CUCC Expedition Handbook

Expo Accounting Documentation



These documents were written to explain how we ran the Expo accounts in the years 1997-1999. I hope they will help smooth the hand-over to future treasurers; they may be particularly useful if there are no ex-treasurers in Cambridge.

The two parts of this document deal with the theory and practice of Expo accounting respectively. The appendices contain supplementary information in the various aspects of Expo accounting.

Expo will undoubtedly change as the years go by; please try to keep these documents up to date, the files in order and ensure a smooth hand-over to your successor. Good luck!

Part 1: How Expo is financed (The Theory)

Expo is ongoing. Each year's Expo inherits equipment and a little money from its predecessor; similarly, we should leave next year's Expo a reasonable stock of equipment and 'float' money.

Income and Expenditure

The money to run Expo comes from two sources: principally from each year's participants, and secondarily through grants from bodies such as the Ghar Parau Foundation. In addition, numerous companies have provided sponsorship, mainly in the form of food.

Most Expo costs are paid in the UK and 'in the field' by members of Expo. All these expenses are recorded in the Expo Bier Book. After the expedition, the Expo treasurer processes this data to work out who owes and who is owed money. Everyone settles up before the next Expo (hopefully!).

Expo incurs cost in the following areas:

In addition, we coordinate various services for members:

CUCC and Expo have separate bank accounts, often administered by separate people; both are run to break even over the year. Expo works in partnership with CUCC to prevent unnecessary duplication of resources; CUCC equipment is used on Expo and vice-versa. Apart from these mutual efficiency gains, Expo and CUCC do not subsidise each other.

The Bank of Expo

This is an online system which does accounting. It is not a bank: it just keeps records of how expenses are allocated and who has paid what. See the Bank of Expo webpage for a longer description and all the documentation.

The Expo Bills

The bill each person receives depends on:

How each of these areas has been dealt with traditionally is described below. Future treasurers may wish to change this, but should be prepared for 'heated debate'...

Expenditure on behalf of Expo

Reasonable Expo expenses recorded in the bier book will be refunded. The Expo treasurer determines what is reasonable, but generally Expo only pays for what it gets, and only buys what it needs.

Photographic costs have been discussed recently, with the outcome that Expo pays only for its own copy of slides/prints. It does not pay for film or development unless it gets to keep the negatives. We recommend that photographers keep their own originals as this makes it less likely that the originals will be lost and easier for the photographer to do whatever they like with their images (publish, competitions, copies for friends, etc.). Photographers retain copyright of their material, but should give Expo the 'right to reproduce' their photographs for CUCC journals, slideshows, etc if they wish Expo to pay for any of it. See David Gibson's thoughts on this in appendix F (MISSING!).

Time spent on Expo

The daily costs of Expo (food, campsite fees, gaz, fuel for stoves, dishcloths, etc) are added up and a per-person-per-night cost evaluated. Each member is then charged according to the number of days he/she spent on Expo.

Gone caving

The cost of equipment purchase and maintenance are normally divided equally among everyone who went caving, irrespective of how long they were on Expo; this is to encourage people to make good use of the gear and make it easier for people (often students) to spend the full 5 weeks on Expo. The caver fiddle factor (normally either 0 or 1) is used in applying this charge.

Personal costs

The popular/cheap Austrian Bier Gösser is bought communally. Each member's bier consumption is recorded in the Bier Book and the appropriate amount charged to them. A similar scheme operates for lemonade.


If someone runs out of cash on Expo, another member can lend him or her some money that can then be repaid through the Bills. The amount is added to the debtor's bill and taken off the creditor's bill. This can also be used for group purchases, such as when one person pays for several Hallstatt pedalo tickets.

Personal stuff bought with Expo food shopping can be managed in one of two ways:

Either way, Expo doesn't pay for personal food/drink.

Swaps will only be considered if entered in both the debtor's and creditor's page in the Bier Book, or the treasurer can be reasonably sure that the debtor was aware of the transaction.

Expo grants

Grants may come from the GPF, other funding bodies or through students from their college. Expo sometimes uses some of this money to purchase specific high capital items; in 1999 this was a six-berth tent and two mobile phones. The remaining money is divided amongst the unwaged members on Expo, using the grantshare fiddle factor. Grantshare ranges from 0 for no entitlement to 1 for full entitlement.

Part 2: How to be Expo Treasurer (maybe;-)

This section details some things I found as Expo treasurer, which I hope will help you avoid some of my errors/worries....

