Byron Gliding Accounts System Overview
This article is a little dated, but will give a good indication of how accounts are handled. The system was streamlined 2011.
The billing system is simple and is designed to cater for the type of organization that we are and the things we do.
The main factors that influence our system are:
- we turnover over x dollars per year (not a big number)
- we fly x days per week,
- we do not have any employees on site
- we use and hire up to 4 aircraft
In addition to this, and using volunteers, we regularly sell:
- several types of gift vouchers
- several types of AEFs
- 2 types of Lessons Vouchers
- 1 type of Lesson
- glider hire
- 2 types of hangar use
- several types of Club membership
- several types of books
- T-shirts & caps
On the expenditure side the system is mainly influenced by the fact that we pay for Glider hire of up to 4 aircraft from 3 separate owners who also use their own aircraft and we pay on the basis of Club use tacho hours.
Now to do and record all this a very simple has been developed.
1. the flight log book in each aircraft, apart from recording the flight, tells the bookkeeper, the date, the pilot and passenger (surname at least!), who was to pay for the flight, how long the flight was and whether the flight was an Owner flight, a flight using a pre paid voucher, a TIF, a lesson or an ordinary club rate flight. The bookkeeper is not there so if the pilot in command notes neatly on the log book what sort of flight it was, the bookkeeper is able to note the flight and determine the amount of payment due and who should have paid. She is also able to identify the need to pay the owner. I believe it is a requirement for all pilots in command to complete a log entry for every flight so an extra tick and a circle is not a significant work load.
2. When a payment is made/collected for anything, the date, who received/paid, the the reason for the payment and the type of payment ie credit card etc is clearly noted on an envelope and placed in the secure drawer. The bookkeeper can match this against the flight in a log book, keep track of club inventory and note payment for flight or account.
If this is done clearly and neatly then our bookkeeper will make very few errors. Of course her last line of defence against errors is the member.
So could a cash payment system work? The answer is an unequivocal NO. Even if the cash system was introduced and applied to every sale, the bookkeeper would still have to check that every fight has been paid for, keep track of inventory and have a system to chase up the pilots who paid too little for their flight, forgot the flight in the other aircraft on the day or paid too much. And then she would have to write a cheque for every expense claim from a member and get it to the member some how. She would still have to go through every flight in each log book and check whether and how much the owner should be paid.
The Club had a mixed system back in 2001 which ran for some time and the work load was considerable higher than it is today.
I have done this job since 2002 when our membership was 25. The job has by far the biggest workload in the Club and is in fact the core of the club. The reward is minimal as everyone is an expert but does not have the time to help.
It is not rocket science, but I have prepared instructions, which have been dispersed at the Clubhouse on:
- how to fill out the log book,
- how to fill out a receipts envelope,
- how to fill out the expense claim envelope,
- how to register a new member,
- how to fill out the voucher book,
how the Club works – the Club’s Induction BookI have posted on the notice board:
- the cost of vouchers even designed the vouchers and voucher
- sales book,
- the cost of member flying,
- the cost of GFA membership
- the cost of hangarage
- the conditions of hangarage
designed and had printed the Club membership book,the student fliers log record so instructors can keep trackand still the bookkeeper and I have to chase up incorrect details, omissions, unreadable entries in log book, missing and unreadable envelopes, people who were supposed to pay cash who didn’t, unnoted offline credit card payments(ie flights not paid for), arithmetic errors in calculating flight payment amounts, omitted flights, scraps of paper with expense claims on them .
The system does seem complex, but it has been made as simple as possible given the wide variety of tasks it needs to tackle.
Original version written by John Witham