|Income generation and money management: training women as entrepreneurs |
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Bookkeeping involves using a system for recording financial or business transactions in books of accounts, or ledgers. There are many different types of formats for ledgers and many different purposes for their use. In designing a format appropriate for a certain group of participants, it is probably wisest to first identify their needs.
A very simple bookkeeping ledger can be designed with the following components:
1. Column for date.
2. Columns to describe types of transactions.
3. Credit and debit columns.
3. Column for the balance.
There are two ways that the columns can be labeled:
1. With symbols or pictures.
2. With words from the local language that the women learn to recognize (this may work well with semi-literates or l those who are engaged in literacy training).
Examples of column headings for simple bookkeeping ledgers.
Teaching bookkeeping, like numeracy, requires REPETITION and PRACTICE .
Teaching bookkeeping successfully requires FOLLOW-UP.
1. Are the bookkeeping ledgers useful to the women or should they be redesigned?
2. What does the ledger represent in terms of long term money management? What information does it provide that will help women improve their financial positions? Some ledgers show starting and ending balances, such as a daily cash flow. Other ledgers can be designed to show profit made from each item sold, monthly or yearly profit, inventory, etc.. Some women will need to keep several different types of ledgers for their businesses.
NOTE: A very effective way to open a session on bookkeeping is to stage a skit that depicts the problems a woman in business may have if she does not write numbers down. This may encourage the participants to discuss their record keeping needs.
TOPIC: Why is Bookkeeping Useful?
TARGET GROUP: Women with income generating projects
DURATION : 75 Minutes
OBJECTIVES: The participants will be able to:
1. Identify several problems that occur when financial transactions are not put into a permanent record.
2. Discuss some ways that keeping records may help them in their businesses.
3. Suggest several possible designs for ledgers that they would find useful.
Step 1 The facilitator explains the objectives of the session. Then the facilitator and three assistants put on a skit. The scene is a small shop where the woman proprietor sits at a table. In front of her are some goods for sale and a box for cash. One by one two shoppers and the proprietor's son stop by the shop.
First shopper (FS): Good morning Isatou, how are you? I came to see if you have any Omo?
Isatou: (To herself: This person owes me some money from a long time ago. I wish I could remember how much it was.) Good morning, my friend, certainly I do, but first you should pay me what you owe.
FS: But Isatou, I paid you a few days afterward. Don't you remember? It was at a party at our fiend's house.
Isatou: No I can't remember, I don't think you paid me.
FS: You insult me, I always pay my debts. It was at a christening party and I was wearing a red dress I bought from you.
Isatou: Oh dear! Now I remember! I'm so sorry. Here is your Omo. Good-bye. (To herself: How embarrassing. I hope she will not be angry.)
Second shopper (ss): Good Morning Isatou, how are you?
Isatou: I am fine. Come and see all the nice things I just got in.
SS: wonderful! I will take a pair of shoes, this hair oil and two meters of that cloth.
Isatou: Very good. That will be 92 dalasi plus 37 dalasi plus 34 dalasi. But I will give you a discount so it comes out to be 165 dalasi.
SS: But that price is more than the first price of the three.
Isatou: No you are wrong. Look, 92 + 37 + 34 equals 171 and I am taking off six dalasi.
SS: When I add it on this paper, I get 161, so the price should be 155.
Isatou: (Looking at the paper and not really understanding, laughs nervously.) Oh dear you must be right. Well I am very tired today, you know. So sorry, my friend. Here is your change. Please come back soon. (Shaking her head, says to herself:) Oh dear, she may never come back.
Isatou: Oh hello, my son, did you do the business I asked?
Son: Yes Mother. I got what you wanted and here is your change.
Isatou: OK, now I have had a lot of sales today, so I want to see how much I made. There is now 700 dalasi in the box and I gave some to you and also used some to buy lunch. Let's see I sold a few jars of hair oil and many little things.
Son: But Mother, how much did you have in the box when you came to the shop this morning? Didn't you count it?