Role of the Expo treasurer

So what does this Expo treasurer do? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is as follows:

Jobs marked * are particularly large and could well be delegated if you have enough people.)

Your task, appreciated by a few, will require time, effort and perseverance...

Timetable of events

In the beginning were the grant applications. At least, there were if last year's committee remembered their responsibilities, so first check that they have been submitted! Also track down the ex-treasurer (if he didn't get you first!) and get the bank details and get yourself as a signatory to the account.

You may find at first that the Expo committee is just you and the Expo Leader. Help him/her find and pressgang victims persuade volunteers for the other committee posts:

Deposits and Forms

Even before you've got a full committee, start promoting Expo as the top experience it is. Start taking deposits. Ask for £100 before Expo, as installments of £40 and £60. Of course, people can pay it all at once if they want!

The deposits are to give Expo some cash to buy gear. Try and get most people to pay up; people paying for a lot of gear in Cambridge (e.g. for top camp meals and the chief fettler) may request not to pay their deposit. Certainly get at least the first deposit of anyone potentially 'unreliable' (i.e. you haven't seen caving or hasn't been on Expo before) before you spend any money on him/her. Hassle everybody else too :-)

A good way to get the deposits is with the Expo form. This is completed by each person wanting to go on the Expo. Have a look at past year's forms (stored on the PWF). The forms get you, as treasurer, (hopefully) all the information you'll need to start organising Expo. People are often pretty lousy at completing or even starting their forms, but you'll need an idea of when people want to go on Expo and a list of contact addresses etc. Distribute the forms at:

There is an on-line version of the form on the PWF, and possibly even a Perl script for processing the responses. Find a suitable compsci or engineer to fix it; it's not difficult. The web form can be completed on-line or printed out and sent to you.

Advertise Expo and the web address of the form on the CUCC and EXCS mailing lists, and respectively. You could send the form by email. If you do this, create a plain text version and send it in the body of your message. Do not send it as an attachment and certainly not as an MS Word file, or you'll get rants about compatibility with non-windows computers...

New requirements set by the GPF/NCA mean that all Expo members will need to be members of a club/organisation which is in turn a member of the NCA in order for Expo to get any grant money. I'm not sure whether EXCS is a member of the NCA (I doubt it), but CUCC is. So make sure people have paid their membership fees too.


Expo has a number of gear requirements distinct from CUCC in the UK; these include spits & cones, a serviceable trailer, surveying instruments and some carbide. In recent years we have borrowed Wookey's trailer. We own our own surveying instruments, but they may need expensive maintenance and are very expensive to replace. Spits, cones, carbide and other caving gear are often bought with a large communal order from Bernies.

Try and place Expo gear orders jointly with CUCC main orders to maximise the discount we can get. Invite club members to buy their personal gear at the same time. Work with the CUCC main committee to eliminate unnecessary duplication of resources; there is a web page describing CUCC equipment purchasing.

There are certain to be a number of equipment fettling jobs to be done in the UK before departure, such as updating the First Aid kits and ensuring all hangers have a maillon, bolt and circlip. Hopefully the Tackle Master will co-ordinate this...

Discount group purchases at gear shops

How much of this happens depends on how keen and how many Expo members you have. In 1999 we placed an order with Field & Trek, where we got the group sales rate of 'up to' 25% off their normal prices. Bernies will normally give 10% off medium to large orders, or 20% on large orders if you give him a few days notice. Recently (1998/9), it has seemed that Bernies offers better value than Inglesport; Dragon do excellent tackle sack repairs for £10 per sack. Caving Supplies are about the only people who make caving ladders, but the club has made its own: see the Tackle Store web pages.

Operate the Expo bank account

This involves paying money in, writing cheques and looking after the statements. Statements are currently sent to the Expo Treasurer's address, which is changed for each treasurer. You could get them sent to Dr James Hickson, the CUCC Senior Treasurer at Pembroke. This would mean less changing of addresses, but add delay/uncertainty to your receiving the statements.

The deposits cover most of the insurance costs. Equipment orders are normally paid for by Expo or CUCC main, with the other then repaying their share. The float money (about £850 at the end of 1999) can be used as necessary, but should be replenished at the end of each year. The float was increased from £100 at the end of 1997 when the GPF grant was recieved late. The extra money is very useful for smoothing the cash flow: in 1999 the CUCC Main and Meets accounts were emptied and the Expo Account float used, as over £3000 was spent from the accounts before Expo on tackle, tents, tshirts and insurance. Do not let the account go overdrawn.

