How should I setup accounts for a small non-profit with monthly membership dues?


I am attempting to create books for a small non-profit where we have a member base who pay a monthly membership due.

I have thought about creating an accounts receivable for each member that would invoice them each month. The dues are to be paid on the 15th of each month for the next month starting on the first (so roughly 15 days before the month they are for). Some members use a PAD (pre-authorized deposit) which is automatically withdrawn on that day. Some members also have extra money on those PADs for a donation.

Is there a better way to handle these dues and donations? We can't afford a bookkeeper or accountant but need a way to keep books for auditing purposes.

Thanks for any advice you are willing to offer.


Does anyone know of accounting software (open source preferably) that has a web interface to bring up reports for the membership at large? Even something that has a personal balance for each member saying whether they have outstanding dues or not.

Accounting Bookkeeping Small Business

asked Jul 31 '13 at 01:19
13 points
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about startups. Maybe try a different site that deals with accounting queries. – Steve Jones 7 years ago
  • I came here by referral from another Stack Exchange because they thought it should go here. I agree, it isn't really a startup anymore, but where we are with accounting, it is very much like one. – Ahhchuu 7 years ago

1 Answer


In my experience, once you have the account ledger structure set up (ie. how to split up income/expense/tracking accounts, and understand where to put what activities), then tracking the money itself is straightforward. Maybe you can ask around for a local accountant who'd be willing to help you set up a basic structure for free (given its a non-profit)?

When it comes down to tracking the money/balances etc. this is as simple or as complex as you want to make it. You can track things in Excel or some free accounting software like quite simply.

answered Jul 31 '13 at 01:25
310 points
  • I started setting everything up in GnuCash. I will probably have to dig out my old accounting textbooks. Does the accounts receivable thing make sense? – Ahhchuu 7 years ago
  • yes - normally you'd create a 'accounts receivable (subscriptions)' account. Then on the 15th of every month, post a transaction from your 'sales' account to your 'receivable' account for each subscriber. As you receive their payments, enter another journal to reverse the receivable account and move the amount to your 'cash at bank' account. I'd still suggest you get a friendly accountant to set up the basic structure for you though. – Steve 7 years ago
  • Thanks @steve. I do not even know where to look for an accountant that would be willing but I will put some feelers out. – Ahhchuu 7 years ago
  • well, you're eventually going to need an accountant to audit you anyway, so you might as well ask them to help with the initial setup too. In fact, they will prefer it if they can set up the structure for you, as it'll be simpler for them to understand come audit time. – Steve 7 years ago

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