Jane's Tips for Financial Record Keeping (Canadian)

Jane Maddin
1st Orleans Pathfinders
Orleans, Ontario, Canada

The spreadsheets are simple to use.

The trick (from my point of view - and the treasurer here told me that I was the best of everyone) is to check up on your work at the bottom of each page.

Can we agree on columns and rows? Columns are vertical and have headings that run along the top of the page. Rows are horizontal and the spaces for you to write your details in, date, cheque number etc are in the first two or three columns on the left hand side of the page.

When you are done each month - (I'm going to assume that you can figure out that one side of the spreadsheet is for the money coming in, and the other side is for the money going out!) use your ruler and draw a line under the last entry you have for that month. (In my unit in Calgary, we got a bank statement on the 10th of the following month, and I would do my books on the 10th after the mail came so that I could add in the interest that we had earned on the previous month. On your bank statement, or in your bank book, also draw a line under the last entry for the month in question. You want to keep your months separated, so that you can isolate a mistake really easily!!

On the back of the spreadsheet there is a spot for writing down anything that does not appear on that month's statement (reconciliation!). Write down any outstanding cheques. There really shouldn't be any outstanding deposits, but if there are, write them down too. Then take your balance forward, add or subtract as required and check to make sure that this total matches what your total on your bank statement. (You add your outstanding cheques and subtract your outstanding deposits).

Back on the front. You have a column for the cheques you have written. Add them all up - these are your withdrawals. Then you have a column for your deposits. Add them up. Go up to your balance forward. Add the deposits, and subtract your withdrawals. Does this total equal your running total which is the next column? If not, go back, check to make sure that all the numbers are correct! (Ever write down 56.72 instead of 56.27?) Check your adding and subtraction. Check your running total. Perhaps you subtracted something wrong.

You need to catch mistakes like this right at the time, otherwise your report will never balance (unless by some coincidence you make the opposite mistake somewhere else - which is really unlikely!!)

Then add all the columns for membership, calendars, cookies etc. Add all the columns on one side of the sheet and compare it to the total for the deposits. They need to match.

Then add all the columns on the other side of the sheet and compare them to the withdrawals total. Does this match?

Highlight the line with all these totals. Use the same colour to highlight the bottom line of each month as you go. Once you have completed a month you will never have to add those totals again, or hunt for an error in there, because you have checked them and they balance.

At the bottom of the sheet, there is a row to add the totals for that page.

Because there are three spots for bank statement reconciliation on the back, I just do three months per page. When I have the three months done on my first page. I add all my highlighted totals and write them into the appropriate spots at the bottom of the page. I total my deposits, my withdrawals (all by month, since I know that each month is correct!) and place those totals on the bottom line too. Then I go to the top of the page, take my balance forward, add my deposits, subtract my withdrawals and make sure that my running total is correct. I add up all the totals from along the bottom and make sure they add up to my withdrawals on one side of the page, and then make sure that the other side of the page is added up and correct too. Then I highlight that row in a different colour!

On the second page, I write in all these totals in either the second line from the bottom, or the third line from the bottom and I use the original colour to highlight that row. I know those totals are correct, because everything has balanced.

When I am done using the second page, write in all my totals either above or below the totals from page one - which I have written page one beside! Then I add Page ones totals and page twos totals together, after I know that page two balances, of course. This gives me a running total for the year, which I check to be sure it balances, I highlight it with the second colour and transfer it to page three.


I continue doing this until the year is over, or until I have to make a report.


Know what? Your report is ready. Transfer the totals from the bottom of each page into the appropriate column, being sure not to mix up your deposits and withdrawals! and use the original balance forward from the top of page one.

Barring addition or subtraction errors, bingo, the totals match and the district treasurer is sooooo happy with you!!

If the totals don't match, you don't need to subtract and add everything, just check your figures against your bottom line on your last page, and then add and subtract again.