The Expo account is with National Westminster, number 22997253, sort code 60-04-23 (King's Parade branch). Internet banking may be available for this account, but we haven't got it yet. Remember to give the bank the signature authority forms to authorise your successor before you leave Cambridge.

Transport Organisation

The bugbear of the Expo Treasurer... This is a co-ordination/coercion game. Ask everybody when they would like to go to Expo, then match those without cars of their own to those who have cars and will take passengers. Try to make sure that each vehicle that will be funded by Expo will be as fully utilised as possible.

This game is combined with the job of getting people to commit to going on Expo at all, as some people will only go when they see their friends are going. You want to get some keen definite people to say when they'll go, then advertise this on the EXCS list so that other people will say 'I'll go then'. Keep everybody informed of the situation with regular emails to the EXCS list. People will normally see obvious car sharing opportunities, but don't be afraid to make suggestions. It's important to include the whole EXCS list, not just those who've said they'll go already.

Later on, there'll be the job of determining who the full, semi-independent and independent travellers are and which vehicles are funded in full or part. This may be a bit iterative, depending on how helpful and communicative various people have been.

The Expo Bier Book

The Expo Bier Book is a record of every expedition expenditure and many administrative details of Expo. Refined over many years, the format now consists of the following sections:

Find last year's Bier Book to see the format and how it is used. Buy an A5 hardback lined notebook, with a wipeable surface (it's going to get food/bier/worse spilled on it sometime), and draw up the pages listed above. It needs to have a sturdy biro tied securely to it. Make sure it gets sent out to Expo in the first vehicle to arrive there.

The Stamps page could be improved; I recommend Expo buys part of a sheet of stamps (with the edge pieces) and sticks the edge to the inside edge of a page in the bier book. Then have a stamp tally nearby.

Anything else financial can also be included, particularly notes to the treasurer. The Bier Book, Log Book and Survey Book together make the original source documentation for each Expo.

The Expo Kitty

The largest single bill in Austria will be the campsite bill, at about ös 55 per person per night plus electricity. Obviously the bill depends on how big Expo is; in 1999 it was over £800. How this is paid depends on how many people you have around at the end of Expo. If there are enough then the simplest method is for them just to pay Hilde and claim the cost back through the Bier Book. However, if there are not going to be enough people with sufficient cash around at the end, you should start the Expo Kitty. This is a jar, in which everyone is encouraged to leave cash towards the campsite bill. This is entered in the Bier Book as a swap to Kitty. If the kitty has too little cash, someone around at the end of Expo should use a credit card to make up the balance.

It's not a good idea to collect vastly more cash than we need, as it could get lost or the Austrian banks could change their bank notes before the next Expo. You could try closing the kitty when it has enough cash, though people like to get rid of their few spare schillings and may moan if others could but they can't. If there is too much in the kitty, we could either ask to pre-pay some of next year's bill, or take it back to Expo the following year.

If it will be needed, make sure the kitty is started early on so everyone can contribute something. If you let people freely add/withdraw cash, make periodic checks that the contents are as indicated in the Bier Book: it's quite easy for people to forget to record an entry. If you're not there at the end of Expo yourself, you'll need to put someone responsible in charge of paying the bill and bringing any remaining cash back to Cambridge.

Produce the Expo Bills

The Bier Book should be a complete picture of all Expo financial transactions. You can save yourself a lot of typing (possibly) if you put a blank version of the Expo spreadsheet on the Expo PC in the Potato Hut. Then people can type thier own data into the spreadsheet while on Expo, which also provides some protection against the loss of the bier book. However, you may find it difficult to track down mistakes and duplications later, particularly in Swaps transactions.

You'll receive some Bier Book entries by email, post and word of mouth after Expo, as people's credit card bills come in. Set a deadline (say, 40 days after the end of Expo) and add all entries to the Bier Book. Include all the other relevant transactions on the other CUCC accounts.

Once all the various expenses have been entered in the bier book (it's probably September/October by now), you're ready to tackle the spreadsheet. You don't have to use the spreadsheet, but it's best to unless you're a database wizard. Appendix B describes using the spreadsheet. Basically you remove the sheets for last years members, copy new blank pages for this year's members and then add this year's data. It's fairly straightforward, but lengthy and requires concentration.

All expenditures in the Bier Book will fall into one of the categories:

In 1999, the tshirts, insurance, Expo Dinner and various gear orders were handled as swaps on specific days outside Expo. The swap sum-to-zero check usefully determines that Expo is not out of pocket (or shows how much by, so you can recover this by a charge in the Misc category). It would be possible to create new categories for insurance etc, but this would require thoughtful modification to the spreadsheet structure. Don't break it! (Someone really ought to develop an Expo database...)

