Beancounting

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What is "Beancounting"?

Beancounting is a job that needs to be after a cash till is pulled from the front desk or thrift store. The staff member counts the money from till, transfers it into the safe, and makes the till ready for the next shift.

Where

Beancounting should be done in the Escape Hatch where the Bookkeeping supplies and the safe currently live.

The Till

Each till contains:

It might also contain:

  • Reimbursement slips with proof of purchase receipts attached
  • Mileage reimbursement slips (signed with explanations)
  • Miscellaneous money receipts
  • Notes about data entry errors that should be corrected in the database
  • Copies of receipts for clients to be invoiced

Organizing the Tills

  • There are 3 sets of tills
  • Open the door on the safe that's the 2nd from the bottom.
  • You should find 2 fresh tills that are ready to take to the Front Desk and the Thrift Store.
  • Now open the bottom door of the safe.
  • Find the 2 fresh tills from the bottom and move them up to the other door's shelf.
  • Lock up the 2nd to the bottom door with the fresh tills inside.
  • You should have 2 "used" tills from the previous business day left in the bottom shelf. It's OK to leave this bottom door unlocked while you're counting.
  • Unlock the door on the safe that's the 3rd from the bottom. It's also OK to leave this unlocked while you're counting.
  • If you take a break (even a short one) while counting, put away the cash and make sure all doors to the safe are locked.

The Job

Get Ready

  1. Get the uncounted tills and the cash box from the safe.
  2. Start an e-mail addressed to beancounters@lists.freegeek.org. (Subject is "Till Report [date]")
  3. Pull up the income report for the day in question.
  4. Start with the Thrift Store till, then resume here with the Front Desk till. This will eliminate duplication of the data entry of checks.
  5. Pull up a copy of the till worksheet to help you count and record stuff.
    • Make sure to fill in the date, FD or TS, and your name at the bottom.
    • When starting the FD till, clear our entries from the TS till.
    • Credit/Debit total is the total from the credit card machine report.

Count the Checks & Credit Cards

  1. Review the checks.
    • Each one should say FD (Front Desk) or TS (Thrift Store) and a transaction number. If TS/FD is missing write it in.
    • If the transaction number is missing, look it up on the database, then write it on the check.
    • Confirm that each check is stamped on the back with the endorsment stamp. If not, stamp it using the endorsement stamp from the Bookkeeping Toolkit.
    • If any of the above 3 errors occurred, make a note in your e-mail to beancounters.
    • Put the checks in numerical order by transaction number
    • On the Till Worksheet screen, record the amount of the check under "Chk Amt", and the transaction number under "Description" (no need to include the FD or TS).
    • After all of the checks are entered on the Till Worksheet, find the total and compare this to the Income Report of the database.
    • If it doesn't match, look for errors in the check transactions in the database.
  2. Review the Credit Card slips
    • Make sure each one has a transaction number on it. If not, use the database to find it, then write it on the slip.
    • Make sure they're all signed.
    • If either of the above 2 errors occurred, make a note in your e-mail.
    • Put the credit card slips in numerical order by transaction number.
    • Make sure you have a credit card report and that the number of transactions on the report matches the number of signed copies.
    • From the credit card report, copy "TOTAL NET" to the Till Worksheet's "Credit/Debit" cell.
    • Make sure the total from the credit card report matches the credit card total from the Income Report.
    • If it doesn't match, look for errors in the credit card transactions in the database.

Count the Money

Verify that the cashier who last used the till filled out the end of shift form correctly. Also verify that the starting cash was counted and signed off.

