Grants:IdeaLab/Community accounting services

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Community accounting services
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People who receive WMF grant funding typically do poor financial reporting. It would be nice to have international accounting services to help with reporting.
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idea creator
Bluerasberry
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created on14:31, 18 October 2014 (UTC)


Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Skill in reporting expenses is unrelated to skill in making an impact with support from WMF grants, yet this skill is the most important evaluation criteria for judging whether the management of a grant has been successful. Giving the impression that one has this skill is the most important evaluation criteria for actually getting a grant.

It is a tremendous burden on volunteers to learn and develop accounting practices when most Wikimedia community members do not come to Wikimedia projects with the intent to do financial management. In addition to being a burden on volunteers to report, it is a burden on other community members to evaluate the unique reporting scheme that every grant recipient uses to report their own grants.

If grant recipients could get coaching and support for reporting their finances then that could encourage more people to apply for grants, make grant reports look nicer for those who do not have other kinds of support in reporting finances, and save a lot of stress on the part of everyone involved in these things.

What is your solution?[edit]

Someone, preferably a staff Wikipedian at some nonprofit organization or Wikimedia chapter, preferably someone with finances training, becomes a point person for helping grant recipients track finances. At a minimum, this person can be a service partner who will accept pictures or scans of receipts and who will make a spreadsheet of expenses with links to some online presentation of all the original receipts. Merely getting help listing expenses in a spreadsheet and putting receipts online would be a big help and improvement to the situation of many grant recipients.

Beyond this, if it seems right, some people might benefit from having a point person to whom to ask questions about the precedent of grant reporting. This person might be able to help establish community norms for the quality of grant reporting so that no group does excessively detailed or much less detailed reporting than others.

Goals[edit]

  • Arrange for professional accounting oversight in simplifying the existing process at Grants:PEG/Example project grant agreement for groups and organizations
  • Reduce the stress involved in making financial reports
  • Shift production of financial reports from community organizations to an entity which enjoys doing this to the extent possible and whenever possible

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