Re: Expense reimbursement
From: Kelly Bachman (
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2021 11:05:39 -0700 (PDT)
At Bellingham Cohousing, our systems may seem complex but we don't do it
because it's required by auditors.  We have not had an audit since 2010.
Our community members felt that an audit was expensive and provided little
useful information.  What they want to know is that our systems are
designed to *prevent and detect fraud*.  We have a lot of money in reserves
and people want to know that it will still be there when needed. Of course
they trust the treasurer and the finance committee but stuff happens.
Fraud is usually done by people who are trusted.   Computers can be stolen
and hacked.

Instead of an audit by an independent accountant, we have an annual *internal
audit* that specifically addresses internal controls to prevent and detect
fraud and is performed by community members.  We have our internal audit
reviewed by an independent accountant for process and results and they
provide us with recommendations to improve internal controls or improve the
process of the internal audit.  This only costs a couple of hours of
consulting time.  One internal control principle is segregation of duties.
So the person who writes checks for reimbursement does not make deposits or
do the dues billing.  This is not the simplest way to do it but it serves
our purpose and also spreads the treasurer duties out so it is not as much
work for one person.

Bellingham Cohousing

On Tue, Sep 14, 2021 at 6:56 AM Susan Rohrbach via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> At Sonora Cohousing our system is much less complicated than some that
> have been described. We have 2 debit cards and those who use it bring
> receipts to treasurer to be recorded in accounting system. We have even
> arranged with feed store that they automatically charge the debit card for
> repeat purchases of chicken feed so team member does not need to show the
> card when picking up supplies. For most other purchases people submit
> itemized receipts and get credit toward their monthly dues. We rarely issue
> checks to homeowners with this system and there is no complicated
> paperwork. Suppliers who invoice us are paid through our banks bill pay
> service. Team leaders let treasurer know if there are particularly large
> expenditures that team has approved. So far it has worked but we have not
> been audited so perhaps we are naive.
> Susan RohrbachSonora cohousingTucson AZ
> Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
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