By Amy Manderscheid
Before she started working for StartCHURCH, Angela worked in various accounting jobs. Now, she is one of our dedicated bookkeepers.
One day, while reconciling accounts for one of the churches she works with, she noticed something off in the numbers.
She quickly discovered the church was being charged $600 a month for an unknown service. She asked the pastor about the costs, as the transaction was not clearly labeled.
The pastor explained that before partnering with StartCHURCH bookkeeping, there was a change in associates at the church, and they had no one person dedicated to keeping the books. Thus, the charges were being automatically deducted from the account without their knowledge.
After further investigation, Angela traced the charges back to an insurance agency. However, the pastor said the insurance was canceled several months prior. Yet, the church was still being charged for the service a year after the cancellation.
Angela explained to the client, “The good news is you may be getting a refund! But, you also need to make sure someone actually cancels the policy.”
Thankfully, the church resolved the issue with the insurance company and was eligible for a refund of $8,000. However, if the charge had continued — causing a larger refund amount — the matter would have needed to be resolved in court. Luckily, Angela was keeping a watchful eye on their accounts.
As in this case, hiring an outsourced bookkeeper can come with many benefits for your church.
The 6 benefits of hiring a bookkeeper
The stress of managing ministry finances keeps many hard-working pastors up at night. At StartCHURCH, we understand the pressure you feel when all you’d like to do is pursue God’s calling.
These six benefits will give you confidence in your church’s finances, all while giving you back your time to focus on your ministry.
#1: Unbiased financial opinion
Having an external bookkeeper can work wonders for your ministry. Internal bookkeepers often get emotionally involved in financial management. While they might have the church’s best interests at heart, this dynamic can make keeping the books extremely stressful.
By hiring a StartCHURCH Bookkeeper, you can receive an unbiased financial opinion concerning your church’s financial situation.
Whether it’s positive or negative insight, you’ll receive valuable information to execute necessary adjustments and make decisions that will ultimately help your church thrive.
#2: Compliance benefits
With the help of a professional bookkeeper, you can monitor your church’s progress, prepare financial statements, identify sources of income, prepare your tax returns, and much more.
When it comes to paying income taxes, payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, and the like, your bookkeeper will prepare the right documentation and provide the forms needed to ensure that your organization is in perfect IRS compliance. Plus, you will have less stress concerning your records if you face an IRS audit.
#3: Accurate financial statements
An experienced bookkeeper understands accounting and can properly prepare financial reports. These reports include:
- Any other church transactions
Financial statements are recommended for every church and ministry; but since the format and frequency will vary based on your size, a well-trained bookkeeper can prepare your financials using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP.)
#4: Curb tax liabilities
Without appropriate training and experience, it’s easy to file federal tax returns improperly. Unfortunately, this can prove a costly tax liability for your church.
The good news is that with 501(c)3 status, your organization is exempt from federal income taxes. However, keep in mind that other taxes might apply.
From payroll taxes to excess benefit transactions, to failure to report taxable benefits, reasonable compensation, housing allowances, and more, tax laws are complex. They require experience to make tax compliance a priority.
#5: Protect your financial assets
Your church’s bookkeeper is responsible for all finances, reducing mistakes, oversights, and even fraud. This means that they will need to immediately recognize and resolve any misappropriation of your organization’s money.
Protecting your church’s financial assets is vital to wisely steward what God’s called you to lead. With a suitably trained bookkeeper, you can ensure that you guard your church to the fullest extent.
#6: Loan qualification
Whether you’re expanding your church, starting a ministry, or planning for a building, big dreams come with big price tags.
Having a bookkeeper not only helps you maintain accountability, but they might also help you secure a loan or grant.
To present a clear picture of your church’s financial status and ensure the lender can see exponential growth in your organization, your professionally prepared financial statements can look impressive to any lender considering approving you for a loan.
The StartCHURCH difference
At StartCHURCH, we are dedicated to helping you protect what God has called you to lead. With our StartCHURCH Bookkeeping Service, you’ll not only have peace knowing your church books are compliant, but you’ll experience the benefits of having a ministry-minded bookkeeper who truly cares about you and your church.
To learn more or to sign up for our Bookkeeping Service, please visit our website at StartCHURCH.com/Bookkeeping or give us a call at (833) 225-7375.
Amy Manderscheid is Vice President of Accounting at StartCHURCH.
She oversees the bookkeepers and the tax team who provide financial services for pastors and ministry leaders. Manderscheid is driven in her work each day, knowing that the team she leads plays a small role in the vision God has given to His leaders.