Lessons from a Rookie Treasurer

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1 Finance and Administration IN THIS ISSUE: Lessons from a Rookie Treasurer Software: Finding the Right Fit Audits: Practicing Internal Controls Pledging: Should Clergy Know? Lessons from a Rookie Treasurer BY TYLER D. SCHLEICHER Life as a church treasurer is tough I know this. After serving as treasurer for St. Anne s in Ankeny, Iowa from 2002 through 2011, I have an appreciation for the difficulties of the role. During that time, I tried a number of things to make the job easier mostly because I didn t know what I was doing (my only previous experience before becoming treasurer was balancing my personal checkbook), but also because I knew there had to be easier method. I m sharing some of my experience in hopes that it might help other novice treasurers. Use Professional Accounting Software I came into this role almost completely blind with no accounting background and less than six months after finding our new church home in Ankeny. When I first started, we were using the ancient DOS-based Episcopal Accounting Software (EAS). Even in 2002, I knew that program was a dinosaur. Something just didn t ring true when I discovered the way to enter an offertory check into the system was a series of coded numbers typed into a blank screen. And when the previous treasurer mentioned that we should be able to get the developer out of retirement long enough to get a version that would load with Windows I didn t need to hear anymore this was a non-starter! So my first major task was to get a professionally supported accounting program set up on the church s computer. I wasn t an accountant and had never really used any accounting software.. I had a ton of things to learn in addition to getting the software and books updated.

2 Intuit s Quickbooks was our first purchase. Once it was loaded I set up the accounts similar to the EAS system. Quickbooks accounting software package was great at handling basic accounting stuff, but was clearly NOT sufficient for the church needs alone. Specifically, there was no built in method for tracking pledges and donations. I tried to set something up but nothing worked. We heard about and attended a demonstration for ServantPC s Servant Keeper software. This was the missing link. Servant Keeper was designed to handle donations and church deposits on a weekly basis and then export directly into Quickbooks. We use Quickbooks for budgets, vestry reports, bills, checks, and multiple accounts and types and Servant Keeper for membership management, donation and pledge tracking (which is almost always multiple accounts per offertory), addresses, and other pertinent parishioner info. From our perspective, these programs were reasonably priced. We purchased Quickbooks Basic for around $100 (we ve tried premier and Non-Profit and didn t find them worth the additional fees). We started with the small-church version of ServantKeeper, also around $100, but later upgraded to the 250-member version to handle visitors, all family members, and external donors. I think that was an additional $100. BUT, we only upgrade once every 3-4 years so these fees are well worth it. Both are easy to use and train on, professionally supported with call-in support, and work well together to make a treasurer s job much easier! Implement Automatic Withdrawal One day I looked at my personal checkbook and realized that I wrote checks for church and that was about it. It was inconvenient to look for my checkbook on Sundays before church and with inconsistent attendance, I occasionally found myself weeks behind on my pledge. It s embarrassing for a treasurer to admit that But, being the treasurer I did have some say in how we might be able to fix this. I wondered if others had the same problem. I discovered that our pledge performance ranged from 80% to 93% on an annual basis for all pledges combined in the church. Not only did this wild variation from yearto-year wreak havoc on budgets, it also represented a significant reduction of our annual planned income. For example, in 2008 our actual was $19,000 short of the pledged amount and $15,000 less in Not only were these large numbers, they varied by thousands of dollars from year to year with apparent randomness. To account for this we plotted the historic results and settled on an average shortfall to use for our budget figures, using 92.5% for several years. More frequent statements to parishioners helped but the yearly income was still anyone s guess. We could see what was happening in the winter some folks stay home due to the weather. In the summer, folks take vacations. And when people fell behind by too much, they were unlikely to make it up. At home, I had switched all of my bills to automatic withdrawal. The basic concept of automatic withdrawal is that a person can allow a business or institution to automatically deduct prespecified amounts directly from a bank account at periodic intervals. I was comfortable with that system and knew this would make life easier for me personally as a parishioner. The church leadership team was interested in exploring an automatic withdrawal system for paying pledges. A key barrier was the spiritual aspect of giving in our liturgical church: If parishioners don t put their pledge offerings into the offering plate, how would PAGE 2

3 their offerings get blessed? I was stumped until I discovered the colorful I give electronically laminated cards (http://www.ecfvp. org/yourturn/electronic-givingcard-for-offering-plate/) used at our local Methodist church. These cards gave parishioners something to put in the offertory plate that could then be blessed with the other offerings. Our next step was talking with our local bank about helping us set this up. When they didn t seem interested, we decided to look elsewhere. After talking with other local banks, we found one that offered this service for a nominal fee and felt like a good fit with the church. We worked with this new bank to move our accounts and set up automatic withdrawals for our church. Several of us were trained to set up the forms with parishioners and how to request changes, additions, or deletions. Because the forms weren t designed for church use, they were somewhat confusing to parishioners. To facilitate sign-ups, the secretary and I filled in most of each form, with parishioners filling in the amount, providing a cancelled check, and signing their names. To keep the bank fees low, we offer up to twice a month automatic withdrawals (first and fifteenth of the month). In the first year, 40% of our parishioners signed up; the system has been virtually problemfree. There was an immediate and positive - change in our pledge income and a new stability in our budget. Before automatic withdrawal we had some lean months when we would delay paying salaries, but not after. Today, around 60% of our pledge members use automatic withdrawal. Not everyone is comfortable giving this way, but it s okay because many of these members are regular attendees. As of 2013, we have three consecutive years with pledge income above 100%. With 100% coming in regularly, we no longer utilize theoretical percentages for pledge income budgeting. Instead, we use the exact dollar amount pledged (which equates to thousands more in our income part of the budget). There is still uncertainty on the loose plate income, but this has proven to be more stable over the years and also only equates to a fraction of the pledged figure. Learn to delegate, responsibly Shortly after becoming treasurer, I found it was taking about four hours a week to get everything done. That did not include worship and other church time and I quickly noticed that my new job was competing with other important priorities. One in particular was my new bride. I had no intention of making this treasurer gig into a long-term position but I also didn t really know what to do to fix the problem. I had committed to doing the job and was only starting to understand everything I was supposed to do. But it couldn t go on this way for much longer and no new treasurers were lining up to take over for me. The first thing that helped was identifying the things I was responsible for as a treasurer. In the event of getting hit by a bus, the next treasurer would need to know what to do. Here s a basic list of the things that seemed to fall under my jurisdiction: Weekly deposits and offertory tracking Weekly check writing and bill paying Weekly account monitoring and transfers to/from savings Monthly vestry treasurer reports Monthly bank reconciliation Monthly salary checks and pulling appropriate withholdings Quarterly pledge statements to pledgers Quarterly tax filings for employee tax withholdings Annual Meeting treasurer report Annual W-2 forms to all employees PAGE 3

