Following my last notes in the Beacon Newsletter on using the Beacon Finance Package, where I presented a case for using a membership ledger in order to keep the current account uncluttered.
Another area of the Finance Package which gets a bad press is its lack of ability to deal with accruals.
In my discussions with U3A Treasurers around the UK, I find the biggest areas requiring the use of accruals accounting are membership fees, group holiday fees and deposits and payments for forward-planned events.
To deal with this, some Treasurers set up a separate accruals ledger into which they record such receipts or payments. The value of this accruals account can then be transferred into the current account when banked.
With regards to Membership accruals, if within your membership rules you set a period that if a person joins in the last two months of the membership year their subscription covers them for the following year and/or you allow membership renewals to begin two months from the end of the membership year, then all payments made to membership in the last two months of the year must be accrued and can easily be identified from the membership ledger.
This approach will not work with rolling membership or for payments made for an event or service that runs over more than one year, e.g. if you have a financial year that runs January to December and you take a payment for an event that runs from September to March.
These issues we are addressing with the Beacon upgrade. The plan is to make the financial side of Beacon more comprehensive, but still simple to use.
These notes are just an example of what you may want explore in order to get a better use of the current Beacon Finance Package.
Frank Bailey – National Support Lead for Beacon