Re: Expense reimbursement
From: Kelly Bachman (
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2021 13:13:32 -0700 (PDT)
Yes we do our own accounting. It sounds like less work than what you are
doing now to check the work of an external bookkeeper. I think we are
better able to meet the needs of our community than an outside
bookkeeper-timely, accurate, useful information and analysis. We can tailor
the way we keep the information (categories, sub-categories, memo fields in
QuickBooks) to make financial information more understandable and useful
while providing everything a future auditor would need. It helps that we
have a retired CPA as our treasurer but our first treasurer was a math
professor who caught on quickly.

Kelly Bachman
Bellingham Cohousing

On Tue, Sep 14, 2021 at 12:10 PM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> > On Sep 14, 2021, at 2:04 PM, Kelly Bachman <happyvalleykelly [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > 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.
> So you do all your accounting in house?
> We still use a management company to handle the finances but it seems that
> we already do all the work of managing forms and receipts and then spend
> time reviewing and correcting their accounting and figuring out why the
> utilities haven’t been paid.
> So we have team budget people who review expenditures, a community
> treasurer who reviews them, an admin team that reviews, several members who
> by personality review everything, and then we have an audit.
> This is almost $20,000 a year of overhead including the cost of the audit.
> Personally, I’ve yet to see an advantage but it seems to make some people
> feel more professional. It’s possible the auditor has found some
> corrections of which I’m unaware but I am very aware of bills not being
> paid, bank accounts transferred without transferring the debit cards,
> accounting of reimbursements to the wrong accounts, etc. With all the
> online services now, which they use too, it doesn’t seem like that much
> work. It adds a layer of communications energy as well as cost.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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