How to run a food co-op or bulk buying group

Finance

Your members will be paying money into your group's bank account as often as they are buying. It is the job of the finance group to make sure this happens, so that supplier invoices can be paid. A buying group doesn't need to keep much money in the bank if this process runs smoothly and members are prompt with their payments.

Lettuceshare does a lot of the finance work for you, so the main tasks for the finance group are: to answer emails from members about any invoice questions they have, pay suppliers, and import member payments into Lettuceshare. This last step will perform a reconciliation that allows members (and the finance team) to keep track of their balance within the system.

The import is usually done  just before ordering opens for the following week, or before the next week's purchases are entered (for non-ordering groups). This gives members the longest amount of time possible to transfer their payments and for those transactions to then show up in the export file that is downloaded each week.

Most buying groups use web banking to manage their finances. This usually means someone (or multiple members) from the finance group are signatories on the group's bank account. This gives them access to the file download mentioned above, and also the ability to pay suppliers. Many banks allow fine-grained permission to their web banking so that these tasks can be share between group members without all needing the same level of access.

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