4 Annual budget creation Annual Parochial Report filing (financial portion) Ensuring completion of annual audit There was a lot of responsibility, and a few duties that were more stressful than others. These were the tasks that, based on my limited background, I had no business doing like figuring out the withholdings and W-2 forms at the end of the year. I started asking around and found our church had a tie with a local accounting company who had done our audits in the past. After talking with them, they offered what I can only describe as a true gift from heaven. They would be willing to handle the tax portion of the church for us and take the W-2s at the end of the year off my hands. That was a huge relief because I really didn t feel qualified to do those tasks. The list of tasks shrunk by a couple of items and I was on my way to making this role sustainable. A few years later, our church hired a secretary. Another blessing. After she was in the position for about six months and a certain level of trust achieved, I started to transition some of the weekly treasurer duties to her. We took it slow and made sure that her hours could accommodate the new work. With this training period, she was able to take on the weekly responsibilities, within her original working hours. I continued to help whenever difficulties popped up and I periodically monitor the accounts. Before, handling the offertory deposits alone would take a halfhour or more each Sunday; time my family did not really want to share. The offertory cash presented a security question that we wrestled with before arriving at a solution. Our new process has a vestry member count the loose cash from each offertory (a task that usually only takes 5 minutes), marking it in a notebook. This figure is later compared to the cash deposit made by the secretary to ensure no cash was lost from offertory to the bank. The net result of this delegation was that I now had more time with my family and their resentment about the position faded. Our secretary felt she was doing more meaningful work for the church and that she was trusted and valued. Once these changes were made, the remaining treasurer duties that I personally needed to accomplish included: Monthly vestry meeting treasurer reports Monthly salary checks and appropriate withholdings Annual Meeting treasurer report Annual budget creation Annual Parochial Report filing (financial portion) Ensuring completion of annual audit I was finally able to dedicate more energy towards strategically important treasury tasks. For example, the vestry was really interested in hearing about giving and pledging trends, what it costs to keep the doors open, and what a typical pledge was worth in our parish. Armed with this information, the vestry was in a much better position to assess the health of the church and make decisions accordingly. One advantage of a donation-based business is that commitment and engagement can be quantified, to some degree, by the trends in numbers of pledgers and total pledged dollars. It can be difficult to use data to make church decisions in most cases, but these trends can help and should not be ignored. The treasurer role can and should be as a top advisor to the church leadership. It should NOT be looked at as a check-writer and offertory counter. To perform the treasurer position at its best, you will need to identify and focus on those parts of the role that most matter to the health of your PAGE 4

5 church. Find the tools that make the job easier, do everything you can to make life easier for donors, and delegate tasks so you can focus on what matters. Tyler D. Schleicher is senior warden at St. Anne s Episcopal Church in Ankeny, Iowa. Try This What s the variance between pledges and actual payments for your congregation? Are you budgeting based on pledges or on the actual amount received in prior years? Go through your records and calculate your pledge performance over the past few years. Share this information with members of your congregation and explore ways to close the gap such as offering automatic withdrawals for pledge payments. Print out the image of St. Anne s I give electronically card [http://www. ecfvp.org/yourturn/electronicgiving-card-for-offering-plate/] and share how it is used to ensure that everyone s offering is blessed. Resources Basics of Parish Finances, ECF webinar org/webinars/basics-of-parishfinances/ Discretionary Funds: Guiding Principles by Gerald Keucher, ECF Vital Practices Episcopal Church Manual of Business Affairs ecfvp.org/tools/manual-ofbusiness-methods-in-churchaffairs/ I give electronically card template yourturn/electronic-givingcard-for-offering-plate/ QuickBooks com Servant PC s Servant Keeper Taking Care of Business by Anne Ditzler, ECF Vital Practices org/tools/manual-of-businessmethods-in-church-affairs/ What Vestry Members Need to Know About Church Finances, The Episcopal Diocese of Newark resources/vu%20session%20 C-7%20Finance%20 Presentation.pdf PAGE 5

