UK Advice on accounting software for unusual situation

May 29, 2019
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United Kingdom
I have been Treasurer, doing the accounts, for a national cycling club (600 members) for 20 years using a custom spreadsheet designed by a chartered acccountant chum who is used to accounting for billion pound companies. After 20 years, I need to stop and hand it over. One guy tried to take over and utterly failed. Now the Treasurer post is vacant, and I need to have something that can be handed over. We need to migrate this to an accounting package, as it is unrealistic we can find someone other than me to operate in excel. I am very proficient in excel, and so do things very fast and efficiently. But it is unlikely we can find anyone else with the proficiency to do double entry accounting in excel. I'm not an accountant and have no familiarity at all with how accounting packages work, all I know is the excel which after 20 years I know inside out. Similarly my billion-pound corporation chum knows nothing about this end of accounting packages. Since probably I will have to start it off, in order to have something to show to a potential successor, what I need has to be sufficiently sophisticated I can still do the accounts quickly while I have to, but it can also be done in a simple way.

Our situation is very non-standard.

- We are a Company Limited by Guarantee, and therefore, as I understand it (please correct if I am wrong) we need to do accruals method accounting, double entry, balance sheet, etc. (Incorporation was for protection of officials from potentially large liabilities - bicycles ride on roads, cyclists have accidents, etc, affordable insurance does not cover every situation.) I have always done it accruals method, and understand it perfectly. What I don't understand is what simplifications would be legal.
- Our creditor/debtor numbers are often large in comparison to our income, and vary considerably from year to year, and so cash accounting would give very volatile results.
- Our turnover is only around £15,000. It is unlikely we can afford to pay someone to do this.
- We have no employees, no premises, we do not need to write invoices or pay people. Our main financial activities relate to publishing a magazine, organising a few hotel-centred events, and sale of club mechandise through a website (500-1000 transactions pa).
- We pay no tax. As a registered Community Amateur Sports Club, we are exempt from Corporation Tax, and we are well below the VAT threshhold.
- Similarly we are not audited.
- Our reserves are mainly held in Gilts (much the best interest rate I can find for a small corporate). I currently straight-line depreciate the purchase premium, but anything like this would scare the pants off most people.
- I need to be able to bulk load bank statements into this package. I can pre-process them into the correct format, but I'm not typing every single number manually into some dialogue (as I saw in some free program for clubs I was show to assess). Apart from manual entry being a very error-ridden process, it is ridiculous when I have all the data already in electronic form downloaded from the banks/card transaction provider. This is the deal breaker point. But it is very hard for me to find out in advance if I can do this in some package or other. I have absolutely no idea what is normal in such packages.

Does anyone have any advice? Many thanks.



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Jan 6, 2013
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