

B.2 During and after the event

  1. Record all member and visitor attendance (QR-code, or manually),
  2. Collect contributions on site (cash, credit/debit cards, smartphones, etc.), except those of active members if their individual accounts are debited,
  3. Check that the account is complete (see below) and if necessary correct it,
  4. When all attendance and expenses are in order, close the event.

Attention: closing the event affects the attendance rates of the members present, but also debits, if necessary, their individual account for their contribution to the event.



The Event Finances tab displays the full event count allowing you to check everything before closing the event.

Please note: re-opening a closed event will create reverse entries in the individual member accounts, not delete them.

Income-expenditure account for an event


C. Individual accounts of club members

Introduction

To activate the individual account system, in the Club parameters > Other Parameters > Finance toggle the Enable member financial account switch

This gives each active member a current account "debits - credits - balances".

Depending on the choice of the club, the current accounts can be of various complexities:

  • A single "Main" account WITHOUT automatic entries
  • A single "Main" account WITH automatic debit entries for contributions to events
  • A second account called "Meal" with automatic debit entries for contributions to events

C.1 Individual MAIN account WITHOUT automatic entries

Only one "main" current account per member to enter the various possible accounting entries.

It is accessed via Members > Active members > Edit icon of the selected member > Financial account tab,
alternatively via Members > Active members > Financial tab > Edit icon of the selected member.

  • Debits:

    • Club admission fee for a new active member
    • Periodic membership fee
    • Compensation for absence at a statutory event
    • Donation call ...

  • Credits:

    • Payment by the member to the club bank account
    • Cash payment by the member to the treasurer
    • etc..

Each entry is created by the treasurer via the button + Add transaction

Individual active member account

An entry requires a choice:

  • The individual account concerned, by default the Principal (the sub-account "Meal" is described later)
  • The type of entry: by default Other, and by choice the admission fee, the periodic contribution, a participation to an event (meal packages are described later)
  • The description of the entry
  • Whether it is a debit or a credit
  • The amount, which will appear in red if it is a debit
  • The accounting date, i.e. the date on which the transaction actually took place; e.g. the date of the payment into the club's bank account.

IMPORTANT: as in any accounting system, once an entry has been created it cannot be deleted.
If an entry needs to be corrected, a "reversal" is created, i.e. an entry which cancels the entry to be corrected.

Example of debit

The date of the transaction appearing in the first column of the current account is the date of recording by Polaris.

IMPORTANT: as in any accounting system, after its creation an entry cannot be deleted. If it is necessary to correct an entry, a reversal is created, i.e. an entry that cancels the entry to be corrected.

Accounting periods and grouped transactions

Accounting periods of 3 months, 6 months or 12 months can be decided.
From the list of members, Financial tab, the treasurer can create at the beginning of the period the fees due in a single operation for all the members, named Grouped or "en bloc" transaction

Following the same model as an individual transaction, the members concerned must be selected from a multiple choice drop-down list. By default all members are pre-selected.

In the case of different subscription amounts depending on the type of active member (compulsory or exempt from attendance, exempt from subscription, etc.), as many grouped transactions are created as possible.

Most common transactions in a period

  • Debits at the beginning of the period for contributions due
  • Sending of invoices for membership fees, calls for donations, etc. by email or post, via Utility > Serial letters
  • Payments to bank accounts by members and transfer to individual accounts
  • Reminders sent by email or post via Utility > Serial letters

The advantage of the individual current accounts is that they are easily visible to members on their smartphone or laptop under NAVIGATION > MY FINANCES


C.2 Individual MAIN account WITH automatic transactions

In addition to the manual transactions, it is possible to automate the entries of the contributions of the members present at statutory and non-statutory meetings.

To do this, in Club parameters > Other parameters > Finance, activate the switch Debit event fees from member accounts

In this case only guests and visitors pay their contribution to the event on the spot, those of active club members are automatically debited from the individual member's account. These automatic debits are the event prices, but optionally also a "no-show" contribution for a member registered but absent at the event.

The automatic creation of the entries is done when the event is closed by the administrator.

Attention: the closing of an event should only be done when all the attendances are entered and verified. In case where a re-opening of the event is required to make corrections, "reversed" entries are automatically created.

Examples of automatic meal contribution entries

Additional operations related to the automatic debiting of contributions to events

  • At the beginning of the period debit all individual accounts with an amount to cover part of the period's contributions, e.g. 50% of statutory meetings
  • Add the amount due to the membership fee invoice
  • At the end of the period ask members to pay the negative balance:
    • by an email referring them to their individual account
    • or by an invoice for the negative balance
  • A positive balance is carried forward naturally to the next period

C.3 Meal package system

Many clubs use a fixed-rate meal system for a pre-defined period (formerly known as the "meal ticket" system). The principle is to charge members at the beginning of the period a flat fee to cover part of the contributions to the events of the period, typically meals at weekly meetings.

