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See Also[edit]

  • Annual Report - some financial reports and stuff, color coordinated to look official-like.

Upgrading Our System[edit]

Here's the deal[edit]

There are three major components to a modern accounting system: payment processing, invoicing, and bookkeeping. Historically we have primarily used paypal for payment processing as well as direct Wells Fargo transfers, we have used quickbooks and then for bookkeeping, and we've had no real invoicing system. In the past year, Kelly implemented the use of xero's invoicing system for tracking dues and donations, but it is awful and we're looking to migrate off of it. We will need help with gluing all of these things together, and automating things in the new system, as well as with contacting people about new payment protocols. -- User:Hurtstotouchfire 22:08, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Action Items[edit]

Payment Processing[edit]

I'm planning to move forward with a non-paypal payment gateway option that will allow us to take credit card payments. This payment option should:

  1. Not require creation of an account to make a one-time payment
  2. Support recurring payments
  3. Integrate with freshbooks for invoice tracking (and support recurring payments there as well, which leaves a short list)
  4. If it also facilitates bank transfers that would be great. Currently these are not auto-repeating for most people, so that's not necessarily a required feature.

Current options include:

  • Some reseller for
  • Wells Fargo merchant services
    • 22:11, 25 March 2012 (UTC) Have spent over an hour on hold trying to contact these people. Finally just submitted a request online. Presumably they will call back at an inconvenient time. -User:Hurtstotouchfire
    • 08:00, 10 April 2012 (UTC) Never received any response. What a bizarre way of doing business.
    • 22:11, 25 March 2012 (UTC) Submitted a sales request online. -User:Hurtstotouchfire
    • got a call back and some email follow-ups
    • freshbooks "pay now" would go to our gateway, once payment is authorized the $$ site in a merchant account, after x number of days it gets transferred to our bank account
    • could make pay now be on the noisebridge website and go through beanstream even if we have a merchant account elsewhere (like, say, WF)
    • beanstream supports all banks. Period. Not sure how this is possible but they swear they do. Downside is that recurring automated payments are only supported via credit cards, not bank transfers.
  • Or maybe WePay? I liked them but I can't remember anymore how much of our payment gateway needs they cover. -- User:Hurtstotouchfire 03:38, 28 March 2012 (UTC)


  • Freshbooks will allow you to pay invoices on a one-time basis without creating an account (we think-- we should confirm this) or you can create an account and automate repeating payments.
  • 22:08, 25 March 2012 (UTC): We currently have 3 test members set up through freshbooks. Once these three members have successfully automated their repeating payments, we will roll out freshbooks to the whole membership.
    • User:Hurtstotouchfire - I pay via bank transfer. At present, it looks like this will always require manual reconciliation by the treasurer. If we implement beanstream for payment processing, this will possibly allow freshbooks to automate the reconciliation.
    • User:SuperQ - Ben pays via paypal. This could be automated as recurring if we pay paypal extra monies. At present, it requires one-time payments, but freshbooks should auto-reconcile.
    • User:flamsmark - Tom pays via satan's currency (cash) or credit card. The former will always require manual reconciliation and the latter will require a new payment gateway to automate -- either authorize or beanstream probably.


If we can find sufficiently usable invoicing and payment processing solutions, we may stick with xero for bookkeeping.

Accounting System Minimum Requirements[edit]

Following are the features that we need to keep track of our basic finances:

  • import and reconcile transactions (Xero is TERRIBLE at this) from
  • keep repeating invoices for membership dues & regular donors
  • some smart suggestions to reconcile incoming transactions with their matching invoices (xero is betarded at this. It searches only by amount, not by name and amount)
  • categories for flagging transactions as various types of expenses and income to make taxes easier
  • custom categories / tagging to track income/expenses for sub-projects (like the Noisebridge Tor project) separately from the general fund
  • some reasonably convenient way to output data (graphs and reports would be nice, but good clean csv files would do. I can matplotlib that shit.)
  • clear tracking of unpaid invoices
  • Reasonably forgiving and customizable rules system (i.e. xero has logical rules for automating reconciliation but won't let you create rules to reconcile against created invoices, only to create new transactions)
  • Reasonable batch edit UI (i.e. xero won't let you delete invoices once created, you can only void them, one at a time, and it's 4 clicks per void. Not A Feature.)
  • generate receipts easily
  • report generation for standard bookkeeping reports such as a balance sheet and profit & loss for reasonably custom date ranges.
  • web-based or linux-compatible local app. Some sort of remote data storage and ability to access from multiple machines is required. (Dropbox is an acceptable aid for this)

Bonus Features[edit]

These are in order of priority. Lacking any of these is not a deal breaker, but we really hope for the new system to include some of the higher-priority extras.

  • API
  • direct access to the full details of paypal or square transactions (i.e. notes to the payee, etc)
  • really smart algorithms for invoice reconciliation, alteration and deletion (i.e. delete invoices for this member during these dates or change the invoice amount on individual invoices without affecting repeating invoices)
  • an interface which isn't bleeding edge flash that trips up in Linux
  • automated email invoicing for recurring invoices

Options we've looked into[edit]



Payment processing[edit]

  • Dwolla
    • free micropayments and flat $0.25 per payment for payments >$10
    • requires SS# or Scanned ID of account administrator
    • "Cash" payment processing only, no credit cards (could facilitate bank transfers for non-WF customers?)
    • Has android app
    • subscription payments
    • $99 startup, $20 monthly fees +$10 for subscriptions, $0.10 transaction fee, $0.25 batch fee
    • service provided through resellers
  • CheddarGetter
    • Cash in general
  • iTransact
    • merchant account and gateway, etc. Fees.
  • Beanstream
    • online credit card payments
    • bank debits
  • PintPay
  • Mazooma - online service for bank account transfers.
    • can't find much info on creating a merchant account without actually signing up. Annoying FAQ.
    • accepts most big banks. Credit unions probably screwed.
  • MoneyBookers - online payments
    • Looks like a pretty direct paypal substitute
    • Supports recurring payments
    • In the USA, accepts visa, mastercard, and bank transfers
    • Good international support for payment systems
    • Fees include a flat $0.29 + 2.9%
      • There are additional fees for some transaction types. Very confusing fee structure.
    • Money laundering policy! - honestly these guys come off as corporate dicks. Anyone have positive things to say about them?
  • Flattr - micropayment system
    • Uses Moneybookers or PayPal to transfer funds.
    • 10% fee.
  • Google Checkout - online payment processing
    • Fee maximum: 2.9% + $0.30 (less if we have >$3K/mo transactions, but that's unlikely)
    • requires a google account
  • WePay