Saturday, October 22, 2016

Possible new long-term volunteer guest house and office

Need for Space

As we are having more volunteers over peak times (Christmas and summer vacation) we need more space.  It is also nice to have a room for our volunteers who stay for multiple weeks or months.  This room can include an office with a WiFi signal amplifier which will connect to the school's Internet.  We should be able to build this two story guest house and office for less than $1,000.

Here is one possible design:

1st floor

2nd floor

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Accounting at Amazon Pueblo! -It's accrual world out there.

Our New Accountants

The project now has professional accounting services!  We are working with Ballou & Associates based in Camden, Maine.  They are helping us to migrate our accounts to QuickBooks Premier, the nonprofit edition.

The director of Amazon Pueblo first met Tammy Ballou in the late 1990's when he was the interim director of the Teen Center in Camden, Maine, and she was our accountant.  The next time he spoke with her was when she taught him an introductory QuickBooks class in 2011, 

Welcome to the accounting department, where everybody counts.

The office of Ballou and Associates

Why are accountants always so calm, composed, and methodical?
They have strong internal controls.

Lori and our director hard at work

We have many challenges to our record keeping and accounting with the project.  We operate in two countries, so we must be aware of the exchange rate differences.  We must also find inexpensive ways to transfer money and to make purchases while maintaining good financial controls.  Additionally, time is a factor.  We have no full-time bookkeeper, so the system we use must be easy to operate and understand, while maintaining accuracy.

An accountant is someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had
in a way you don’t understand.

Our Accounting Programs

Our old program

We are now switching from our old accounting program, GNU Cash, to QuickBooks.  GNU Cash is a free, open-source accounting program.  We recommend it for anyone who needs a good, basic accounting program.

We switched to QuickBooks because we needed a program that could more easily handle inventory, donor tracking, grant tracking, and that can generate more customized nonprofit reports.  While our version of QuickBooks normally costs $350, we received the program at a $300 discount for nonprofit organizations through a grant program at Techsoup.

Our new program

Audit of our books

What do you call an accountant with an opinion? An auditor.

As we go forward with the project, larger grant funding agencies may require that we conduct an audit before they will give us a grant.  This audit will be much easier when we are using QuickBooks and working with an accountant.

Accounting tips:

How does Santa's accountant value his sleigh? Net Present Value

Did you know the IRS now offers a tax credit on the purchase of marijuana? You just have to file a joint return.

Questions or comments about our accounting practices are always welcome.  We are open books!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Where is our main office? In Maine? Bogota? In the Amazon jungle? Take a guess...

Where is our main office located?  It is currently "located" in Maine, but it is actually located in the cloud!  All of our documents and the information needed to run our nonprofit organization may be accessed on a computer anywhere in the world where there is a reliable Internet connection.  We are agile and lean.  Now you know!

The current "location" of Amazon Pueblo in Rockland, Maine

The main workstation and two of our laptops.  They are ready for work!

Another view of the office

Our office when in Leticia, Colombia

Our jungle office
In cyberspace