6 Lecciones de un Tesorero Novato POR TYLER D. SCHLEICHER La vida de un tesorero de iglesia es dura lo sé por experiencia propia. El haber sido tesorero de St. Anne s en Ankeny, Iowa, desde 2002 hasta fines de 2011, me enseñó las dificultades del rol. Durante ese tiempo probé un número de cosas para facilitar mi trabajo, principalmente porque no sabía lo que estaba haciendo (mi única experiencia antes de ser tesorero había sido hacer cuadrar mi chequera), pero también porque sabía que tenía que haber un método más sencillo. Comparto algunas de mis experiencias con la esperanza de que puedan ayudar a otros tesoreros novatos. Use software profesional de contabilidad Vine a este trabajo casi completamente a ciegas sin conocimientos de contabilidad y menos de seis meses después de haber encontrado nuestro nuevo hogar eclesiástico en Ankeny. Cuando recién empecé estábamos usando el antiquísimo software Contabilidad Episcopal basado en DOS. Algo simplemente no tenía sentido cuando descubrí que la manera de ingresar un cheque de la colecta al sistema era una serie de números codificados en una pantalla en blanco. Y cuando el tesorero anterior mencionó que deberíamos pedirle al programador jubilado que volviera a trabajar por un tiempo para obtener una versión que se pudiera cargar empleando Windows 2000, esa fue la gota que rebalsó el vaso. Necesitaba informarme más, esa no era manera de empezar. Así que mi primera gran tarea fue instalar un programa de contabilidad respaldado profesionalmente en la computadora de la iglesia. Yo no era contador y jamás había usado un software de contabilidad. Tenía montones de cosas que aprender, además de actualizar el software y los libros. Nuestra primera compra fue Intuit s Quickbooks. Una vez que estuvo cargado organicé las cuentas de manera similar al Sistema de Contabilidad Episcopal. El paquete de software Quickbooks era excelente para la contabilidad básica, pero claramente NO era suficiente por sí solo para las necesidades de la iglesia. Específicamente, no tenía un método incorporado para dar seguimiento a las promesas de donativos y a los donativos. Traté de incorporar algo, pero nada funcionó. Oímos sobre una demostración del software ServantPC s Servant Keeper y asistimos a ella. Ese era el eslabón perdido Servant Keeper estaba diseñado para manejar donativos y depósitos de la iglesia semanalmente y después exportarlos directamente a Quickbooks. Usamos Quickbooks para presupuestos, informes de la junta parroquial, cuentas, cheques y múltiples cuentas y tipos y Servant Keeper para gestionar y dar seguimiento a los miembros, los donativos y las promesas de donativos (que en la mayoría de los casos requiere cuentas múltiples por ofertorio), direcciones y otra información pertinente sobre los feligreses. Desde nuestra perspectiva, el precio de estos programas era razonable. Compramos Quick- PAGE 6

7 books Basic por unos $100 (probamos las versiones Premier y Non-Profit y no nos pareció que justificaban el costo adicional). Empezamos con la versión de iglesia pequeña de ServantKeeper, también por unos $100, pero después pasamos a la versión de 250 miembros para manejar a los visitantes, a todos los miembros de la familia y a los donantes externos. Creo que costó otros $100, pero sólo actualizamos una vez cada 3 ó 4 años, así que esos costos bien valieron la pena. Ambos son fáciles de usar y de enseñar a usar, están respaldados profesionalmente por teléfono y funcionan bien juntos para facilitar muchísimo el trabajo. Implemente retiros automáticos Un día me fijé en mi chequera personal y vi que había girado cheques para la iglesia y que eso era todo. No me resultaba cómodo buscar mi chequera los domingos antes del servicio religioso y debido a que no siempre asistía, de tanto en tanto me encontraba semanas atrasado en mi promesa de donativos. Es embarazoso para un tesorero admitirlo. Pero, siendo el tesorero, tenía algo que decir sobre cómo podríamos solucionar este problema. Me pregunté si otros tenían ese mismo problema y descubrí que el cumplimiento de nuestras promesas de donativos oscilaba anualmente entre el 80% y el 93% para todas las promesas de donativos combinadas de la iglesia. No sólo esa gran variación causaba anualmente una gran confusión en los presupuestos, sino que también representaba una reducción significativa de nuestro ingreso planificado. Por ejemplo, en 2008 nuestra cifra real fue $19,000 inferior a la cifra prometida y $15,000 inferior en No sólo esas eran grandes cifras, sino que variaban en miles de dólares de un año al otro aparentemente al azar. Para tener eso en cuenta graficamos los resultados históricos y por varios años empleamos cifras del 92.5% para nuestros presupuestos. Enviar liquidaciones más frecuentemente a los feligreses ayudó, pero nadie sabía a ciencia cierta cuál sería el ingreso anual. Podíamos ver lo que estaba pasando: en el invierno alguna gente se quedaba en su casa a causa del tiempo. En el verano la gente sale de vacaciones. Y cuando la gente se atrasaba mucho, era poco probable que lo repusiera. En casa cambié todas mis cuentas a retiros automáticos. El concepto básico del retiro automático es que una persona puede permitir que una empresa o una institución deduzcan automáticamente cantidades de dinero especificadas con anterioridad directamente de su cuenta bancaria a intervalos periódicos. Yo me sentía cómodo con el método y sabía que eso me facilitaría la vida personalmente como feligrés. El equipo de liderazgo de la iglesia estaba interesado en explorar un sistema de retiros automáticos para pagar las promesas de donativos. Uno de los principales impedimentos era el aspecto espiritual de donar en nuestra iglesia litúrgica: si los feligreses no ponían sus donativos en el plato del ofertorio, cómo se bendecirían sus donativos? No sabía qué hacer hasta que descubrí las coloridas tarjetas laminadas que decían Dono electrónicamente ( I give electronically ), en (http://www.ecfvp.org/yourturn/ electronic-giving-card-for-offeringplate/) empleadas por la Iglesia Metodista local. Estas tarjetas dan a los feligreses algo que poner en el plato de la colecta que posteriormente podría ser bendecido con los demás donativos. Nuestro próximo paso fue hablar con nuestro banco local para que nos ayudara a instalar este método. Cuando no parecieron estar interesados, decidimos acudir a otra parte. Después de haber hablado con otros bancos locales, encontramos uno que ofrecía este servicio por una pequeña cantidad y que parecía cuadrar bien con la iglesia. PAGE 7

