Wouldn’t it be great if we could accomplish everything voters want every year? Unfortunately we don’t have enough resources. But with just a little help, proper planning and thorough monitoring, we can accomplish more than we think. It’s time to dream again! ClerkBooks has been around since 2008, and all of our staff are former City Clerks, Treasurers or City Administrators. Over the years, we have learned a few things. Let our professional staff help you. ClerkBooks is more than software. We also offer the following services:
To get you up and running, ClerkBooks offers both remote and on-site set-up, configuration and training. A member of our support team will install the software, configure and streamline the system to be applicable for your city, and help you get comfortable with the system. We will make sure you know where and how to get started right away.
We will get your beginning Fund balances into the system. We help import your customer list, beginning customer balances, current meter readings, and set-up your utility rates. We set-up your employees and enter their year-to-date totals, so W2s will be a breeze. We help customize your utility bill invoices as well as your Council Reports. By the time we are done, we typically have 1-2 months of accounting in the system for you.
Beyond set-up and configuration, ClerkBooks offers several support and training options. We have created a user support site with over 12 hours of video training covering both QuickBooks and the ClerkBooks additions. The support site also includes a searchable online Knowledge Base where you can ask questions and get step-by-step directions. For person-to-person assistance, we have 10 and 20 hour discounted remote support packages available. Our support team can connect into your computer to see your screen and walk you through the answers you need. The minutes you purchase can be used in 5 minute increments and they never expire. Every complete package purchased also includes 10 hours of remote support to help you get started.
NEW! All City Councils are encouraged to watch two videos focused on understanding the financial in order to make informed decisions, catch mistakes and prevent fraud.
You are never alone with the ClerkBooks Municipal Accounting System. We are here to help you succeed!
- Verify that the previous period is still closed (preserving previous balances)
- Verify that all income and expenses are in the proper fund based on department used
- Verify that all balance sheet account balances are in their proper funds
- Spot-check and review transactions with staff that look out of place
- Run Closing Tools to finish GASB fund account balancing
- Set Closing Date in QuickBooks to protect closed accounting periods
- Backup data files to preserve historical data
- Place end-of-month reports in an accessible file for staff to review
- Reconcile Bank Statements
- Reconcile Accounts Receivable
- Reconcile Accounts Payable
- Reconcile Payroll Liabilities
- Reconcile Sales Tax Liability
Closing the end of the fiscal year is much more intense than closing each month. While all of the monthly Closing Tools need to be done as usual, the end of the fiscal year requires additional closing steps. For instance, you will need to pay extra attention to your balance sheet:
- Verify all Bank Accounts (even CDs, and Petty Cash) are all reconciled and all outstanding transactions are still valid
- Verify all A/R balances are accurate and collectible
- Verify all A/P balances are accurate and payable
- Verify all Payroll Liability balances are accurate and payable
- Verify all other Balance Sheet account balances are accurate
Many cities will also need to convert from “Modified Cash Basis” to “Pure Cash Basis”. This includes temporarily:
- Adjusting off unpaid A/R balances
- Adjusting off unpaid A/P balances
- Adjusting off unpaid Payroll liabilities
- Adjusting off Loan & Asset balances
Don’t forget to reverse these adjustments to get them back on the books as of the first day of the next fiscal year. Having an extra set of eyes review your financials, before giving the books to an auditor, can save you a lot of questions by the auditor. Many times we can see things that you don’t, just because we do this with so many other cities every year. We have a different point of view.
If you would like an extra set of eyes to help with the end-of-year process we would be glad to help. Give us a call, or send us an email right away so we can schedule your end-of-year review.
Filling out and filing your annual State reports can be a daunting task. Many times your reports are in lieu of an audit. This means they need to be as complete and accurate as an audit, without the help of an auditor. Some States have more than one annual report. In that case, you have to make sure that the multiple reports all communicate the same information. You also need to make sure they all balance with your QuickBooks file.
We are here to help. ClerkBooks can assist you in preparing your annual reports. We can help you move the information from QuickBooks to your annual reports. If you prefer to do the data transfer yourself, ClerkBooks can quickly review your reports before presenting them for approval. This ensures that your reports all match and they all balance with your books.
If you would like an extra set of eyes to help with your annual reports, we would be glad to help. Give us a call, or send us an email right away so we can schedule your appointment.
