Handling BetterInvesting (BI) Dues
Each year, BetterInvesting (BI) charges dues for the club, which we will call the 'Club Portion' plus dues for the member which we will call the 'Member Portion'. There is no single correct way to record these charges, but there are some WRONG ways, which we shall address.
Some clubs take the approach that these dues are part of being an investment club, and the club pays the charges out of operating funds, and allocates such expense in line with their ordinary method of allocation of administrative expenses, either proportionately by ownership units or equally. Clubs using this approach are not troubled by the problem of not being charged the member portion for all of their members.
If all club members are also members in BI, and they are all paying the same amount: If this is the case, record the money the members give to the club as a payment for which units are awarded. If you follow this procedure, you are free to allocate the personal portion either by ownership units or equally. What you should NEVER do is record the assessment as a fee, then allocate the personal portion equally. This has the effect of double-charging those with lesser units to the benefit of those with more units.
For clubs that have non BI members, members who are in more than one club, or other circumstances: There are two options. First, the club can have each member for whom there is a charge make out a check to BetterInvesting for the membership portion and send it to the treasurer. The treasurer then will prepare a check for BetterInvesting for the club portion, and send that check along with all the members' checks.
Alternately, the members could make out checks for their BetterInvesting Membership to the club, and the treasurer could send one large check for the club, and all the members. In that case, here's the best procedure to follow:
- Record the total amount of the checks received as a transfer from Suspense to Cash
- Make out a check to BI for the amount from step one
- Record that payment as two transactions.
- First, a regular expense for the flat renewal fee for the club itself.
- Second, enter a transfer from Cash to Suspense.
The transfers mentioned above should be documented with remarks. When this has been accomplished, the club ends up with only the club portion as an expense on their books, and the cash should balance. Affected members should be told to take the personal portion as a deduction on their individual tax returns.
Here's a summary of the above rules:
1. If the club plans to pay the whole charge,without member assessments, do so, and allocate the expense any way you want.
2. If you assess the members for the personal portion, record such assessment as a payment, never a fee.
3. If you are not being charged for all your members, and if your procedure is to assess those members for the personal portion, do not record such personal portion on the books. Either pass the members' checks made out to BI along to them without recording, or record them as transfers in the suspense account.