8 Trabajamos con este nuevo banco para trasladar las cuentas e instalar retiros automáticos para nuestra iglesia. Varios de nosotros recibimos capacitación para preparar los formularios con los feligreses y el método para solicitar cambios y añadir o borrar información. Debido a que los formularios no estaban diseñados para uso en iglesias, eran un poco confusos para los feligreses. Para facilitar la inscripción, el secretario y yo llenamos casi todos los formularios, dejando que los feligreses pusieran la cantidad, nos entregaran un cheque cancelado y firmaran sus nombres. Para mantener las cuotas del banco bajas, ofrecimos retiros automáticos hasta dos veces por mes (el primero y el quince de cada mes). El primer año, el 40% de nuestros feligreses se inscribió; el sistema prácticamente no había tenido problemas. Hubo un cambio inmediato y positivo en nuestro ingreso de promesas de donativos y una nueva estabilidad en nuestro presupuesto. Antes de los retiros automáticos habíamos tenido ciertos meses en que la escasez de fondos nos había forzado a aplazar el pago de sueldos, pero ese problema había desaparecido. En la actualidad, cerca del 60% de nuestros feligreses que prometieron donativos emplea los retiros automáticos. No todos se sienten cómodos donando de esta manera, pero está bien, porque muchos de sus miembros asisten regularmente a la iglesia. En 2013, habíamos tenido tres años consecutivos con ingresos de promesas de donativos que superaron el 100%. Con el 100% entrando regularmente, no teníamos que utilizar más porcentajes teóricos de ingresos de promesas de donativos para preparar nuestros presupuestos. En lugar de ello, empleamos la cantidad exacta prometida (que equivale a miles de dólares más en la parte de nuestro presupuesto proveniente de nuestros ingresos). Todavía hay algo de incertidumbre en el ingreso de la colecta dominical, pero esto ha demostrado ser más estable a lo largo de los años y, además, es sólo una parte menor de la cifra de donativos. Aprenda a delegar responsablemente Poco después de convertirme en tesorero, hallé que estaba dedicando más de cuatro horas semanales a hacer todas las cosas que había que hacer. Eso no incluía el culto y otro tiempo que dedicaba a la iglesia, y noté rápidamente que mi nuevo empleo estaba compitiendo con otras prioridades importantes. Una de ellas era mi nueva esposa. Yo no tenía ninguna intención de que esta tarea de tesorero se convirtiera en un puesto a largo plazo, pero tampoco sabía cómo resolver el problema. Me había comprometido a hacer el trabajo y recién ahora estaba empezando a entender todo lo que tenía que hacer. Pero no podía continuar de esta manera por mucho más tiempo y no había nuevos tesoreros ansiosos por ocupar mi puesto. Lo primero que ayudó fue identificar las cosas de las cuales yo era responsable como tesorero. Si me atropellara un autobús, el próximo tesorero tendría que saber qué hacer. Aquí hay una lista básica de las cosas que parecían caer bajo mi jurisdicción: Depósitos semanales y seguimiento de la colecta dominical Girar cheques y pagar cuentas semanalmente Supervisar semanalmente las cuentas y las transferencias de y a los ahorros Preparar informes mensuales para la junta parroquial Reconciliar mensualmente la cuenta bancaria Preparar los cheques de pago mensuales y efectuar las retenciones correspondientes Enviar liquidaciones trimestrales a los que prometieron donativos Preparar planillas de impuestos trimestralmente relativas a las retenciones impositivas de los empleados Preparar el informe del tesorero para la reunión anual. PAGE 8

9 Enviar anualmente formularios W-2 a todos los empleados Preparar el presupuesto anual Preparar la parte financiera del informe anual a la parroquia Asegurar que se complete la auditoría anual Esa era mucha responsabilidad y algunas de las tareas eran más estresantes que otras. Ésas eran las tareas que, a causa de mis conocimientos limitados, no debería haber estado haciendo, cómo calcular las retenciones impositivas y preparar los formularios W-2 a fin de año. Empecé a preguntar y vi que nuestra Iglesia tenía un vínculo con una compañía de contabilidad local que había realizado nuestras auditorías en el pasado. Después de hablar con ellos, ofrecieron lo que puedo describir como un verdadero don del cielo. Estaban dispuestos a ocuparse de la parte impositiva de la iglesia y a preparar los formularios W-2 a fin de año. Ese fue un enorme alivio, porque realmente no sentía que tenía la capacidad suficiente para realizar esas tareas. La lista de tareas se había reducido en un par de cosas y ahora estaba camino a hacer que mi papel fuera más sustentable. Pocos años después nuestra Iglesia tomó una secretaria. Otra bendición. Después de haber estado en su puesto por unos seis meses y de haberse alcanzado un cierto nivel de confianza, empecé a pasarle algunas de las tareas semanales del tesorero. Lo hizo lentamente y aseguró que sus horas pudieran incorporar la nueva carga de trabajo. Gracias a este período de capacitación pudo adoptar ciertas responsabilidades semanales dentro de su horario de trabajo original. Yo seguí ayudándola cuando tenía dificultades y repasando periódicamente las cuentas. Anteriormente, ocuparme de los depósitos de la colecta dominical me llevaba media hora o más todos los domingos, un tiempo que mi familia realmente no quería compartir. El dinero en efectivo de la colecta dominical representaba un problema de seguridad con el cual luchamos antes de llegar a una solución. En nuestro nuevo proceso, un miembro de la junta parroquial cuenta el dinero en efectivo de la colecta (una tarea que por lo general lleva cinco minutos) y escribe la cifra en un cuaderno. Esa cifra se compara posteriormente con los depósitos de dinero en efectivo realizados por la secretaria, para asegurar que no se pierda ni un céntimo entre la colecta y el banco. El resultado neto de haber delegado esta tarea fue que ahora tenía más tiempo para pasar con mi familia y ellos no se sentían tan resentidos sobre mi ocupación. Nuestra secretaria sintió que estaba haciendo un trabajo más significativo para la iglesia y que se confiaba en ella y se la valoraba. Una vez que se efectuaron esos cambios, las tareas de tesorero que yo seguía teniendo que hacer personalmente fueron las siguientes: Informes mensuales del tesorero a la junta parroquial Cheques de sueldo mensuales con sus retenciones correspondientes Informe del tesorero para la reunión anual Preparación del presupuesto anual Preparación de la parte financiera del informe anual a la parroquia Asegurar que se complete la auditoría anual Lo mejor de todo es que por fin puedo dedicar más energía a tareas de tesorería de mayor importancia estratégica. Por ejemplo, la junta parroquial estaba muy interesada en oír sobre las tendencias de donar y de promesas de donativos, así como el costo de mantener las puertas abiertas y el monto de una promesa de donativo típica en nuestra parroquia. Al tener esta información, la junta parroquial estuvo en mucha mejor posición de evaluar la salud de nuestra Iglesia y de tomar decisiones en consecuencia. Una de las ventajas importantes de una empresa basada en donativos es que el compromiso y la participación se pueden cuantificar, en cierta medida, por las tendencias en los números de feligreses que prometen donativos y en las cantidades totales prometidas. PAGE 9

