From YWAMKnowledgeBase


There are different ways of keeping accurate up-to-date records of financial activity and the way each team chooses should be in line with acceptable practice in its country.

Kevin probably has some material and links to go here.

Bookkeeping software is usually customised for each country as the tax laws and reporting laws are different. Some big brands dominate and have excellent products. There are some opensource products available. I have not looked into them and they may be weaker when it comes to tailoring it for a specific country (e.g. it may work for the USA but not for Belgium)
We have recently had great success in Belgium with Exactonline. Exact has a good pedigree in accounting software. We were some of the first onboard using their online service. It is excellent. The cost is low, the data is secured safely and backed up in their data centre, which removes a burden from us. The biggest benefit is that it is multi-user out of the box! Work can be done in any PC connected to the internet. This means we can spread the workload of bookkeeping to different team leaders as well as specialist bookkeepers. This means there are no bottle necks or hold ups. I recommend this approach to all YWAM centres! --Kev-The-Hasty 13:42, 16 February 2012 (CET)

Some reflections from Correspondence

> Hey Kevin

> thanks for the quick reply. Well basically i was looking for some easy ways to learn and do bookkeeping. As we just "lost" our only trained financial person, i am now seriously having to learn how to do bookkeeping and stick to it. Also i am trying several different ones and so far it has all been too complicated for me to really take it into serious consideration as it all takes a lot of time, and i dont have that... Basically that is where it all falls down. i need something that is useful and easy to do, simply an excel sheet doesnt do it anymore, so i was looking through the KB to find something that is when i came across this entry... Well basically i am desperate to find something that is cheap and easy to use... otherwise we would have to invest into the accountig software all the german bases use, though pricey and complicated... so i would appreciate something easy...

> anyhow, if you have anything on using funds, budgeting, bookkeeping... i would really appreciate it

> blessings,

> Biggi

Dear Biggi,

Poor you.

I'm afraid the best advice is to buy a simple book on bookkeeping as it is best to get good advice. My advice is bad as I have a limited grasp - essentially enough knowledge to get myself into messes! Really this is where National guidance is best.

That said we did get a good bookkeeping program and that helped a lot - we used an online one (Exact-Online - It really is excellent. Not for the German market, but there will be something suitable for you too. The key advantage is that you can do your accounts from a browser - anywhere! This means that you do not have one dedicated computer and that multiple staff can enter data simultaneously. Long term this is more expensive than a stand alone system but has a number of advantages.

You also can give access to some proper bookkeepers elsewhere in YWAM Germany and they can remotely help you.

Anyway - they may or may not like this solution - you need to talk to them. Perhaps their accounting package also now has an online version (data compatible). If so get that...!


  • Try to learn about double entry bookkeeping.
  • Get an initial grip on VAT.
  • Understand debtors and creditors accounts and the difference between profit and loss accounts
  • Learn how to use Journals to move value between one fund and another fund without having to move money physically about
  • Learn about cost centers/units so you can set up multiple funds in a single bank account... but be aware that it may actually be simpler to have lots of accounts - one for each project - this makes overdrawing money harder and hence harder to make losses.
  • Try to get a system that allows each team member can see what the balance of their project (e.g. DTS, outreach team, kitchen!) so they can manage the funds they have (or don't have)
  • Set limits for accountability - how much can someone sign for.
  • Learn as much as you can - it will prevent much pain and frustration later. BUT don't be the only expert - that will mean you are locked into a role you hate!!!
  • Train all the others and make them as responsible as possible. Allow no-one to remain ignorant of their responsibility to use finance well.
  • Teach budgeting and make sure each team/project presents a budget each year. Try to teach them the basics of a spreadsheet as they will present it to you on the back of an envelope otherwise (this can be preferred to a poor and buggy spreadsheet though so be aware!) Alternatively give them a budget spreadsheet template to start from... Be strict with them - they must be responsible for planning finance. It needs as much prayer as anything else. A budget is a financial plan for obeying God's voice!

Hope this helps!

On the KB start here: Managing Money to find most of the best links.