  1. Start by flipping up all of the billholders of the cash drawer.
  2. "Face" the bills and the checks. (All bills/checks face up, same orientation. Makes it easier to find misplaced items.)
  3. Count the bills and coins and record them on the till worksheet of your computer screen.
    • Record using the number of items, not the value of the cash. (e.g. If you have 13 quarters, record "13", not "$3.25").
    • As you count bills, leave the standard till amount (see Standard Cash Drawer) in the drawer and flip the billholder down so you'll know that denomination is done.
    • If you can't leave the standard till amount, leave the billholder up as a reminder to add cash later.
    • Put excess bills and coins aside, but don't mix cash from one drawer with the other.
  4. After counting all bills and coins, compare your numbers on the screen to the Till Worksheet printed by the cashier.
    • If you don't have a printed Till Worksheet, use the End of Shift paperwork.
    • Check off each number that matches on the paperwork.
    • If your count doesn't match what the paperwork says, double check your work.
    • If it still doesn't match, make a note of the discrepancy in your e-mail.

Other Paperwork

Look for any other paperwork in the till related to the following:

  • Money receipts -- These are standard receipts from the office supply store and are used for miscellaneous sales or donations that aren't covered by the standard receipt.
  • Reimbursement records -- for when money goes out of the till to buy something for Free Geek
  • Unpaid IOUs -- For when someone borrows money from a till (typically to buy something for Free Geek) and hasn't paid it back at the end of the day. (IOUs that are paid up at the end of the day can be discarded. If someone borrowed money to buy something though, there should be a reimbursement record.)

(These forms are available on Dead trees.)

Enter these on the Till Worksheet of your computer screen with notes to describe the purpose of the expense and explain anything unusual.

Verify Paperwork

  • Look up "Total Real" from the Income Report screen of your computer and enter it onto the Till Worksheet screen.
  • Now make a final comparison of your Till Worksheet screen to the printed Till Worksheet.
  • If there is any discrepancy, print a copy of the Till Worksheet from the screen and include it with the other till paperwork. See the Discrepancies section below.
  • If there are NO discrepancies at all, write Verified on the printed paperwork and your initials.

If you've just finished the Thrift Store till, put the Thrift Store paperwork together with that cash drawer and set it aside. Go back to the "Get Ready" section above to do the Front Desk till. If you've just finished the Front Desk till, continue below.

  • After finishing both tills, gather the two printed income reports.
  • Using the printed time stamps at the bottom of each report, choose the later Income Report (recycle the earlier one to avoid confusion).
  • Compare this printed report to the Income Report on your screen.
  • If everything matches exactly, write verified and your initials on the printout.
  • If anything is different, print the screen version of the Income Report and put it in front of the cashier's report

Discrepancies

Some discrepancies can easily be worked out (e.g. cash is $20 over, but credit card is $20 under) by adjusting our database. Make these adjustments from "data" under Sales or Donations.

Other problems may take more investigation, consulting with cashiers/beancounters, etc. Work out what you can and make notes about your attempts to solve problems in your e-mail to beancounters.

Prep Tills and Gather Checks / Excess Money

The idea here is to gather items for the deposit while leaving behind a standard till for future use.

  1. Now that you've reconciled any discrepancies, you can combine the checks and excess money from both tills.
  2. Gather all of the checks, 100s, 50s and 20s.
  3. Gather all of the excess 10s, 5s and 1s.
  4. Check the drawers for open billholders (places you know you need to add cash). Where appropriate, add to these places using the excess cash.
  5. If there are spots in the drawers you can't fill with the excess bills, buy change from the cash box.
  6. Don't take bills out of the cash box without replacing bills of equal value.
  7. When possible, use 10s, 5s, and 1s to buy change. (e.g. to buy 5s, use 1s, not a $20 bill)
  8. Excess coins go straight into the cash box (no need to take anything out of the cash box).
  9. If you need coins, take them straight from the cash box (no need to put anything into the cash box).
  10. Get 2 fresh End of Shift reports from the Bookkeeping Toolbox, and fill in your name, today's date, and appropriate money amounts.
  11. Don't forget to enter the appropriate starting total amount ($100 for Donor Desk; $250 for Thrift Store).
  12. Do this for both tills.
  13. Fold the sheets and put them in the left-most bill holding spot in the cash drawer.
  14. Open the bottom door of the safe and put one of the prepped tills on the lower shelf, and the other prepped till on the upper shelf. Lock up the bottom door.