Clubs using the meal plan can choose between two systems:

  • Flat rate meal package: for the given period, regardless of the number of statutory events the member attends (no balance charged or refunded)
  • Minimum meal package: members pay in advance a pre-defined fixed amount for n "meal tickets". Unused tickets are forfeited to the club and cannot be carried over to the next period, unless exceptionally authorised for a particular member. Additional meals will be charged to the member.

In both cases a second individual "Meal" account is used, from which the contributions due are automatically debited at the end of an event, instead of being debited from the member's main account.

To activate this meal package system, in Club parameters > Other parameters > Finances, activate the Use meal package switch

When creating an event, in its Event Finances tab, a switch appears activated by default Debit Meal Package Account. If you do not want a particular event to automatically debit the "Meal" accounts, simply deactivate this switch.

The difference between the two solutions "fixed price" and "minimum price" is regulated by the difference in accounting entries at the end of the period (see below)


Second "Meal" account with automatic debit entries for contributions

For both types of meal packages, a second individual "Meal" account is used, from which the contributions due are debited automatically at the close of an event, instead of being debited from the member's main account.

In accounting terms this is:

  • At the beginning of the period to:
    • debit all "main" accounts for the meal package
    • credit all "meal" accounts with the same meal package
    • Invoice the members for the meal package, simply at the same time as the membership fees for the period

  • At the end of the period of:
    • if the flat rate is in force:
      • reduce the positive and negative balances of the "meal" accounts to zero, by making the appropriate entries
      • credit the total of the positive and negative balances in the club accounts
    • if the minimum fee is in force:
      • reduce the positive balance of the "meals" accounts to zero, by making the appropriate entries,
        and credit them in the club accounts
      • reduce the negative balance of each "meal" account to zero, by making the appropriate entries,
        and debit the member's main account by the same amount
      • ask the members to settle the negative balance:
        1. by an email referring them to their individual account
        2. or by an invoice for the negative balance

D. Overview of members' accounts

The Members > Active Members > Finances page allows the treasurer to display the balances of all members as of the current date.

Display filters are available to differentiate between:

  • older members
  • members who are obliged or exempt from attendance
  • members with a negative or positive main account
  • members with a negative or positive meal account


E. How to experience the finance module?

Before making the various functionalities of the finance module active for the club, it is important to experiment with them.

Note: the following experiment will create entries for the members present, and therefore visible to the members concerned in MY FINANCES. The day the club decides to activate the finance module for members, it is necessary to create zero entries for accounts that are not activated.

The suggested test steps are:

  1. Choose in the club parameters the basic functionality Activate the members' financial account
  2. Create a fictitious Other Contact, e.g. "Test Finances", and give it a user account
  3. Create entries for the various debits and credits for a quarter
  4. Check the main account settlement in the backend
  5. Verify the main account's frontend settlement by "loggin as" the member
  6. Cancel the "log n as".

  7. Select in the club settings the functionality Debit event fees from members' accounts
  8. Create for "Test Finances" presences in some events of the past (you can't put presence in the future)
    Warning: provided there are no valid entries for other members yet, the easiest way is to reopen closed events
  9. Check the main account in the backend
  10. Check the balance of the main account in the frontend by "login as" the member
  11. Cancel the "login as"

  12. Select in the club settings the Use a meal package functionality
  13. Create a "Meal package" debit in the main account and a credit in the meal plan account for "Test Finances"
  14. Create for "Test Finances" attendances in some past events (you can't put an attendance in the future)
  15. Check the main account in the backend
  16. Check the main account in the frontend by "login as" the member
  17. Cancel the "login as".

  18. Experiment also with grouped entries such as membership fees, meal packages, etc.
  19. At the end of the experiment, set the balances of all the affected accounts to zero.

GOOD EXPERIMENTATION!


F. Improvements planned for a future version

  • Be able to select members with or without financial accounts
  • Hide financial accounts in frontend
  • Grouped entries:
    • Allow to make them on a particular group:
      • older than...
      • obliged or exempt from attendance
      • exempt from contribution
  • Allow penalties for
    • noshow
    • show not registered
    • not participating in a statutory event
  • Automate the two entries of a meal package
    • Debit from main account
    • Credit meal account
  • Automate the zeroing of meal accounts at the end of the period