10 En la mayoría de los casos puede ser difícil usar datos para tomar decisiones eclesiásticas, pero esas tendencias pueden ayudar y no se deben ignorar. El papel del tesorero puede y debe ser el de principal asesor del liderazgo de la iglesia. No se debe considerar como alguien que se limita a girar cheques y a contar la colecta. Para desempeñar el papel del tesorero al máximo, usted tendrá que identificar las partes de ese papel que más cuenten para la salud de su iglesia y concentrarse en ellas. Encuentre las herramientas que le facilitarán el trabajo, haga todo lo que esté a su alcance para facilitarles la vida a los donantes y delegue tareas, para que se pueda concentrar en lo que realmente importe. Tyler D. Schleicher es coadjutor senior de St. Anne s Episcopal Church en Ankeny, Iowa. Pruebe lo siguiente Cuál es la diferencia entre las promesas de donativos y los donativos reales en su feligresía? Está preparando su presupuesto basándose en promesas o en la cantidad que recibió en años anteriores? Fíjese en sus datos y calcule el desempeño de las promesas de donativos en los últimos varios años anteriores. Comparta esa información con miembros de su feligresía y explore maneras de cerrar la brecha, por ejemplo ofreciendo retiros automáticos para cumplir con las promesas de donativos. Imprima la imagen de la tarjeta de St. Anne s Dono automáticamente ( I give electronically ), en [http://www. ecfvp.org/yourturn/electronicgiving-card-for-offering-plate/] y comparta cómo se usa para asegurar que todos los donativos estén bendecidos. Recursos Basics of Parish Finances, ECF webinar org/webinars/basics-of-parishfinances/ Discretionary Funds: Guiding Principles por Gerald Keucher, ECF Vital Practices La Iglesia Episcopal Manual de Métodos Administrativos org/es/page/manual-de-métodos-administrativos Modelo de tarjeta I give electronically ( Dono electrónicamente ) yourturn/electronic-givingcard-for-offering-plate/ QuickBooks com Servant PC s Servant Keeper Taking Care of Business por Anne Ditzler, ECF Vital Practices org/tools/manual-of-businessmethods-in-church-affairs/ What Vestry Members Need to Know About Church Finance, la Diócesis Episcopal de Newark resources/vu%20session%20 C-7%20Finance%20 Presentation.pdf PAGE 10

11 Editor s Letter Thank you. While this may seem an odd way to start an editor s letter, I m eager to show my appreciation for all of the ECF Vital Practices and Vestry Papers bloggers and contributors, Facebook and Twitter followers, readers and subscribers, and those of you who have filled out our reader surveys or contacted me with feedback. Why? Because all of you played a part in creating the online resource that is ECF Vital Practices. And, because at the recent Episcopal Communicators and Associated Church Press conference, ECF Vital Practices was awarded the Award of Excellence, Best In Class/Online: Independent Website by the Associated Church Press. The mobile version of the site was recognized with an Award of Merit, Best In Class/ Online: Digital Edition/Mobile Publication. So, let me say it again, thank you. We couldn t have done it without you. You share your stories, your ideas, your questions, and your comments. You remind us of your need for practical resources and you ask for guidance in building stronger leadership teams, managing change, and visioning and planning. And when we ask for your help, you also deliver. For our May 2014 Vestry Papers, we ve invited experts from dioceses and congregations to share the basics related to some very practical things: audits, how to select accounting software, and things the treasurer should know. And, shifting focus a bit, we invited our ECF financial resources consultants to respond to a question we received related to pledging. In this Vestry Papers: As a new treasurer, Tyler Schleicher quickly discovered that he needed to get up to speed quickly and, at the same time, find ways to make the role more manageable (translation: less time consuming). In Lessons from a Rookie Treasurer he shares some observations and suggestions that helped him during his tenure as treasurer. Also in Spanish. The accounting software that works so well for one church may be unmanageable for another. In Accounting Software: Finding the Right Fit, Phyllis Jones offers descriptions of the three most popular packages in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey and shares what congregations should consider when making this decision. Martha Goodwill s Audits: Practicing Internal Controls reminds congregational leaders of the value of having and practicing good internal controls. She offers four specific actions every congregation should adopt. Also in Spanish. Opinions vary as to whether or not ordained leaders of faith communities should be familiar with what parishioners are pledging. In Pledging: Should Clergy Know? Erin Weber- Johnson reached out to her church campaign colleagues and asked them to share their experiences, pro and con. Also in Spanish. 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that the body of Christ is made up of many interdependent parts. In the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Episcopalians PAGE 11

12 model this ministry through the congregational consultants program. Who Can You Call by Chris Meyers shares how his diocese actively links volunteer consultants with business, financial, or leadership experience with congregations in need of assistance. Does your congregation have an endowment? Are you think ing of starting one? In Endowments, ECF consultant Lynn Mander outlines the key issues congregations should consider when planning for and creating an endowment. Also in Spanish. Regular evaluation of all of a church s insurance policies is an important part of the vestry s responsibilities, In For Things Done and Left Undone Steve Follos looks at the various types of liability insurance that every congregation should consider. We never know when a disaster might strike. In Help When You Need It Steve Follos of The Church Insurance Company, offers recommendations for vestries to consider when evaluating property and casualty insurance plans. Following the Try This recommendation is a list of related resources. Diocesan websites are a rich source of resources related to congregational finances and administration. If your diocese or congregation has resources you d like to share, please me with the link or if you ve a subscriber, add it to the site using the Your Turn feature and click on the Make a Submission button. Not a subscriber? It s easy; look for, and click on the Subscribe button in the top right hand corner of the homepage: org. And, please to share this issue of Vestry Papers with others in your congregation, along with an invitation to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices and Vestry Papers. Subscriptions are free; visit ECFVP.org and click on the Subscribe tab on the upper right hand corner of this page. New subscribers are asked to fill out a short registration form to have Vestry Papers and ECF Vital Practices content delivered twice a month to your inbox. Faithfully, Nancy Nancy Davidge PS: To make it easier to find the resources offered through ECF Vital Practices, please consider adding a link to ECF Vital Practices to your website. Here s how: Using your websites add a link tool, insert our full URL PPS: Do you live in an area with limited Internet access? If you have a smart phone, consider browsing ECF Vital Practices from your mobile device; the site has been optimized for smart phones which makes it easier to search for content. PAGE 12

