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Bookkeeper Saves Church $8,000

By Stephen Rawlings

At StartCHURCH, we understand how vital financial records are to a healthy church. Not only are appropriately-kept records needed in case of an IRS audit, but they also provide a paper trail that tells your financial story. 

Unfortunately, finances often are overlooked in the day-to-day running of a church, though not on purpose. There is a great difference between personal finances and ministerial finances. And all too often, church faculty can find themselves in over their heads.  

This need caused us to start a bookkeeping service, and we are thrilled with how this service has helped the many churches we serve. One such example got a church a refund of over $8,000 and saved them even more in the long run.

One charge too many

Angela Metcalf is one of our bookkeepers at StartCHURCH. She has a significant amount of experience in accounting, as well. 

Before she started working for StartCHURCH, Angela worked in a number of various accounting jobs. Now, she is one of our dedicated bookkeepers.

One day, in May, while she was reconciling accounts for one of the churches she works with, she noticed something seemed off in the numbers.

Angela discovered that the church was being charged twice a month for an unknown service. Each month, the charges totaled to almost $600. When Angela saw this, she asked the pastor about the charges, as the transaction was not clearly labeled.

The pastor explained that before the church partnered with StartCHURCH for bookkeeping, there was a change in associates at the church, and they had no one person dedicated to keeping up with the books. Thus, the charges were set to be automatically deducted from the account. But everyone involved thought the charge was being watched by someone else in the organization.

After further investigation, Angela found that the charges were coming from a well-known insurance agency, and she brought it up to the pastor. The pastor, however, said the insurance was canceled several months ago and didn’t think they were still being charged for that particular service. Yet, they were still being charged for the canceled service, and the charges had gone on for over a year.

Angela explained to the client, “I’ve got good news and bad news. You may be getting a refund! But, you also need to make sure someone actually canceled the policy.”

The church was able to resolve the matter with the insurance company and was indeed eligible for a refund of $8,000! However, if the charge had continued to go on, causing a larger refund amount, the matter would have needed to appear before a court to be resolved. Luckily, the client was using our bookkeeping service and had Angela keeping a watchful eye on their accounts.

The fact is, with StartCHURCH bookkeeping, churches have the ability to keep their finances protected, IRS compliant, and functional. Let's find out a little more about the value of using our bookkeeping service.

Who needs a bookkeeper?  

At StartCHURCH, we believe every church needs to have a bookkeeper. Understanding finances is essential not only for record keeping but also to maintain IRS compliance.

Many churches today operate outside of their lane financially. Most churches in these situations don’t realize they are opening themselves up to fines and the potential loss of their tax-exempt status. A classic example is mileage reimbursement for pastors who use their cars for church functions.

If a pastor or church executive uses the organization's credit card to fill up after using their car for ministry work, the monetary amount they fill up with what can be considered as taxable income. This is because, in the IRS's eyes, they are receiving a benefit for using their vehicle, and there is no way to tell how much gas is used for ministry purposes without keeping track of the miles driven. 

So, the mileage driven should be tracked and reimbursed according to the rates given by the IRS. By following this guideline, you will keep your church in compliance with the guidelines set by the IRS. 

What kind of bookkeeper does my church need? 

Churches should look for bookkeepers with expertise in ministerial finances. It is a niche market, but good quality bookkeepers do exist.

The problem is, many bookkeeping responsibilities get passed along from person to person. The effect is a loss of clarity, and that can lead to costly mistakes.

Many pastors feel like they can take this role on themselves. However, problems will arise as your church bears fruit, and as your time gets stretched thinner. 

Eventually, you will need to consider hiring a bookkeeping service to help protect your ministry. And the rapport you have with your bookkeeper can mean the difference between success and failure. 

So, why not give us a call?

At StartCHURCH, we are not just providing a service, but we are giving back your most valuable commodity: time. A pastor's calling is to go out into the community to preach and teach the gospel, not spend hours going over financial reports and receipts. 

Let us give you your time back for what matters most: caring for your congregation. On average, our services cost less than hiring a part-time bookkeeper. And if your church is in the position like the church Angela works for, we can help you save much more money in the future. 

Hire A Bookkeeper Today!

What's included in the StartCHURCH bookkeeping serivce?

1. A bookkeeper

Our most valuable bookkeeping asset is our bookkeepers, and each one of them is unique and picked to serve your ministry's needs. They know you and are invested in your ministry.

Our bookkeepers are passionate about your church. They come into work every day with the knowledge that they are helping to expand God's Kingdom, and in turn, helping you protect your calling. 

2. The Secretary's Suite

This software was created for administrative use. The Secretary's Suite helps churches create a benevolence program and maintain IRS compliance. 

It also contains information to educate church directors on maintaining ministry records. This information can help you maintain your corporate documents and can keep you from needing any additional services of a CPA or an attorney. 

You can also protect and manage your church’s assets through the inventory section of the Secretary’s Suite through tracking and editable forms. Your assigned bookkeeper will also review your assets to ensure that they are represented accordingly on the Statement of Financial Position.

Also, the eligibility, preparation, and proper documentation for nonprofit mailing are explained in this software. This function can save you time and money while sending out information to the surrounding areas.

The Secretary's Suite helps you understand the importance of bylaws, policies, sales tax exemption, and more. We cannot express how imperative understanding the documents that define your church are, but we can impress upon you how useful the Secretary's Suite can be. 

3. Kingdom Steward

Kingdom Steward is one of the most useful tools we offer at StartCHURCH. Regardless of your church's activities, all churches receive funds to help build the Kingdom of God. But, managing records of those funds can be a headache for even the most seasoned administrator. 

Through Kingdom Steward, a church can maintain records of contributions and create reports and generate receipts for ministry donors. These reports can be done weekly, monthly, or yearly and can be e-mailed or printed directly from the software. 

Kingdom Steward also contains tools that you can use to maintain donor profiles on your members. These profiles can organize information on your member's attendance, giving records, and contact information. 

Between these two programs, which are complimentary when you start your bookkeeping service, your church will be better informed and more protected than ever before.   

What is “Complete My Year?”

Complete my year is a service that can be added alongside the bookkeeping service. If a client signs up in January, assuming that their financial calendar starts in January, then we will be able to start the year off accordingly.

However, some clients get their bookkeeping service added in March, and that means that we were not servicing them during January or February. The client can hire us to go to the beginning of the year and gather the needed financial information.

This service lets us offer a way to start strong, even if you signed up later in the year. Give us a call at 877-494-4655, and we can discuss the benefits of complete my year for your church.

Focus on what you love

Starting a church is not for everybody, but that doesn't mean we do not need each other to move the Kingdom forward. God created us to live in a community, and, biblically, we need each other.  

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 describes us as one body, but the body would not work if the feet operated as hands or vice versa. The foot is supposed to move us forward, and the hands are meant to do the work. 

Many pastors feel as if they need to be hands-on in every part of their church, and it's easy to see why. Pastors oversee the spiritual direction, administration, outreach, and the financial upkeep of their organization, but God has provided other avenues to help along the way. 

We exist as an avenue to help pastors spend less time on the day-to-day runnings of the church, and get them back into what they do best, loving their congregation.

Give us a call at 877-494-4655, or click the button below to schedule a call with us. Twenty minutes can change your ministry. 

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