What is paid for is determined by the principles described in part 1 of this document. Once all the data has been entered, check that each person has been allocated appropriate traveller, caver and grantshare values.

The bills have traditionally been paid by the debtors writing cheques to the creditors. Some debtors pay the Expo Account, which then pays any outstanding amount due to the creditors. This means you match each debtor to a creditor and tell both of them that the debtor will pay the creditor. This means the creditor can hassle the debtor if necessary without you having to bother. You can also match husbands & wives or people who live in the same part of the country together. You can make sure that reliable people pay the Expo account and that less reliable people pay their friends. Usually only the Expo account has to write more than one cheque.

When sending out the Expo bills, give the addresses of the creditors. Send individual emails personally to each member, rather that announcing it on communal emails. This reduces the amount of ranting about 'Why's my bill more than his?'. However, if anyone asks, have the relevant data ready.

Andy Waddington (austria @ would be interested in some accounting trivia, such as the number of Gössers drunk, the times underground, etc.

General Treasury Responsibilities

Expo files

Finally, keep these files up-to-date, and stored both on the Expo accounting disk and the CUCC file space on the PWF. Wookey or Olly may also be able to arrange archive space.


Communication: would that it were clear, concise, courteous, correct, charitable and copious. Would that the response was well considered and timely. Try to make your requests SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-scaled.

You'll need several Expo Committee meetings. Firstly to plan what should be done, and later to check that all the jobs are being done. If someone just isn't pulling their weight or has too much else to do, the committee meetings should be used to provide encouragement (!) and/or redistribute the workload. I suppose one of the jobs of the Expo Leader is to check that everything is going to plan, be he/she won't always think of everything on their own. See the checklists in the appendices.

Remember that all the Expo committee are volunteers (more or less of their own volition :-), but they may have different priorities and/or different reasons for participating than yourself. This can make committee work interesting or taxing, depending on your viewpoint, but try to keep Expo as an adventure rather than a chore; it's worth it in the end.


This document was written to describe how the CUCC Expo is financed. It is primarily a guide for first-time Expo Treasurers, though part 1 may also be of use to any Expo Treasurer.

Part 1 described the principle of the Expo finances: the sources of income and expenditure and the principles behind the Expo billing system. Part 2 described the role of the treasurer and details on the practical side of being Expo Treasurer.

Being Expo Treasurer will involve quite a lot of work. Remember the need to be open and fair. Good Luck!


Archaic - for historic purposes only

BCRA Insurance is charged at cost to anyone who obtains it through the club, as are Expo T-shirts and meals at the Expo Dinner. All these are charged using Swaps (see below) to the relevant account.

BCRA Expedition Insurance

The British Cave Research Association organises special travel insurance with provision for caving. Details are given on the BCRA website. The administrator is:

John Cooper,
31 Elm Close,

Telephone: 01749 670568

The insurance does not seem to cover canyoning holidays, but possibly would cover a day's canyoning during a primarily caving holiday. The cost of the insurance has increased recently; there may be a better deal elsewhere. Personal members of the BCRA get a reasonable discount; you will need to quote their BCRA membership number (ask for it on the Expo form).

Insurance is generally recommended, though some people prefer not to pay for it. They risk the costs on the basis that cave rescue is free (usually) and the E111 form covers standard emergency treatment (maybe). Not all hospitals or all treatment are covered by an E111; they can be very expensive. Some members have used the SnowCard or ActiveCard company in the past.

Sometimes you'll hear of people who've never been on a CUCC meet or Expo before but allegedly want to come now. They may be allegedly keen cavers; however, don't get any insurance for them until they have paid their deposit or been guaranteed by someone you trust. We've had people decide not to go on Expo three days before departure, after we'd spent money on their insurance. They may be difficult to track down and get the money out of afterwards.

Peoples' plans often change in the months leading up to Expo. For this reason, try and leave arranging BCRA insurance as late as possible, but not so late that you incur the 'short notice' penalty charge (5%). Bear in mind the delays in the post when doing this.

Make copies of the insurance certificates from the BCRA. Take the original on Expo in case you need to wave it at hospitals and keep a copy in the UK in case you loose the original and have to make a claim.

Started 1999-12-31 by Earl Merson, Treasurer 1998 & 1999.
This page was last modified 2000-01-07