13 Accounting Software: The Right Fit BY PHYLLIS JONES Building Teams on Trust. Lay-Clergy Partnerships. Entrepreneurial Clergy. Empowered Laity. Effective Communication. What do all of these things have in common? a) They are all subjects of recent Vestry Papers articles b) They are all critical to re-imagining ourselves as church c) They are all highly dependent on clear, accurate, transparent financial information to make them effective d) All of the above If your answer was d), congratulations! All the more reason you need financial accounting software that serves you, not the other way around. So what s in your toolkit? Need a few suggestions? Here you go: ACS (from ACS Technologies) ACS is a very popular, higher-end, church-specific modular system with the potential to take care of your church management and financial needs from soup to nuts, depending upon how many of the modules you choose. Along with that comes pricing flexibility, with the ability to choose modules from basic accounting to sophisticated financial, property, and memberrelations management, commensurate with your budget. Users particularly love its comprehensive database capabilities for tracking both members and pledges, its full integration with the financial modules eliminating double entry and errors, its ability to send pledge statements by directly from the program, and its ability to provide clear statements for such problematic items as amounts pledged in one year and paid in a subsequent year while seamlessly accounting for and reporting on those amounts properly. Fund accounting capability, accounting controls, and financial reporting are also strengths, as is built-in capacity for church-specific reporting such as the Parochial Report. Finally, customer service gets raves as well. Caveats include cost (not posted on their website-you need to speak with someone for a quote) and complexity. This is not an intuitive program. It involves significant setup and some level of bookkeeping sophistication to reap the value it s capable of providing. If you don t have sustainable, consistent access to qualified users, this is not the software for you. QuickBooks (from Intuit) One of the most extensively used accounting software packages on the market, QuickBooks is a midrange system with all accounting functions fully integrated. While add-ons are required for such items as member-relations management, QuickBooks huge market share ensures there are many choices with which it will integrate, including a long list of new apps that Intuit has designed for the QuickBooks online version. While it offers a version tailored to nonprofits, it is not church specific, and while it is not set up for fund accounting, its class-tracking system can be used as a workaround in many situations. QuickBooks immense popularity stems primarily from the highly intuitive nature of how it functions. Even volunteers with little accounting background can maneuver through routine accounting func- PAGE 13

14 tions with very little training, and many people are already familiar with the program from having used it in business. This vastly increases the pool of potential financial volunteers within any congregation. QuickBooks is also one of the most reasonably priced systems on the market. Combine those two key benefits and it s easy to understand why QuickBooks is so popular with our small-to-medium sized churches. Standard reporting is as easy to use and navigate as the routine accounting functions, yet highly customizable for those who wish to tailor reports to specific needs. Users also give high marks to customer service. Two main drawbacks exist. First, some workarounds are necessary to do church-specific functions (like pledge statements) directly from the program without integrated add-ons or apps. One very good resource to help you learn QuickBooks is Lisa London s book, QuickBooks for Churches and Other Religious Organizations. Check out two tools from that book which Lisa has recorded on YouTube: Using QuickBooks for Churches and Donor Thank-You s in QuickBooks. Second, transactions in QuickBooks can be edited very easily, including transactions in prior periods. This is wonderful for users who don t have to worry about closed periods when posting, but a cause for concern among accountants and auditors who must take extra steps to ensure consistency from one period to the next. Church Windows (from Computer Helper Publishing) Another long-time player in the Church Management software market, Church Windows started out with a definite focus in the member-management area, gradually adding and upgrading its financial accounting capabilities. It seems to seek to combine the modular approach of ACS (without quite the same level of sophistication) with the intuitive appeal of QuickBooks (without quite the same level of user-friendliness). Its market share and company size are much smaller than either of the previous two, but it still receives very good overall ratings for functionality and customer service. In my experience with our congregations in the Diocese of New Jersey, these are the three most popular programs currently in use. But they are far from the only choices out there. For a great comprehensive analysis of the wider market, including links to each individual website, visit Capterra.com. Then find the right tools to turn your system into the resource you and your congregation deserve! Phyllis Jones is chief financial officer for the Diocese of New Jersey. Try This Are you familiar with The Episcopal Church s Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs? CandC_FINAL_ pdf and Canon 7 of The Episcopal Church: Of Business Methods in Church Affairs? episcopalarchives.org/e-archives/ canons/candc_final_ pdf Episcopal Church canons have very specific requirements for how congregations manage their monetary assets. For a quick overview, read William Doubleday s Knowledge is Power. governance/knowledge-is-power/. The next step is up to you. Resources ACS (from ACS Technologies) Canon 7: Of Business Methods in Church Affairs episcopalarchives. org/e-archives/canons/candc_ FINAL_ pdf PAGE 14

15 Church Windows (from Computer Helper Publishing) Donor Thank-You s in QuickBooks YouTube video by Lisa London https://www.you- tube.com/watch?v=oj7wl- GNFqQ Knowledge is Power by William Doubleday, Vestry Papers, May ecfvp.org/vestrypapers/governance/knowledge-is-power/ Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs ecfvp.org/tools/manual-ofbusiness-methods-in-churchaffairs/ Overview of accounting programs Capterra.com QuickBooks com QuickBooks for Churches and Other Religious Organizations by Lisa London quickbooks-for-churches-andother-religious-organizationspaperback.html Using QuickBooks for Churches YouTube video by Lisa London https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=idaib6elnwy PAGE 15

