Many clubs using an external bookkeeping system such as Simply Accounting or QuickBooks. These are fine systems, but the problem often is that the system will reside on the Treasurer’s computer. Reports on income and expenses are only available when the Treasure has time to bring the information up to date and then print a report. Often this involves the President or Committee Chair pleading for information and not having it available when needs.

This is no reflection on the Treasurer. Often the Treasurer of a club will also have a day job that requires their skill, time and dedication. And at some times of the year, especially tax time, they can be overwhelmed with work. That’s life.

What is needed is a simple, online accounting system where the transactions can be entered by one or many people and the information can be printed or reported on at any time. By having an open accounting system that is available to all the club executive and committee chairs, it will also help prevent embezzlement. It’s not a word we like to use, but in my short life in Rotary (5 years), I have heard of several bad cases relatively close to home in either our district or a neighbouring one. Having open information where everyone is looking makes this more difficult.

Each committee or project or fund raising event will have it’s own budget, income and expenses. The chair of the Book Sale committee may want to know what their budget is for advertising and when the event is over, find out quickly how much money was raised, what the costs were, what the expenses were and of course, the bottom line, the profit. But they will also want to know how this year did compared to the last two or three years and use that information for preparing the budget for the next year. By digging into the expenses, they can get not only the total spent on advertising, but how much for each vendor such as radio, TV and newspaper.

Most people are terrified of accounting and therefore think that a program such as QuickBooks is the best way to go. But accounting is actually very easy and doesn’t have to be big and complex. Especially for running something simple like a Rotary Club. Windward (my company) will even volunteer to build this portion of the site as we’ve been working with accounting systems for 25+ years.