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Reconciling membership accounts

15th Aug 2018
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The membership accounts I was reconciling last month certainly made for some interesting discussions between the chairman and the treasurer.

Each of them keeps their own list of which members have paid and which have not. The chairman, who has too much time on his hands, insists that his list, which he keeps in a fat little brown book, is correct. He crosses off, using a pen, members who have paid.

The treasurer, on the other hand, is a younger woman and is a bit more tech-savvy. She keeps the accounts on Sage and marks off the paying members. The accounts showed about 20 unpaid subscriptions. The chairman's book showed 4 unpaid subscriptions.

I asked them to discuss this with each other and confirm to me which set of records was correct.

Following on from a long chain of increasingly acrimonious emails that I was copied into, it transpired that neither set of records was actually correct. The chairman had crossed off members to whom he had promised a free year, but no money had changed hands, and he hadn't told the treasurer about them. Meanwhile, the treasurer had marked money as payments for subscriptions when it was actually a donation from a wealthy local.

I finally managed to reconcile the debtors to a position that both parties agreed on, but then found myself in trouble with Henry for spending so much time on the reconciliation.

"I'll have to write off all that time, Alice. We're working to a fixed fee for this client. Don't spend so much time on it next year."

Not the thanks I was hoping for, for my hard work... oh well, some you lose.


Replies (2)

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By FirstTab
15th Aug 2018 23:21

The obsession with timesheets is an oudated way of working now.

Speaking to my ex-employees they are working in practices that have done away with timesheets.

Suggest to your employer to move to fixed fees and better ways of working. Timesheets mean the more inefficient the practice, better it is for the bottom line. It does not add up.

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By chasmeehan
17th Aug 2018 12:22

Alice - sympathies although a great real life story worthy of Coronation Street when it had comic story threads - also, a very typical situation on both client and business sides. The business issue is clearly the challenging task of managing clients who are time-consuming but know wealthy people so are potential gateways to profitable work. If we are looking at the issue rationally maybe there should be a budget head for client relationship management against which a chunk of the cost could be allocated and around which future decisions about the cost/benefit of the client account considered. However, nettles are not grasped because it is a painful activity !

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