Pending payments and reimbursement tasks on Dynalist

Hi all,

I am good to go with Dynalist for everything admin related.
From now on, once you’ve added your claim in freeagent, please add your requests for payment as tasks here.
A note to fellow directors: do this especially for the June 15th clean records milestone that we have agreed on.

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Hmmm… are we sure about this? We need expense refund claims to be on FreeAgent because accounting. And that’s already a to-do list: an outstanding request is an open item, a paid request is a closed one. Does Dynalist not add a redundant layer of literal box ticking in this case? cc @matthias

That said, my expense refund requests for Turkey are already on FreeAgent.

Maybe I wasnt clear, apologies. I mean “once you’ve added your claim in freeagent”.

Dynalist is for people to add a task = ask that they are paid.
I edited the above…

This process (back then with Drupal Task nodes) was made at the time when we had less activity on the bank account … so we could not be bothered to monitor FreeAgent for expense and invoice payment tasks.

But yeah, at the current level of activity, for example Noemi might log in once a week and process accumulated payment and reconciliation tasks in FreeAgent. Ideal case: if FreeAgent had e-mail notifications for new bills and expense claims. It doesn’t, but we could add it ourselves, but it does not seem too much of a benefit …

Noemi, if you’re up for the change, it would be a more straightforward process.

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Either way works for me, but checking dynalist tasks weekly makes it easier for others to monitor too what is being done and by whom, as well as assign tasks to people.

I vote for FreeAgent only. We all have access to everyone’s expenses page, and the activity (== reimbursements) is shown in the “repaid” column:

So: uploading an expense means “please pay me back”. Once the payment is made, the person being reimbursed will see it on her own bank account, and everyone else will see it on her expenses page.

My only concern is that there is no notification anywhere: not on FreeAgent, not on Dynalist. But maybe it can work like this: we build a sort of “admin checklist” that whoever is running the account goes through, say, once a week. That checklist includes "go over people’s expense accounts and check that they are more or less balanced. If they are not, make payments to balance them.

Just using FreeAgent seems less overhead, yes. But we need to make it work for the cases where multiple people make payments, preventing these “double payment” issues that happen from time to time.

So, there has to be a place for people to see what has been paid and what not. For expenses, it can’t be FreeAgent since the “Expenses” page only reflects payments once the bank transactions have been imported and reconciled. Which we don’t do immediately. (For bills, on the other hand, there is a good solution: we’d use the “Comments” field of bills for that, starting it with (for example) “PAID 2018-06-04 by Noemi”. It’s visible in the Bills overview list, so quite clear.)

Possible solutions include:

  1. Designate only one person at a time who is in control of payments. But that’s against being an agile organization where people can help each other out easily … .
  • Create a rule that everyone who makes payments has to import and reconcile the bank statements first. But that will fail when bank transactions have been queued but not booked yet because it’s outside bank business hours.

  • Create an easily accessible task list on Dynalist with tasks for every week (“Process bill and expense payment tasks for week … .”). But that adds a redundant task list again, and fails in cases where people needed a payment urgently and it was made outside of the usual rhythm.

  • Keep the current solution with Dynalist, but creating a major section “Banking” in the top level of the Edgeryders Dynalist, and concentrating the payment tasks there. However that keeps the redundancy of “task lists”, and It’s not obvious for others what to search for to find the task for a specific bill payment … except when we all are very explicit with the task descriptions in Dynalist.

Seems we need somebody with a bright idea right now :slight_smile:

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Haha, or how about this ugly hack to tell others that an expense payment was made. (Means, before transactions are reconciled and the reimbursement appears in the “Repaid” column.)

Such an entry would have to be treated just like an expense reimbursement, and can be deleted once the expense reimbursement appears in the list. This uses the Unicode box drawing character “FULL BOX” (█) to get attention, and a super small amount of 0.01 NPR = ~0.0001 EUR because the amount cannot be zero. Even better, the amount repaid should be noted behind “PAYMENT CHECKPOINT”, not in the Reference field as shown in the screenshot, as it will be more obvious then what was paid.

It will appear in the “Recent Expenses” list that also shows the Balance Owed, but not if more than 10 new expenses were added in the meantime. That should work for us, but to be sure we can also check the “All Expenses” list.

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Not bad. But maybe simpler: your solution 2 plus a rule to check also for queued payments when you log into the bank account to download recent transactions.

Yes, that would work. Usually the same person will go in every week, reconcile transactions, look at pending transactions, and make payments. Not much overhead. The only case where discipline is needed is when somebody helps out in an urgent case to make a payment: they must reconcile transactions and check pending payments first, or we get the double spending issue again. And since they are only helping out, the motivation to spend these extra 10 minutes is probably not high. Still, pretty sure we could introduce this process successfully.

Still it would be “nicer” if the current state is always in FreeAgent. For bills, “Comments: PAID” would be fine, as proposed above. For expenses, I improved my proposal a bit:

Now the “Balance Owed” is shown correctly as the placeholder booking is registered as an expense of type “Refund”, resulting in negative numbers. Also, instructions to delete it once the proper repayment is registered (at the same date with the same amount) are shown together with the placeholder transaction.

Not sure which way to go. @noemi, can we get an independent third opinion?

Correct. And I think we should make it a general rule of Edgeryders that nothing should ever be urgent. So, that discipline would be required only rarely.

When something is urgent, someone up the road has screwed up. This goes in the to-be-written Edgeryders principles. I propose to pencil it in as Festina lente, “make haste slowly”, the motto of Augustus. It goes for everything, not just payments.