Bookkeeping for Clubs
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Answered By AOPA
Any small (5<) members using accounting software for non-profit entities to track expenses and save money from dues and hourly flight charges for Annual inspections, insurance, hangar rent, engine/prop overhauls, upgrades, contingencies?
4 Replies
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AOPA Staff Answer
Hi Bruce: Steve Bateman here - AOPA Flying Clubs Director.  In my club, we use custom spreadsheets to track things, but we are considering other options. I know some clubs use scheduling tools that interface into other tools, such as Quickbooks.  This is one of our projects for this year - to better understand the tools and flows for club finances.  Feel free to call for a chat: 301 695 2356
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Ultimately I learned enough about "double entry" bookkeeping to use Excel for our aerobatic airplane LLC, which has a small membership and a limited number of transactions.  The Chart of Accounts helps me keep straight on how transactions are entered as credits and debits into accounts/funds .  Pivot Tables enable me to catch mistakes and run analyses, know how much we spend and how much we're saving in funds for future expenses like the next Annual, next year's insurance, overhauls of the engine and prop.  I tried using accounting software for "non-profits", but decided our small group didn't need that much capability (and we didn't want to spend the money on a subscription). 
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42 Posts
I am retired Accountant.  I own my own plane now, but have flown in several clubs over the years and always been relegated to become the accountant.  It is not a difficult job, but you will find that although nobody wants to do the accounting in the club, everybody wants to be sure that it is correct.  A program like Quickbooks makes it easy, but most clubs have some specific rules as to priorities  as to who gets the plane - example: person with least rentals gets the plane 1st; person with most rentals is bottom of priority list.  Such lists are best kept on a spreadsheet - Excel or other.  I always established a "sinking fund" for repairs for each plane - so when that overhaul comes along, there is no special assessment needed.  
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Steve,

Thanks for the reply.  I was using Excel in the LLC in which I first served as managing member and treasurer.  Once we got rolling, it worked well.  I'm now in a new LLC and have had a lot of problems with the start up expense accounts.  I'm in a free trial of Aplos software, which is for non-profits.  One of the problems I've had is that I'm neither a bookkeeper nor an accountant.  I have experience in engineering and applied math, and accountancy uses math in very contrary ways.  I'll try to call you on Monday.