There is an art to creating budgets. The Council’s budget should be a representation of the goals and activities the Council wants to accomplish over the next 12 months. Simply copying last year’s budget (doing what we’ve always done and expecting different results) is the definition of insanity. This method of budgeting simply attempts to bail out the water with buckets from a sinking ship.
Every year you should re-evaluate which levies you have placed. Many times we can shift the levies from one to another, without raising the levy rates, and have a dramatic effect on our fund balances. Cities that struggle to make ends meet can be revitalized by just a few minor adjustments here and there.
Budgets should always be coupled with a short and long term Capital plan. This takes us away from a “patching holes and putting out fires” emergency management style. It puts the City back in control of their finances.
If you would like to get a new point of view with your budget, we would be glad to help. Give us a call, or send us an email right away so we can schedule your appointment.
Let’s be honest. Unless you have built a relationship with an auditor over the course of several years, nobody loves hanging out with their auditor. Audit time is usually fairly stressful. We build a relationship, and we build trust, with our City Council and the public every month when we report the financials. However, the auditor is coming from a neutral place. They are not supposed to inherently trust us.
It is the auditor’s job to find something. Their report back to the City is referred to as the “findings of the audit”. As they search through your records, they have to interpret your records from GASB’s standard point of view. That is why having a solid chart of accounts and using the chart of accounts properly is so important. If anything is entered in a non-traditional way, auditors ask questions. When you can answer those questions, they are happy. When you struggle to answer their questions, they write findings.
We are here to help. ClerkBooks works with auditors all the time. We speak their language. Sometimes it just takes a little interpretation to get the answers they need. Sometimes we can dig into the data much deeper than you can, just because we have an accountant’s version of QuickBooks.
If you have an audit coming up, we can help. We can help you prepare before the audit. We can help you answer questions during the audit. We can help you respond to findings after the audit.
Let us know as soon as you are notified about your upcoming audit. Then stay in touch with us during and after the audit. We truly want to help make your job easier!
The City Council, or Board, is responsible for safeguarding the City’s assets. To do so, they must often times make tough decisions considering the limited resources they have. They must strive to use these limited resources in the most efficient way possible; to meet as many needs and wants as they can.
The City’s staff is responsible for carrying out actions according to the Council’s decisions. In turn, they must provide timely and accurate information about those actions. This information can assist the Council in making the next set of tough decisions.
Part of safeguarding the City’s assets is to prevent fraud. The Council and the Staff must work together as a Team to prevent fraud. When mistakes are made, each part of the team is there to help correct the mistake. The Council and Staff should have each other’s back.
This two hour webinar will expand on these principals and give the Council and Staff a framework for building team work. This webinar is live and tailored specifically for each City. We will use real reports with up-to-date information from your City as examples.
Check out: https://wp.clerkbooks.com/user-support/webinars/ for more information or to schedule this webinar.
On a month by month basis, it is so easy to get tunnel vision. We tend to focus on “patching holes” and “putting out fires”. Often this means the more expensive projects never get done. When an “emergency” forces a Council to complete a large project they have to borrow more than Cities who have a Capital Improvements Plan. This leaves serious infrastructure and debt issues to the next generation.
Every City, no matter how small or how big, should have a Capital Improvements Plan. Capital Planning involves both short and long term plans for everything from office computers to street repairs to sewer lagoons. However, a Capital Plan is worthless without a way to finance the projects. That is why we also talk about available financing options including: tax planning, budgeting, grant writing, TIF, loans and bonds.
Check out: https://wp.clerkbooks.com/user-support/webinars/ for more information or to schedule this webinar.
It’s time to dream big dreams. If we are not moving forward, we are moving backward. We never stay in one place. Even if we are patching holes and putting out fires, there is always a bigger hole and a bigger fire on the horizon. Fire trucks and snow plows age quickly. Water towers need constant upkeep and repair. Water filtration systems and sewer lagoons are constantly under DNR scrutiny to be better. The shingles and siding on City Hall are wearing down each year.
Unfortunately, our annual budgets rarely consider these big ticket items. This is why a short term and long term Capital Plan is important. However, the best laid plans are worthless without available financing.
We can help. ClerkBooks has experience with grant writing and grant administration. We can help locate sources of funding. We can help you apply for the grants. We can help you track the grants to make sure everything is spent properly.
If we help write your Capital Plan, and we help pick your projects and your grant sources, we will guarantee our services. If you don’t get the grant, we don’t get paid. What do you have to lose?