Welcome to Master Penny

Master Penny is your friendly all-in-one business operations software.

Our Approach

We take the view that your small business is not a series of disconnected systems, but rather one big system, where each bit of the business affects every other aspect of the business, and as such, we think there should be one monolithic system that runs your business.

With many years of experience, we wrote Master Penny ourselves in order to keep track of all aspects of our business, and as such, we see Master Penny as in a constant state of change and improvement as we get better at understanding the complex relationships within our business. Master Penny is not yet finished, and probably never will be.

So what do have already? This documents serves to describe what Master Penny currently does (as of 2016-03-29).

We have divided the application into 7 main areas: Issues, Buy, Sell, Money, Books, Trust and Events.

Issues are about day-to-day actions, follow ups and delegation. Any object (such as a client, booking or supplier’s invoice) may have an issue attached to it, or an issue might exist on its own. Here are some examples of issues:

Externally created issues:

  • An incoming email.
  • A proposal from the website.
  • A voicemail.
  • Feedback from Audience.
  • A scanned document, yet to be classified.

We keep track of internal communication between people within our organisation and external correspondence to customers, producers or suppliers. All external emails are tracked with a unique code, so that if they reply to that email, our system will automatically know which issue to reopen and how to deal with it.

Internally created issues:

  • A reminder to have the fire extinguishers checked.
  • A request to ask a colleague to do something.
  • A personal reminder.

All issues can be postponed or delegated to someone else. When an issue changes, the owner of the issues gets a notification.

There’s also the idea of a Notice. A notice is a message that goes to everyone who has a log in to Master Penny. Each user is required to ‘accept’ a notice.

This section is all about buying stuff. Buying starts with purchase orders. Purchase orders are used to instruct a supplier to deliver some good or service. It could be stock that one might sell again, or it could be any item used in the business including assets.

In terms of stock, we talk about stock items (the things we buy) and products (the things we sell). Note that often these have a 1-to-1 relationship (such as a bottle of beer), but sometimes they are more complex, such as a cocktail. This section is only about acquiring things.

Stock items need to be declared in what quantities we would expect them. For example, a bottle of wine is perhaps bought in 750ml containers and sold in 187ml glasses.

Multiple purchase orders can be created at the same time, with an email going out to each supplier at the same time. A sheet of the outstanding items can be printed so that they can be ticked off as they are delivered.

Once the items have arrived, the supplier will issue an invoice which will we need to capture in Master Penny. This can be done by fulfilling the purchase order. A new purchase invoice is created with the default values. The user can review, make some optional amendments and save.

An ad hoc purchase invoice can also be created for an ad hoc supplier even without a purchase order. Purchase orders are merely there to help keep track of what’s already been ordered.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes an invoice has already been captured by our supplier and if they need to reverse the situation, they will need to capture a purchase credit note. Which does exactly the opposite of a purchase invoice.

Paying the supplier is called a supplier payment, and can be optionally captured while capturing the purchase invoice, or it can be captured later manually, or via the bank reconciliation process.

Stock Items are categories into categories and Master Penny also keeps track of recent cost prices. We also keep track of how the stock is stored in the stock room or on the stock shelf according to various factory layouts. This eases the stock take process.

Let’s sell some products! Selling can include both selling products, but also selling services. They differ a little in the way one captures the data. Items are usually sold via the POS system, which is run separately, but plugs directly (i.e. live) into the Master Penny backend.

Service sales are done via the billing area.

Selling of products is actually divided into POS stuff, like drinks or chocolates, and larger stuff, like furniture or equipment. Larger items will probably be done by creating a sales invoice, while smaller items will be done via the POS which in turn will create the sales invoice.

Sales can be voided at any time from the backend. A void is simply a shortcut for creating a sales credit note for a sales invoice, and possibly reversing the customer payment if one was already made.

For long term debtors, a statement can be created and sent via email, and an age analysis report can be created, and if it comes to that, a bad debt can be recorded against the debtor.

Products are stored in product categories, and are presented as such on the POS.

Recurring scheduled invoiced items are currently in development.

Also under Sell you'll find Mailing Lists. These are for sending out mailers or newsletters to lists of subscribers. Master Penny automaticall joins the customers in a department to the selected mailing list when you select a department.

The money area is about reconciling what we have captured (the invoices and payments) to the actual money we have in the bank, or in our cash box. The cash box statement should show a ZERO balance at the end of the day, and the bank reconciliation report should be empty showing that all the entries are accounted for.

Master Penny assumes that the person capturing the information regarding the purchase invoices is not necessarily the best person to assign it to an actual account. So the account allocation can be done here after the invoices have already been captured.

This account allocation will move the relevant account entries around so that they fall into the correct accounts, making your bookkeeper happy.

Master Penny has the concept of a freeze date. This is a date from when you want to start freezing the data. You can’t change the data before a freeze date. (Actually you can if you must via temporary freeze dates, but it’s very frowned upon) This is to prevent mistakes from creeping into older data.

This area of Master Penny is a little thin, but it handles the basics of amounts owing to staff and basic PAYE and UIF functionality. It also helps you fill in the EMP201 SARS submission.

It also print pretty payslips and keeps track of staff dates and some basic leave recording.

Trust is for Lawyers or Estate Agents who hold money for their clients in Trust.

Events are things for which you sell tickets such as theatre shows. A show takes place in a venue with a seating plan and can have multiple performances. There are also producers who present shows and are paid either a percentage of ticket sales (door deal) or a flat rate or some combination of the two.

A customer may book for a future performance and pay online or they may also simply reserve tickets and pay for them on arrival. We call the latter “todo” bookings. In order to incentivise pre-paying we have facility to be able to charge two prices for every performance - a lower price for prepaid tickets and a higher price if they pay on the night. It is also possible to override the default pricing for the whole show on a per-performance basis - for example you may want to offer discounted previews or charge a higher price for the final few performances.

The information for each show such as title, creative team, genre and blurb are loaded into Master Penny and published via a Wordpress plugin to the public-facing site. There is also the facility to generate from this content a press release and send this to targeted groupings of media contacts - for example journalists who focus on music shows, print journalists or bloggers.

Each producer has a unique link to their producer report which they can check at any time. The producer report shows their ticket sales, deductions and payments made to them. It also shows audience feedback and ratings.

Audience feedback is gathered by an automated mailer which is sent out the morning after any performance to each ticket buyer. Audiences may either simply rate the show out of 5 or they may leave a comment - whichever they prefer.