16 Audits: Practicing Internal Controls BY MARTHA GOODWILL On this day, the rector opened the mail. For almost 30 years, St. Harriett s had the same treasurer. He opened all the mail, wrote all the checks, and reconciled all the back accounts. He made sure bills were paid and even helped the church begin to grow an endowment. But on this day, the rector opened the mail and what he found eventually amounted to a huge, almost insurmountable, IRS debt. Payroll tax deposits were not made. This was a very hard lesson to learn on internal controls. But, internal controls are the single most important area for an audit to cover. With small, mostly volunteer staffs, many of our churches rely on the same, small pool of parishioners to staff the church office year after year. In most cases, this proves to work well and cause no issues, but when there are issues, they can result in serious consequences. What do we mean by internal controls? These four recommended actions are a good place to start: Listening Many times in audits, listening is as important as reviewing the flow of paper. Listening to the narrative of how Sunday collections are handled, for instance, can reveal that there is only one person counting the plate, recording the contributions in the parishioner records, and taking the money to the bank. This is an obvious example of internal control weakness, but adding just one or two additional parishioners to the job of handling the Sunday collections, can greatly safeguard not only the cash but also the accuracy of parishioner records. Likewise, with cash disbursements, what is the narrative for paying the bills? Reading If the audit procedures you are using allow for narration in your answers, then reading through the previous year s audit and the accompanying suggestions made by the previous year s auditor can reveal insight to help you with the current audit. If suggestions have not been followed, then find out why not. As the current year audit progresses, you may find an alternative solution to the suggestions posed in the previous year. Another good source of insight is the vestry and other committee minutes. By reading these minutes you can see the flow of the year, what difficulties or blessings came upon the parish. The minutes can give you a good overall view before you dig into the details of the paperwork and can point toward areas that might need more review. If the vestry is reviewing the monthly financial statements, as they should be, then budget to actual variances will be explained in either the vestry or finance committee minutes. Knowing the reasons behind these variances can also highlight areas needing more attention. Combining Did you know that any separate entities, which derive their status from the church, should be included in the annual church audit? These would include entities such as the Episcopal Church Women, thrift shops, schools, parking lot rental, memorial funds, endowment funds, and all sorts of restricted funds. These entities often have their own checking PAGE 16

17 accounts, the activity of which should be combined with the church on the year-end financial statements. Sometimes a hidden source of support for the church may come from one of these entities. Analysis and understanding of the flow of funds can be a surprise to many church leaders. It is important to know if the church is supporting itself from its own pledge and plate or if it is relying too heavily on other sources of support. The opposite is also very important to know, is the church underwriting the activities of one of these other entities to the detriment of the church s own health? In the end, it is important to see how all of the parts work together so that a clear picture of the financial health of all of the entities can be understood. Follow through Back to [the opening paragraph about] St. Harriett s and their payroll dilemma. Better internal controls could have prevented such a catastrophe. But, if the auditors had followed the payroll transactions all the way through to the bank they could also have caught the fact that the payroll tax deposits had not been made. Payroll transactions can be complicated and often a very cursory look is given to this part of the audit. However, this area is where our churches have a very real tax liability. Filing the proper returns and making the proper tax deposits is imperative. The auditor should insist that the responsible staff person walk them through all the transactions, with whatever proof is necessary to assure that deposits have been made and returns have been filed. The best way for a church to protect itself at a very reasonable price is to out-source its payroll processing to Episcopal Payroll Services. This way the burden of correct reporting and payment is removed from the small pool of employees and volunteers. So, on this day, and on all the other days to follow, look for and implement good internal controls. Auditing is meant to give assurance that all the i s are dotted and the t s are crossed so that the church can get on with its missions and ministry in the world. Martha Goodwill works as the Parish Administration Resource for the Diocese of Southwest Florida. In this position, she serves as a consultant to the 77 parishes in the diocese on all administrative issues. Try This Try This: At their fall 2013 Vestry University, the Episcopal Diocese of Newark offered a workshop, I m On the Vestry What You Need to Know About Your Church s Finances. (http:// default/files/resources/vu%20 Session%20C-7%20Finance%20 Presentation.pdf) ECF Vital Practices recommends vestry members review the slides from this presentation, asking the questions: 1. Are you familiar with the topics presented? 2. Does your congregation follow these practices and recommendations? 3. Do you know or can you easily find the answers to the questions posed about your congregation s finances? 4. Does your congregation have any red flag items? And if so, will you take steps to put the necessary red flag controls in place? Resources A Year in the Life of a Vestry by Martha Goodwill uploads/a_year_in_the_life_ of_a_vestry.pdf PAGE 17

18 Audits and Internal Control audit/internal.shtml Audit Manual, Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, org/files/audit_program_26th_ cover.pdf Church Affairs ecfvp.org/tools/manual-ofbusiness-methods-in-churchaffairs/ Diocese of Southwest Florida Committee Audit Procedures dfc_attachments/public/ documents/ /swfl_ Audit_Committee_Procedures_ rev._2013.docx Episcopal Payroll Services https://www.cpg.org/administrators/payroll/episcopalpayroll-services/ I m On the Vestry What You Need to Know About Your Church s Finances part of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark s Vestry University, October resources/vu%20session%20 C-7%20Finance%20 Presentation.pdf Knowledge is Power by William Doubleday, Vestry Papers, May ecfvp.org/vestrypapers/governance/knowledge-is-power/ Manual of Business Methods in PAGE 18