Isatou: Well I counted it last night but I can't remember exactly. That doesn't matter, I just need to know what I sold, but not everyone paid the same amount for the same item because of the discounts. Oh dear, oh well, I am very tired today, tomorrow will be better!
Step 2 The facilitator asks the women to discuss some problems that Isatou had because she did not write the numbers down. Some points to be made are:
1. Isatou forgot the amount of the debt owed by the First Shopper and also that the debt had been repaid. It was embarrassing for Isatou.
2. Isatou added the group of numbers incorrectly and was about to overcharge. She did not understand the numbers that the Second Shopper wrote on the paper and wasn't sure they were correct.
3. Isatou could not account for the money that went in and out of her till box during the day. She forgot how much she started out with and what she charged for some items.
Step 3 The facilitator asks the participants to discuss how writing the numbers down may help them to manage their money. Some points to be brought out are:
1. You can write down your debts and loans and make a check mark when they have been repaid.
2. You could write down the price paid for each item and how much it sold for to determine your profit.
3. You can keep track of the money in your till so you will know if any has been stolen.
4. You could make an inventory of your shop by drawing a picture of an item and the number you have in stock.
5. You could look at the dates to tell times of the year when business is good, and when certain transactions took place.
Step 4 The facilitator asks the participants to determine which kind of records they would find most useful. In the next training session, the group will make some bookkeeping ledgers.
PREPARATION AND MATERIALS: Props for the skit including the till box, some shop items, a table or two chairs, a pencil and paper, some dalasi or fake money. The skit should be rehearsed prior to the session but can include a lot of impromptu overacting.
** Skit Idea courtesy of Sam Cole
TOPIC: Making a Simple Bookkeeping Ledger
TARGET GROUP: Women with vegetable gardening projects (Background: The women are interested in knowing how much they will earn per month from their gardens. They take in different amounts each day and often forget the amounts in a few days. They want to subtract the cost of their tools and seeds and see how much they make for their labor. The women are illiterate but have been trained in numeracy.)
DURATION: Two hours
OBJECTIVES: The participants will be able to:
1. Prepare and use a simple accounting ledger that will allow them to determine a total monthly income made from selling vegetables.
2. Prepare and use a ledger that allows them to record the costs of the garden supplies.
3. Discuss how the accounts might help them in their businesses.
Step 1 The facilitator explains the objectives of the session. The women sit near a writing surface. Each participant has two pieces of paper or an exercise book, a writing instrument and a tool that can be used to make straight lines. The facilitator asks for suggestions for the symbols that may be put at the top of each column. S/he draws them on a black board or large sheet of paper, or has a participant draw them.
The sample ledger should only have lines and words on it, so that the women can see where to make the lines, but can come up with their own ideas about the symbols (thus they would probably remember them better). The sample ledger could look like this:
The day of the week will be represented by a number. The women may agree that Monday is the first market day and Sunday is the last so Monday will be day 1 and Sunday, day 7.
The women may agree that they will take ten dalasi in change everyday and that it will not be counted with the sales. Only the sales will be recorded. Symbols will be drawn for the type of vegetable and a whole vegetable will represent one kilo or one pile.
Step 2 The facilitator asks the participants to prepare a form for recording sales. The participants make the form by drawing columns and labeling the top, based on the sample form and the symbols agreed upon by the group.
Step 3 The facilitator asks the participants to practice filling in the forms using some made up numbers for one week of sales. Each participant will require individual attention by the facilitator to check figures and answer questions.
Step 4 The use of the forms is discussed. Some points to be brought out are:
1. The women will know what the intake is per week or per month or per year by adding up the numbers. They will also know what kind of vegetables sell the best.
2. After the supplies are paid for, they will know how much they receive for their labor. If the job pays very poorly, they may decide to take up another occupation.
3. The exercise may inspire the women to take account of where the money earned is spent.
PREPARATION AND SUPPLIES: Exercise books, pencils and straight edge. Poster board or newsprint for demonstration.
** Session Plan Courtesy of Workshop Team: Amie Jarju, Jean Herron, Amira Jagne, Mark Mariotti, Nicky Rawson, Baboucar Dibba.