08 Jan 2019

Choosing the Best Bookkeeping Service for Your Ministry

Allyssa Klingberg

Choosing a bookkeeping service can be intimidating for nonprofits. In an ideal world, you would hire a bookkeeper who keeps track of donations and is knowledgeable about nonprofit compliance. With someone on your team to handle finances, you and your staff could focus on the community to which God called you. 

But not everyone can afford to hire a personal bookkeeper. Instead, many pastors and ministry leaders end up tracking their organization's finances themselves. Overwhelmed and stretched for time, these leaders find themselves spending more time with numbers instead of being around people they are called to minister to. 

Why not choose a bookkeeping service for your ministry? 

Below are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the right bookkeeping service. You'll even see some comments from our clients who currently use our service.

1. Working with a friendly, knowledgeable bookkeeper

When you sign up for a bookkeeping service, you'll be assigned to a bookkeeper. This person should not only maintain your books for you, but they should also assist you with any questions about nonprofit compliance. 

At StartCHURCH, we understand that being able to turn to a knowledgeable bookkeeper with your questions is invaluable. That's why our team of bookkeepers work in-house together. You'll feel confident your assigned bookkeeper is always available to help. 

“Thank you again for your help! We’ve learned so much from you already...especially about patience and grace! You’ve been wonderful!”

Our bookkeepers provide a wealth of knowledge to our clients. Whether you have questions about general finances or about 501(c)(3) compliance, our bookkeepers are here to help. Even if they may not know the answer directly, they will work closely with our consultants to find the answer for you. 

2. An in-house team of experts 

The heart of StartCHURCH is to help churches and ministries establish a strong legal foundation on which they can grow and thrive. Over the years of helping our clients obtain 501(c)(3) status and preparing their tax returns, we were often asked about starting a bookkeeping service. And we listened! You can read more about that story here.

“Thanks for your help. I love that other departments within your company are always so willing to help out when needed.”

3. Up to date with nonprofit industry standards

It may seem obvious, but keeping up to date with industry standards is often overlooked. Especially for nonprofits. When you're looking into a bookkeeping service, be sure that the company you hire always stays up to date on industry standards for nonprofits. 

At StartCHURCH, we stay up to date. We work on a cash basis, and all reports are in the correct accounting language for nonprofits.

Not sure what cash basis means? Think of it as statement based—whatever got deposited or cashed out within a period of time on your bank statement. This method is most commonly recommended by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), unless otherwise necessary in specific cases. 

4. Comprehensive reports 

When looking to hire a bookkeeping service, it is essential that a company provides you with reports that are thorough and clear. You also need to make sure you understand the reports that your bookkeeper sends to you. 

At StartCHURCH, our reports have the correct accounting language on them. For example, Statement of Activity (Profit and Loss) and Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet). You'll be able to customize your chart of accounts with the help of your bookkeeper. Plus, we'll give you all the tools to budget as necessary throughout the year!

“I am so happy with our reports and how clear they are. I don’t know how you [had patience] with us in the beginning, but I am so glad you stuck it out and were able to send us such clear reports now!”

5. All your finances for the year in one place 

When searching for a bookkeeping service, you'll want to pay attention to: 

  • Pricing options,
  • Setup fees, and  
  • Length of service options. 

Unlike most bookkeeping services, we provide an option called ‘Complete My Year.’ If you sign up for our bookkeeping service sometime after January but would like a complete record of your finances since the start of the year, this service is for you!  

With 'Complete My Year' option, we can turn back the clock and help you keep track of your financial information. Having this option is ideal for keeping track of any contractors you have on payroll. Or even for having an organized view of your organization's budget —all in one place. 

6. Your ministry, your books, your data 

One of our joys is to assist clients in setting up their free Quickbooks accounts. Though your assigned bookkeeper will maintain your account, it's your church, your books, and your data. With your QuickBooks account, you'll be able to access your ministry's financial records anytime. But your bookkeeper will categorize and document all transactions and will reconcile your accounts for you. 

“I can sleep at night knowing that you guys are handling this for us.”

Almost every bookkeeping service you see will charge you a setup fee. But at StartCHURCH, we don't charge for set up. All we need is the first month's fee to get you started. 

Are you looking for a payroll provider? We have a partnership with Intuit Payroll. We can give you the tools to set up your ministry's payroll with confidence!

Get the best bookkeeping service for your ministry

At StartCHURCH, we understand how busy your life can be. We created our bookkeeping service to take organizational finances off your plate so you can do what you’re really passionate about. Who wouldn't want more time to focus on their ministry and doing the things they love? 

Whether your church is starting out, or if you’ve been operating for the past 20 years, we’d love to help you manage your church’s finances. Learn more about our bookkeeping service by calling us at, 877-494-4655.  

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Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera

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