Bookkeeping on outreach

The financial record sheet
To begin, refer to the financial record sheetOn it you will find columns for recording your expenditures as well as beginning transactions and exchange rates. Each time you spend any amount of money, no matter how small, make an entry that includes the following:
  • Date
  • Description of the item/service paid for
  • The amount of money spent, entered in the appropriate columns
  • The adjusted running balance
Always get a receipt
File receipts in an envelope. If it is not possible to get a receipt, make your own with date, description, and amount spent.

When you exchange U.S. dollars to foreign currencies:
  • Enter the date.
  • Note in the description that an exchange took place.
  • Enter the starting transaction amount.
  • Record the exchange rate.
  • Record the amount of foreign currency received and also transfer that amount to the appropriate ledger page for that currency.
  • Adjust the running balance.
Start a new ledger page for each currency
For example, your initial exchange from U.S. dollars to foreign currency would be recorded like this:
  • U.S. dollars will appear in the currency space for all stateside funds up to your first exchange of money into foreign currency.
  • When you make your first exchange, record the initial transaction on your U.S. dollars record sheet.
  • Record the date.
  • Describe the transaction as currency exchange.
  • Record the transaction amount (the U.S. dollars amount that you are exchanging for foreign currency).
  • Record the exchange rate (how much of this foreign currency you will be getting for each U.S. dollar you exchange). For example, in Mexico you might get a 10:1 exchange, or 10 pesos for each U.S. dollar.
  • Finally, record the amount of the new currency received for your total exchange. For example, if you exchanged $1,000 U.S. into pesos at 10:1, you would receive 10,000 pesos.
  • Transfer the amount of foreign currency received from the U.S. dollars page to the running balance column at the top of a new record sheet marked by the currency you are now using. For example, in Mexico you would now record pesos in the currency space provided in the top left corner.
  • Record all expenses using that new currency on the corresponding page(s).
  • Create a new ledger sheet for each foreign currency.
  • Do NOT exchange foreign currency for foreign currency. Exchange leftover funds back to U.S. dollars at the airport before leaving the country.
  • Always go back to your U.S. dollars record sheet for a new exchange to a new currency.
Overview of expenditure categories
You will notice four basic categories listed in your budget. These are broad categories, so use your discretion as to where you record expenses.
  • Food costs: include kitchen supplies, gas for cooking, drinking water, etc.
  • Lodging
  • Travel
  • Miscellaneous: expenses that do not fit into the categories of food, lodging, or travel, e.g., any gifts or honorariums you give your hosts, or major projects you do. Be sure to describe all expenses in this column so you can sort them out upon your return as needed.
Some final thoughts
Bookkeeping is not always an easy task, especially when you face numerous exchange rates and lots of small expenditures along the way. However, it will honor your team and supporters if your financial record sheet amounts equal the actual amount of money the team spends.
  • Keep running balances on each type of currency and check often to be sure these amounts equal the money you have in your possession.
  • Record your expenses daily to avoid missing item entries and misplaced receipts.
  • Always carry a small notebook or piece of paper and a pen with your money, so that as soon as you spend any amount, you can immediately make note of it. Also remember to get a receipt if possible.
  • Take a small calculator with you to assist you in calculating exchange rates and running balances.
  • If using travelers checks or cash, keep them in various pieces of luggage rather than in one place in case someone attempts to steal them.
You will not regret taking the time and energy to be a good steward of the money that your team's partners have given for the building of God's kingdom.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:07 PM