So, you’re getting a bit of an idea of what may need to be covered in your church financial management, but … who’s going to do it? And what systems might you need? We explore this briefly in this article.
Once you have a good scope of what needs to be done and the types of skills and capacities required across each area, you can now look further into the resources (people and systems) to fill out all the needed functions.
The first port of call for this will be to review what internal resources may be available, including:
- Volunteers – many churches benefit from the faithful work of volunteers across a lot of functions, including financial functions. Important in selecting volunteer help will be not only the skills and capacity considerations, but also a deep respect for the privacy and confidentiality aspects of the role. Volunteers involved in finances may be exposed to sensitive financial information and personal situations of member and it’s crucial that there is a clearly understood protocol for handling this information well. It may even be worth having a written confidentiality policy built into volunteer roles of this nature, which can be used in an onboarding or training process.
- Paid staff – you may also find that there is some capacity and interest within your existing paid staff team to contribute to the financial functions. In particular, there may be scope if you have an admin or office team member for them to handle some of the processing work. In this situation clear role descriptions and delineations can be helpful so the team member is clear on their responsibilities and schedules, and how these interact with the rest of their role. Additionally, you can consider creating a new paid position to cover some or all of the finance function role.
- Pro bono business support – another area of internal resourcing you may want to explore is whether there may be business owners amongst your members who can donate some of their business team time towards to the financial functions. This could be where there is a close correlation between their core business and the work to be done (for example a bookkeeping, accounting or payroll business). Or it could even be a different type of business where there is some strong administrative or office support that could be made available on a donated basis.
With the complexity and demands of the church finance function (and the desired benefits of stability and continuity) you may also be in a position to consider support from a specialist provider.
Some of the factors that may be important to your church when thinking about this include if your provider is:
- Specialised in churches – finding a provider that has the relevant knowledge of church operations and the bookkeeping and payroll complexities that may arise
- Ministry aware – a provider that is sensitive to the ministry focus of your church and supporting of making the financial function enhance ministry
- Good to work with – supporting and attentive to your needs, and open to the level of collaboration that will allow for smooth and effective operations
- Adequately resourced – to give you the continuity and backup of support that sits well with your situation
- Agile – ready to work with you and make changes and updates efficiently
- Flexible – able to dovetail with local resources in a cohesive and collaborative way
- Tech savvy – able to embrace your current tech and software setup, as well as guide you into possible improved solutions
- Security aware – adopts and promotes good practices and systems in relation to security, privacy and confidentiality
- Relational – values the relationship both with you and with wider networks of like-minded individuals and organisations
A third area of resourcing to delve into are the systems that are available that may help your team in the area of church finance. These could be commercially available systems, or ones that you develop yourself.
As you’ve probably experienced, there are a multitude of options available across a variety of functions. In all cases, good things to consider may include:
- Functionality – how useful and easy it is and how much time and stress it saves the team
- Investment – does it give good value for money based on the benefits it brings
- Adaptability – how well it will grow with you as your needs change and expand
Some of the core areas to consider when it comes to systems with your church finances are:
- Accounting software – what accounting software package has all the features that you need and will best suit the size of your team and operations
- Workflow management – what options may be available to streamline the movement of information and tasks across various stakeholders in the church finance process
- Procedures – where and in what format will you develop and store the specific procedures, manuals or checklists that your team will need
Supplementary to these core areas of systems, there may be a bunch of other systems, tools or templates to look at in your situation, things like:
- Payment platforms – for donors to give for various purposes, or to use for sales or events (and also how this might integrate into your church website)
- Expense management apps – streamlining the way expenses are recorded and reimbursed, including virtual credit cards, receipt capture, and accounting system integration
- Pledging management – ways to your members to pledge their giving as part of your overall revenue planning
- Anything else that might be helpful in your church!
Would you like to explore further topics related to church bookkeeping, church payroll and church financial management? eBook available now:
(including your 80+ point Church Financial Management Overview Checklist)
This guide aims to provide a useful and helpful big-picture view – to assist you in further developing the financial function of your church in your context. Designed for church pastors, church ministry leaders, church officeholders, church admin teams, church treasurers and church members.
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