Billing — Are You Following Your Money to the Bank?
As you read this article you might think “this is common sense.” However, there could be things that you think are happening, that aren’t. I am specifically talking about tracking your money all the way to the bank. Every time a billing transaction is made in your club, there should be a check and balance to make sure the transaction was made accurately and that the funds were deposited into your bank.
POS transactions (merchandise, products, services, etc), monthly billing, online portal purchases and payments are all happening in your club daily. All of the transactions made — regardless of their type — should be reconciled and followed to the bank. So how do you do that easily?
Point of Sale (POS) Transactions: Let’s start with POS. Hopefully, you are using an integrated POS that allows you to easily sell items, and to also reconcile the revenue associated with those sales. Your sales buttons or saleable items should be setup with the amount charged to the purchased, tax percentage, G/L number if applicable, inventory settings and any restrictions on its use (sale to member only or not discountable, as examples).
If you don’t have those settings in place, it is easy for people to circumvent your policies. Once you have your “buttons” in place, you need to make sure you have control of who can use it — including restrictions on things such as refunds and discounting.
With that said, your system should have a record of the date and time of each sale along with the information on the product. Minimally, at the end of each day, you should be settling your credit cards (if your system does not do it automatically), counting the drawer and closing out the shift(s). Doing this should “reset” your POS for the next shift or day and provide you with a list of the transactions and amount of money for each payment method.
Now, the other important part is reviewing and scrutinizing the transactions. Most POS systems will print a detailed report of all the shifts (usually separated by register location and/or rep and date), which should be reviewed closely to make sure there are no “inappropriate” transactions. Things like voids, refunds, discounts and price changes should be noticeable and addressed.
Once you finalize the transactions and count all the money, you should then be able to see the funds deposited into your account. Login to your merchant account online where you can see the information about the batches (funds are often deposited the next day, depending on when they were settled the day prior, and depending on the merchant processor). This, along with your deposit slips for cash and checks, should make it easy to recognize the funds for that day. It is good practice to have more than one person doing the reconciliation or separating the duties. But someone has to be watching in the first place to ever discover a problem or discrepancy.
Monthly Billing: Next let’s talk about monthly billing. This one is easy. When your club management software or billing provider gives you the billing totals, you should very easily see the funds deposited into your account. Look at the amount you submitted, plus any returns. Check with your billing provider for the schedule of funds availability. In many cases, your accounts are funded on your bill date, if not the next business day. If you aren’t sure how to reconcile, call your provider. Someone should be able to explain reports and help you with the reconciliation.
Ecommerce: Lastly, ecommerce. These are transactions made on the internet, such as online joins, member or non-member purchases, balance payments, etc.
The majority of transactions made through an ecommerce account are credit cards. Ecommerce transactions are tracked very similar to your POS, and many club management software systems have a report that separates these transactions from the rest of your POS. All the information about the transaction, including payment method, date, time and items purchased should be available through reports. Ecommerce systems are generally set to auto settle, so the funds are already on their way to the bank — all you have to do is check your reports for the totals and then make sure you see the batch deposit.
Regardless of the origin of the transactions, every penny should be followed to the bank. Be sure to reconcile as often as you can, but minimally once a month. You don’t need to have an accounting degree to do this; just good systems.
Susanne Nauseda has an exercise science degree that she put to use in the industry for 10 years prior to joining Twin Oaks Software, where she has worked for the last 17 years. Contact her at 860.829.6000 x 269 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.