[Noisebridge-board] budget and fixed assets

Noisebridge Treasurer treasurer at noisebridge.net
Fri Jan 7 20:05:13 UTC 2011

Maybe I'm not being clear enough.

On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 01:23, Patrick Keys <citizenkeys at gmail.com> wrote:
> Income is cash inflows - dues and donations.
> Expenses are cash outflows - rent, electricity, garbage fees, etc.
> A good integrated accounting package will easily manage both and easily
> generate an income statement on-the-fly.  I will check out the xeno package
> later today.

We are already tracking income and expenses in Xero, and Xero also
already generates several different financial reports on the fly.
However, this is only useful if the data in them reflects reality,
which historically it has not, and which it is now starting to do. I
have sent Xero reports to a few people (once to Danny to give a proxy
treasurer's report when I was out of town) but there is no specified
interval for issuing them or official place where they are posted,
because I have only recently gotten the system to the point where it
is tracking accurate data. Hence, you may not have seen an income
statement personally, but they exist and I use them to give
treasurer's reports at the weekly meeting.

> As for assets, its simply a matter of deciding what has
> monetary value, properly labeling it, and keeping track of all that in a
> spreadsheet.

Xero also has some asset-tracking features in it and right now we are
using them only to track large monetary assets such as deposits.
Noisebridge does not currently track the monetary value of in-kind
donations or physical assets because this presents some complications
due to our non-profit status. I suggest that you talk to some of the
people I suggested about non-profit requirements and what we should
consider in tracking our assets. Additionally, "deciding what has a
monetary value" is a non-negligible task. If you think it's something
we need to do, you should start doing it and start working with others
in the space to do it. There is a lot of discussion to be had there
before I actually would get involved as treasurer.

> Another concern is the limited ways to get money into the noisebridge bank
> account and, yes, getting money from it.  One idea that works: There should
> perhaps be another, very small, bank account for expenses that has a debit
> card that people here can use for legitimate day-to-day expenses of
> Noisebridge (paper towels, light bulbs, laundry, etc).  If that account only
> has a hundred bucks in it a month, then at least those expenses can be
> consolidated and we can track those expenses using the debit card rather
> than using cash.  People could pay for those expenses themselves, which
> would be nice, but it would be better to have people just donate cash
> instead, put the cash in the bank, and then use the debit card to track the
> expenses.

The same goes for these suggestions. I wouldn't implement any of them
without first pinging for consensus. For most financial decisions, we
don't make an official consensus, but I do try to get feedback from
members about their concerns or needs. If you want these things to
happen, I encourage you to talk to other people in the space about it
and bring it up at a membership meeting.


