Keeping track of payments?
May 23, 2011 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Need ideas on how to keep track of people making multiple payments for large trips or activities, with the ability to report how much they still owe. Much more detail inside.

I'm a youth minister at a church, and I need a better way to keep track of students going on trips throughout the year. Here's what I need.

-The ability to have a "master contact" list with all of the students and their contact info. Need to be able to tag students who are going on trips or events.

-Need to be able to add funds to a students "account" when they make a payment, or earn money through a fundraiser. Do need to be able to keep track of how a "deposit" was made- i.e. check number, or fundraiser event.

-Need to be able to keep track of "payments" towards a specific trip or event. These payments can come from either checks or fundraiser money they have earned.

-Need to be able to generate reports showing what payments students have made, and how much they still owe.

-Ideally, this system would be re-usable (i.e. be able to add new trips and events.

-I also need the ability to transfer "funds" from one person's "account" to another- fundraiser money that isn't used towards a trip or camp will be applied to other people who are going.

-Ideally, this needs to be a relatively simple system that can be accessed by multiple people. I have a secretary who sometimes adds payments, etc.

-We don't have MS Access, which I realize would be a great solution.

Any tips or ideas?
posted by kraigory to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you install OpenOffice, which has some database program available? This is a problem that a database could solve.
posted by jeather at 5:00 PM on May 23, 2011

Yes, I could install OpenOffice. How would you recommend setting such a system up in a database? A table for all students, a table for each event, etc? I'm not terribly database savy.
posted by kraigory at 5:04 PM on May 23, 2011

Employee expense tracking has been done hundreds of times by now. There has got to be a web app / low cost shareware or possibly open source / freeware program available that will do the job. Get your Google on!
posted by COD at 5:31 PM on May 23, 2011

You really need to read a book on database design. You would have one table with students, including names, contact info, etc. One table would have payments -- amounts and the student ID. One would have all the trips. (This is rather simplified.) Then you have linking tables to associate students with payments, and students with trips (both of those would be many-to-many, which is why you need the linking table).

Then you'd have forms, one to add new students, one to add new programs, one to add new payments, one to add students to a current program, etc, and reports that could show all payments, or whatever.

It isn't that hard to set up for someone who knows databases, you might want to ask for a volunteer for this (if you are not confident that you can learn it yourself).
posted by jeather at 8:30 PM on May 23, 2011

+1 to what jeather said.

Either do this or approach the Computer Science or MIS Department at a local College or University and ask the head of the department if there is someone who would be willing to help you out for independent study credits. You NEED someone who can design a DB right the first time.
posted by zombieApoc at 6:03 AM on May 24, 2011

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