MIFI (Most Important Financial Issues) 0122-02 ZZall

                                                                - - - Rejoice in the Lord always ... again I say Rejoice !!! - - -


                   TO: Interested Ministries                                                                                FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired Auditor-CPA 
                                                                                                                                                 FILE:     0122-02/all

                   RE: MIFI-Most Important Financial Issues                                                Originated:  January 1997                                             


        Below is a hypothetical Online Email thread (THRD) between any one of the following MFTeam members: PAT (Ministry Chief Executive), LEE: (Ministry Volunteer Treasurer), or FRAN: (Ministry Computer Bookkeeper) and  Jim@bcidot.org   Click here and go to List of threads (THRDs) at www.bcidot.org


FR: PAT TO:   Jim@bcidot.org   

        You recommend that we concentrate on the important finance matters before us as a Ministry. Please elaborate, Jim.

FR: JIM

        Recently my wife wrote me a note; the words in the note contained 'i's and 't's. But, since I knew exactly her frame of reference, she did not worry about 'dotting' the 'i's or 'crossing' the 't's.  My  
MFTeam  analogy, Pat, is that sometimes we get lost in all of our financial report numbers and statistics (dotting the 'I's and crossing the 't's) and we do NOT concentrate on the important 'stuff'  they are telling us.  You might remember my use of the acronym "MIFI."

FR: PAT

        I agree, Jim, as a MFTeamate, I want to use these numbers as '
"Fodder" for making timely and good Ministry decisions. I believe I know what you mean, but remind me once again the use of the term "MIFI".

FR: JIM

        OK, Pat. MIFI stands for M)ost I)mportant F)inancial I)ssues in the life of the Ministry. It is imperative that the MFTeam concentrate on these MIFIs and not get side-tracked by the least important.

FR: PAT

        I hear you, Jim ..... and I agree. Please help me as a Ministry leader to do this.  Thank you for making known some of our financial goals when I  Go Here.  But please remind me again, from your perspective, just what are the major responsibilities of our MFTeam?

FR: JIM

        As of August 2010 we have produced an WebBOOK on this topic, but another way to go about this is for MFTeam to analyze the following:

                                                             Finance Communications

        Financial information MUST be timely and be understood; MFTeamates must know appropriate Ministry Finance activity and status history in order to make rightful decisions. Much of this is accomplished by making use of efficient computer finance systems and/or tools. Please link to  Sample Financial Statements.
        MFTeam meetings MUST contribute to effective Finance Communications. Prepare in advance; insist that finance issues be forthright, and that decisions are well documented and clearly understood.

                                                                              Mutual Expectations

        Be certain that all MFTeam members understand and accept their specific finance responsibilities. Be sure nothing 'falls between the cracks'.  Please link to  Tasks  for a laundry list of most of such tasks.

Finance Policies and/or Procedures

        I believe that the MFTeam must conclude and write down Financial Policies. By the way, I like to define a "policy" by what you 'always do' or by what you 'never do', within a certain set of circumstances. When appropriate, such matters can be preceded by some written perspective or philosophy on the issue under consideration ----- hopefully all such policies end up in a 'Finance Policy Manual'. Please link to  Sample Financial Policies  for a means to initialize such an endeavor.

                                                                               Operate within your Income

        The MFTeam must see that Ministry Income is obtained in order to meet the necessary Ministry Expenditures. Then see that each Ministry "Dollar Accountability Group" lives within its income. Please link to a  Sample Actual to Budget report. Please Go Here  for more Ministry Budget info.  Please Go Here for another eBOOK entitled "Do you "really" have money to spend at your Ministry"

Finance Credibility

        Keep financial promises with staff and vendors; plus have and maintain proper financial relationship with Ministry constituents. Know and honor the required IRS and other governmental requirements.

            Provide Resource Enhancement/Safety

        Fiscal resources should be protected. Establish and maintain appropriate financial internal controls. See that residual fiscal assets are prudently utilized and invested. Use credit advisedly, pay your debts as agreed.

FR: PAT

        Aha, if we are going to be useful as a MFTeam, it looks like we have our work cut out for us!!!

FR: JIM

        That’s true, Pat, but be sure and delegate as much of the  'grunt work'  and  'transaction processing'  as possible to the staff.   Your MFTeam Chairman should learn to know what is most important. Further, in my judgment, your MFTeam minutes should clearly state and rank your MIFIs. Link here to a
MFTeam meeting time allocation   analysis that might assist you toward spending quality MIFI time at each of your meetings.
        Encourage your Board of Leadership to have periodic "Long Range Planning" sessions so you can integrate related financial aspects.

FR: PAT 

        Thank you, Jim. Like you, I have attended Board Meetings where we seemed to have a
'micro-manage' mindset and often did NOT view the current and anticipated "big picture". I trust we can use some of this material to 'jump start' our MFTeam so we appropriately deal with our MIFIs.


      This publication originated in January 1997 and was   .  UPTD: July 07, 2011

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