19 Auditorías POR MARTHA GOODWILL En este día, el rector abrió la correspondencia. Por cerca de 30 años, St. Harriett s había tenido el mismo tesorero. Él abría la correspondencia, giraba todos los cheques y reconciliaba las cuentas bancarias. Verificaba que se pagaran las cuentas y hasta ayudaba a que la iglesia comenzara a crear un legado. Pero en este día, el rector abrió la correspondencia y lo que halló fue una enorme, prácticamente insalvable deuda con el Departamento de Rentas Internas (IRS). No se habían depositado los impuestos sobre las nóminas de pago. Esa fue una lección muy dura de aprender sobre los controles internos. Sin embargo, los controles internos son el aspecto más importante de una auditoría. Con personal reducido y formado principalmente por voluntarios, muchas de nuestras iglesias dependen del mismo pequeño grupo de feligreses para que se ocupen año tras año de los asuntos administrativos de la iglesia. En la mayoría de los casos eso funciona bien y no causa problemas, pero cuando hay problemas las consecuencias pueden ser serias. Qué queremos decir con controles internos? Estas cuatro acciones recomendadas son un buen punto de partida: Escuchar En la mayoría de las auditorías, escuchar es tan importante como repasar el flujo de documentos. Escuchar la narrativa de la manera en que manejan las colectas de los domingos, por ejemplo, puede revelar que hay una sola persona que cuenta el dinero, indica los aportes en los datos de los feligreses y lleva el dinero al banco. Este es un ejemplo obvio de debilidad de controles internos, pero con sólo añadir uno o dos feligreses para que se hagan cargo de las colectas de los domingos puede salvaguardar en gran medida no sólo el dinero en efectivo, sino también la exactitud de los datos de los feligreses. Asimismo, en el caso de los desembolsos de dinero en efectivo, cuál es la narrativa para pagar las cuentas? Leer Si los procedimientos de auditoría que usted está empleando permiten narrativas en sus respuestas, entonces leer la auditoría del año pasado y las sugerencias del auditor anterior que las acompañen puede revelar conocimientos útiles para la auditoria actual. Si no se dio seguimiento a las sugerencias, averigüe por qué no. A medida que progrese la auditoría del año actual, podrá encontrar una solución alternativa a las sugerencias del año anterior. Otras buenas fuentes de conocimientos son la junta parroquial y las actas de otro comité. Al leer esas actas podrá ver el flujo del año anterior y las dificultades y bendiciones que tuvo la parroquia. Las actas le pueden dar una buena idea general antes de entrar en los detalles de los documentos y permitirle determinar qué asuntos necesitan más revisión. Si la junta parroquial está repasando las liquidaciones financieras mensuales, como debe hacerlo, la asignación de fondos para los cambios reales se explicará en las actas de la junta parroquial o del comité de finanzas. Saber los motivos detrás de esos cambios también puede resaltar las áreas que necesiten más atención. Combinar PAGE 19

20 Sabe si entidades separadas, que deriven su condición de la iglesia, se deberían incluir en la auditoría anual de la iglesia? Algunas de ellas serían entidades como las Mujeres de la Iglesia Episcopal, los baratillos, las escuelas, el alquiler del aparcamiento, los fondos a la memoria, los fondos de legados y todos los tipos de fondos restringidos. Estas entidades a menudo tienen sus propias cuentas corrientes, cuya actividad se debería combinar con la memoria financiera de fin de año de la iglesia. A veces una fuente oculta de apoyo a la iglesia puede provenir de una de estas entidades. El análisis y la comprensión del flujo de fondos puede ser una sorpresa para muchos líderes eclesiásticos. Es importante saber si la iglesia se está manteniendo a sí misma con sus propios donativos y colectas o si está dependiendo excesivamente de otras fuentes de apoyo. También es muy importante saber lo opuesto: si la iglesia está subsidiando las actividades de alguna de estas otras entidades para el detrimento de la salud de la iglesia. En resumidas cuentas, es importante ver cómo todas las partes funcionan juntas para que pueda surgir y se pueda entender una imagen clara de la salud financiera de todas las entidades. Dar seguimiento Volvemos al [párrafo inicial sobre] St. Harriett s y su problema de la nómina de pagos. Mejores controles internos podrían haber prevenido esa catástrofe. Pero, si los auditores hubieran dado seguimiento a las transacciones de nóminas de pago hasta el banco, también podrían haber visto que no se habían depositado los impuestos de esas nóminas. Las transacciones de nóminas de pagos pueden ser complicadas y a menudo no se les presta suficiente atención en las auditorías. Sin embargo, es un aspecto en que nuestras iglesias tienen una obligación impositiva muy real. Llenar las planillas correctas y realizar los depósitos impositivos precisos es fundamental. El auditor debe insistir en que la persona a cargo de ellos le explique y aclare todas las transacciones, con todas las pruebas necesarias para asegurar que se realizaron depósitos y se presentaron planillas. La mejor manera en que una iglesia puede protegerse a un precio muy razonable es pasar el procesamiento de su nómina de pagos a los Servicios Episcopales de Nóminas de Pagos. Eso hace que la tarea de informar y pagar correctamente deje de estar a cargo del pequeño grupo de empleados y voluntarios. Así que, en este día y todos los días subsiguientes, busque y ponga en práctica buenos controles internos. El propósito de las auditorías es asegurar que todo esté en orden, para que la iglesia pueda seguir adelante con sus misiones y ministerios en el mundo. Martha Goodwill trabaja en los Recursos Administrativos Parroquiales de la Diócesis del Sudoeste de la Florida. En ese cargo es asesora de las 77 parroquias en las diócesis sobre rodos los aspectos administrativos. Pruebe esto En la reunión del otoño de 2013 de Vestry University, la Diócesis Episcopal de Newark ofreció el taller I m On the Vestry What You Need to Know About Your Church s Finances. Vital Practices de la Fundación de la Iglesia Episcopal recomienda que los miembros de la junta parroquial vean las laminillas de esta presentación, que indagan lo siguiente: 1. Está familiarizado con los temas que se presentan? 2. Sigue su feligresía estas prácticas y recomendaciones? 3. Sabe o puede encontrar fácilmente las respuestas a las preguntas que se hagan sobre las finanzas de su feligresía? PAGE 20

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