Cash Box

When making change, we try to keep the number of bills in the cash box as shown below. However, it's OK to change these amounts in order to create standard tills. These are the ideal amounts of cash denominations that we keep in the cash box:

Ten dollar bills:  50 ($500.00)
Five dollar bills: 20 ($100.00)
One dollar bills:  50 ( $50.00)
------------------------------------
TOTAL:                ($650.00)

There are also will also be a varying supply of coins. Once in a while we get too much change and will deposit some of it. What we call "too much" change varies with needs, mostly in the thrift store. Currently, it is best to keep no more than a rolls worth of each kind of coin in the loose change, and at least one roll each of nickels and dimes, and 4 rolls of quarters.

Till Paperwork

Putting the paperwork in consistent order makes it much easier to track issues later. Bookkeeping will appreciate your efforts.

Do this for both Thrift Store and Front Desk tills:

  • First gather all of the credit card slips. Place the credit card report on top of the slips.
  • Put the bundle of slips in an envelope, labelled by date of the tills, and put it in the box which is currently in the bottom of the locking filing cabinet.
  • 3-hole punch the 8.5 x 11 sheets.
  • Now gather any other slips from the cash drawer (e.g. reimbursement, etc).
  • Put the End of Shift report on top of these slips so the slips are in the upper right corner of the report.
  • Put the Till Worksheet by the cashier on top of the End of Shift report.
  • Put the Till Worksheet by the beancounter (if any) on top of the one by the cashier
  • Staple this pile in the upper-right corner making sure to go through all papers.

Now you're ready to assemble all of the paperwork for the binder.

  • 3-hole punch the Income Report.
  • Find the stapled Thrift Store till paperwork.
  • Put the stapled Front Desk till paperwork on top of the Thrift Store paperwork.
  • Place the Income Report on top of the Front Desk paperwork.
  • Paper clip all of these together at the top of the sheets.
  • Put the whole paper-clipped pile into the "TO BE ENTERED INTO BOOKS" tray.

Deposit

  • Gather the checks and excess cash that resulted from counting and prepping the tills.
  • Look near the Bookkeeping Toolbox for a container of deposit bags and manila envelopes.
  • When possible, use the deposit bags from the bank before using the envelopes.
  • Photocopy the front side of the checks to be deposited. Shrink the copy when possible to fit more onto a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet (letter sized).
  • Open a new worksheet and copy and paste the checks from the Front Desk worksheet into it (or erase the extra numbers in the Front Desk worksheet).
  • Check the "Bills for change" envelope and use the bills you have to make it as close as possible to the standard (see Cash Box above)
  • Count and recount each denomination of cash and enter them on the spreadsheet.
  • Print the Till Worksheet, then staple the copy of the checks to the back of the printout.
  • 3-hole punch the deposit paperwork.
  • 3-fold this paperwork with the date of the Till Worksheet showing.
  • Put the paperwork, cash and checks into the deposit bag or envelope.
  • Put the bag/envelope into the same drawer of the safe as the cash box.
  • Make sure it's in date order with any other deposits already in the drawer. Recent deposits should be behind any deposits already there.
  • Lock up the door to the cash box & deposits.

Huzzah!!! You're done!

Special deposits

Once a week or so, there should be a deposit made of checks that did not go through the tills and any extra change. These are set up the same way as regular deposits, but are labelled "special deposit" at the top. They go to a different bank (Capital Pacific) as opposed to the other deposits (First Tech).

Special Tills

Every so often a special till is created to use at an event. The cash used for these tills usually comes out of the Bills for Change and will need to be made up, either out of the regular deposits, or out of the special till when it comes back. The main difference in beancounting for the special till is that none of it is in the database, and none of it is credit cards, so the main thing is to verify the amount, and make sure cash out is properly tracked.

See Also