> In terms of large goals, it might be nice to have an official Noisevan that
> we can use for Noisebridge fieldtrips and also use to take projects to
> markets and fairs to show off.
> Patrick
> On 1/3/2011 12:29 PM, Noisebridge Treasurer wrote:
>> That's a pretty ambitious agenda there. Noisebridge has a non-standard
>> approach to investors. I encourage you to find out a bit more about
>> how we've dealt with that in the past before making assumptions about
>> expansion.
>> Right now I'm focusing on the basic financials we should have been
>> tracking as a non-profit, namely dues and donations. Now that we've
>> made some progress on tracking dues, I'll be focusing for the next
>> couple months on auditing our donations records and sending tax
>> receipts to donors.
>> If there are specific small expenditures that you think Noisebridge
>> should be making, you should do something about it now. There's no
>> need to wait for detailed information on fixed assets or budgeting. I
>> think you will find that funding is not the main factor that
>> determines actionability at Noisebridge.
>> As far as tracking fixed assets go, that's not something we've done
>> historically and as you propose it, it would be a very large
>> undertaking. As I said, I have other bookkeeping priorities right now,
>> but if you want to start the ball rolling on tracking fixed assets, I
>> suggest talking to our secretary, Seth, who coordinates our insurance,
>> as well as some of the members who have been involved in the 501c3
>> process like Mitch or Jake. You can reach them and others via the
>> board list which I've cc-ed.
>> -Kelly
>> On Sat, Jan 1, 2011 at 20:48, Patrick Keys<citizenkeys at gmail.com>  wrote:
>>> Thank you for your prompt response.  Mainly, my personal concern is that
>>> I
>>> like Noisebridge and I'd like to see expansion.  There's simply no way to
>>> plan or organize without reliable financials.
>>> Right now, the limitations of the financials prevent doing anything other
>>> than paying fundamental bills.  It would be nice to get a real budget in
>>> place so that Noisebridge can have some discretionary funds. There are
>>> all
>>> sorts of small expenses that could make Noisebridge more enjoyable for
>>> everybody if we just knew we had the extra money for them.
>>> Another very important financial matter is accounting for assets. That's
>>> the
>>> purpose of the balance sheet.  Anything at Noisebridge worth $500 or more
>>> is
>>> basically an asset.  Noisebridge has all sorts of tangible valuable fixed
>>> assets (furniture, expensive electronic equipment, workshop tools, etc.).
>>>  Those assets absolutely need to be accounted for, with asset tags and a
>>> spreadsheet of serial numbers for insurance purposes.
>>> One purpose of tracking assets is being able to show to potential
>>> investors
>>> that all that donated money adds up to something real. Another purpose of
>>> tracking assets is to attract more of them. Noisebridge only seeks money
>>> contributions right now.  But Noisebridge could (and should) also be
>>> attracting donations in the form of additional assets that add value to
>>> the
>>> space (more furniture, more valuable electronic equipment, more valuable
>>> workshop tools, etc.).
>>> Patrick
>>> On 1/1/2011 1:19 PM, Noisebridge Treasurer wrote:
>>>> Noisebridge currently uses xero.com for bookkeeping. There have been
>>>> several threads on Noisebridge-discuss over the last few months about
>>>> our finances and bookkeeping, and I would encourage you to search for
>>>> any threads that include "treasurer at noisebridge.net" as a sender. The
>>>> thread about accounting software and bookkeeping systems is entitled
>>>> "accounting software / websites" if you'd like to search for it
>>>> specifically. This has come up again recently, and we will be talking
>>>> about it in a Tuesday meeting soon.
>>>> Just to give you some background, our previous treasurer did not keep
>>>> track of expected income or dues non-payment, so I've been
>>>> implementing that in the xero system since I took over as treasurer in
>>>> October. We have also contacted all of the members who had stopped
>>>> paying dues. As this information is incorporated, treasury reports
>>>> have been getting a bit more detailed. Last week was the first week
>>>> that I was able to provide a profit&    loss report that reflects
>>>> accurate income numbers for dues and donations. We're still sorting
>>>> out a record-keeping protocol for t-shirt sales and beverage income,
>>>> which I hope will begin to show trends within a month or so.
>>>> Since the last treasurer didn't keep very detailed books, there's no
>>>> current protocol for how much reporting is expected. Typically the
>>>> wiki only includes the bank balance. I plan to make more detailed
>>>> treasurer's reports in the membership meeting and to be prepared to
>>>> provide additional detail if requested and just see what people want.
>>>> If there are specific reports you think we should be paying attention
>>>> to, I encourage you to bring it up in a meeting. I should be able to
>>>> provide them.
>>>> -Kelly
>>>> On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 01:26, Patrick Keys<citizenkeys at gmail.com>
>>>>  wrote:
>>>>> to whomever gets mail for treasurer at noisebridge.net:
>>>>> does noisebridge have a set of official books for bookkeeping purposes?
>>>>> if not, I have about a decade of bookkeeping experience.  if nothing
>>>>> else,
>>>>> noisebridge should at least a balance sheet and an income statement.
>>>>>  ideally, there should be a complete chart of accounts that includes
>>>>> accounts receivable and accounts payable.  having complete financials
>>>>> would
>>>>> not only let noisebridge budget, but also let noisebridge allocate
>>>>> money
>>>>> for
>>>>> improvements and new things.
>>>>> my point is that i'd like to volunteer spending a day to setup the
>>>>> books
>>>>> if
>>>>> there's no set of books.
>>>>> Patrick

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