How do CoTech co-ops manage their payroll and accounting?

We talked already about the pension situation in the Friendly Pension Provider thread but how are CoTech co-ops managing their payrolls?

I would also be interested how folks are handling their accounting?

We have been experimenting with GNUCash and Ledger but haven’t really settled on anything yet.

It’s something I need to get clued up on having mostly been self employed before.

We use Invoice Plane for invoicing and it does the job and if you are paranoid you can additionally secure it with HTTP Authentication :wink:

Our accountant uses paper and Adam (our Treasurer) uses LibreOffice spreadsheets to keep track of the accounts. @jonathan uses the Governments online PAYE system, which although says it just suports Ubuntu, runs fine on Debian, I’m sure he could provide more details :slight_smile:


We use (and are happy customers of) FreeAgent - their software handles
book-keeping, invoicing, payroll, expenses, personal taxes and more. Our
accountant also has an account and uses it to prepare our annual accounts.

Let me know if you’d like a demo.

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This is a total tangent but one of the only items of Windows software I ever brought was a full version of Agent, 20 or so years ago, as Free Agent lacked some features — this is back in the days when online discussions were happening on USENET and Free Agent was the best newsgroup client available and we were using 16 colour GIF’s!

I don’t know how “FreeAgent” managed to adopt the same name without confusion!

Sorry for the tangent…:roll_eyes:

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Calverts uses Sage Line 100 which is possibly overkill but we have quite complex management accounting as well as financial accounting

Did you get anywhere with this Leo? If it helps I could send you template copies of a couple of spreadsheets which I’ve developed, to keep track of Payroll and the various steps, alongside the HMRC payroll reporting program

Missed this when it was first posted. We (Outlandish) use Xero for all our accounting and PAYE requirements. It is probably overkill for a smaller co-op though imo. We used Freeagent when there were 4 partners (and before we were a co-op) which did what it needed to, including PAYE etc.

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We’re still evaluating but don’t really have the time to make a decision yet. Currently using a spreadsheet. Thanks for the offer @jonathan, will let you know if that would be helpful.

We’ve also built various custom dashboards that tie our stuff together - with varying degrees of success.

Our first partnership agreement actually included some code (see Schedule 1 of the attached) which worked amazingly. Highly recommend that approach. Also interested in feedback about it as a payment mechanism.

14_Short_form_partnership_agreement_April 2012.doc.pdf (188.9 KB)

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Can I resurrect this thread and ask which accountants people are using? We are looking to move to someone who is able to understand co-operatives a little more and provide more pro-active support for us so any recommendations please do let us know!

We host the website for Third Sector Accountancy — they are a Manchester based accountants co-op, we haven’t used them as accountants but I’m sure they understand co-ops since they are one :slight_smile: .

Chris, you just reminded me that we started to talking to those guys back in early summer and then the thread went cold, so kicked that off again, thanks for the bump :slight_smile:

We (Cetis LLP) do actually use exactly them! So they have experience of us, an LLP co-op :slight_smile:


Hey @Abi
We have been using Green Accountancy for years, and personally have found them to be very proactive and caring as well as extremely competent.

@hng and IT Kollectiv have been writing a new piece of open source software for accounting that suits their co-ops network/project based model. Sounded really interesting.

Due to this thread we (Common Knowledge) had a bit of a chat with Green Accountancy last week to talk through some of our issues pertaining to accountancy and our corporate structure.

Found them extremely competent and very friendly. Would recommend!

Us too.

If you’re signing up to them use our referral link :wink: (then we both get 10% off)

We currently use Sandra at Somerset Co-operative Services who charge very reasonable prices.

But see also this list of Co-op Friendly Accountants Sept 2017.pdf (64.1 KB) from Co-ops UK (there may be a newer version now but can’t actually find that resource on their website).

The Co-ops UK list includes 3 of the 5 mentioned at the end of this Financial literacy for co-ops guide (.pdf), plus 6 more.

In the past Gregory Cohn at Tower Hamlets CDA has also recommended Abell Morliss as it is led by Malcolm Swallow, FCA who is Chair of Tower Hamlets CDA and also Chair of the London Community Credit Union.

So all in I think that is 12 different recommendations! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m glad that is the case.

I and others I know well have had really terrible experiences with them in the past :frowning: (they once emailed our full accounts to someone completely unrelated to our business in error, but also it generally seemed like they feel like they work primarily for HMRC, not their clients).

I can’t even go into the details of really bad experiences others I’ve know have had but if you’ve used another accountant previously and then want to switch to Green Accountancy, be warned: if they don’t like the way your accounts have been done previously it could cause you a complete nightmare. this list comes highly recommended,

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