31-JIM's JRNL for the month of March 2005 -- 0203-05 ZZjrnl

- - And the Lord direct your heart in the love of God as you continue to faithfully serve Him - -

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         TO:  Interested Onliners                                                                                                                 FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired CPA-Auditor
         RE: J I Ms  J R N L  for the month of March 2005                       
                                                      FILE:  0203-05/jrnl        

     This process allows me to share some rather personal comments/thoughts/written prayers about Ministry Finance issues and matters concerning Righteous Personal Finance for Christians during this month.  Please go to  0200  for further explanation and links to earlier JIM's JRNLs.  The four digit links  xxxx  below come from www.bcidot.org sources. 
    If you would like to receive the upcoming monthly JIM's JRNL  during the first week of the subsequent month,  please join the following Yahoo Group:   ---- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JIMsJRNL/.    Caution --- the non  www.bcidot.org  web links that I reference below do NOT necessarily imply my endorsement.  Further, if any of the links below do not work, let us know which one at LINK@bcidot.org.  List of our  www.bcidot.org  Web Docs, or writings, can be found at 9712.  9716  and  9705.  

        Purchase Order (P.O.) Alternative Scenarios: (4)

   Which of the following SCENARIOs do you think best accomplishes a Church's objective of not having the burden of a Purchase Order (P.O.) process and yet it controls its spending?

Authorized Buyer gets a weekly �Actual to Budget� report from the Ministry Bookkeeper so that this person knows if there is money budgeted for said purpose. Let's say that there is money in the budget, so the Authorized Buyer goes to the Bible/Book Store (or other applicable store) and charges their purchase to the Church�s �pay monthly charge account� at that store. Then the Authorized Buyer provides appropriate documentation to the bookkeeper so this purchase is included in the next �Actual to Budget� report. Authorized Buyer does this throughout the month at some 4 retail stores that allow authorized church charges during the month.  Bookkeeper timely pays each of the four retail stores via their reconciled monthly statement

The party is a volunteer who gets verbal approval from the
Authorized Buyer to make a purchase from their own resources (cash or credit card) up to $80.00. PLEASE NOTE --- this is Authorized Buyer�s decision, not the volunteer's decision. This is the amount for such transactions per the Church�s Finance Policy.   See sample at 5005.  This transaction is approved by the Authorized Buyer who processes a check request (with related documentation) so that the bookkeeper routinely reimburses the volunteer. Of course, this transaction is reflected in the next �Actual to Budget� report.  Approved petty cash transactions also flow through this means. Usually a petty cash purchase is for some $10.00 or less.

    A volunteer needs to buy something --- so this person goes to the
Authorized Buyer who determines from the Actual to Budget" report that this is OK. Most Authorized Buyers have a Corporate Credit Card (like VISA or Master Card) that includes their name. The Authorized Buyer fills out and signs the appropriate "Credit Card identity Form" that the volunteer can provide the vendor as it includes the statement that it is OK to use my corporate Credit Card to make this purchase, etc. The volunteer takes the Form and the Credit Card to the Vendor and makes the purchase. The volunteer returns the Plastic and the purchase docs to the Authorized Buyer who OKs it and processes it on to the bookkeeper for applicable �Actual to Budget� reporting..  Like in the above Scenario, this happens at 4 different retail stores.  The bookkeeper reconciles and timely pays the Credit Card monthly statements -- plse note the need to write only one check for all of these purchases from the 4 different vendors.

     "Terrific Tools" or "Terrible Tyrants": (3)

    Things we work with can be either "Terrific Tools" or "Terrible Tyrants" (I call this the  "4 T"  TRUISM).  What are potential "Terrific Tools" or "Terrible Tyrants;" examples that you can think of other than:

  • Computer systems
  • Cel Phones
  • Credit Cards

     Endowments at a Ministry (5a)

 Nest Egg Aspects:

        In order to get a grasp of Endowments, please Click Here and obtain some perspective of some Endowments at a Mission Agency. Endowments involve at least the following:

  •   They are financial resources that can not be spent now ..... they are "nest eggs."
  •   They are prudently invested so that a yield is available for understood Ministry operational purposes.
  •   Some Endowment resources come from either alive or deceased Donors and must be managed and the yield used as requested by the Donor.
  •   Quasi Endowments come from Board discretionary financial resources.
  •   The "nest egg," or Endowment corpus, or principal, is sometimes invested in areas that often substantially change in value ---- be prudent.

                                                                                                  Philosophical  Issues

    Not long ago I was at a board meeting where  Endowment  topics were discussed --- especially Quasi-Endowment issues. One savvy Ministry conscious business man board member voiced some philosophical concerns. This person's thinking included:

  •   Be fully aware of the 'tyranny of the urgent' issues,  whereby you do not plan ahead well.
  •   This Ministry is attempting to meet urgent needs and there never seems to be enough money to do the job.
  •   The Lord's return is imminent --- we must use every resource we now have to reach as many unsaved now as possible. Have a "now" ministry mentality and not dwell on the future.
  •   So all Board discretionary monies should be spent now for ongoing Ministry purposes and not "nest egged".

    Church and non local member Ministries like Schools, Mission Agencies and Camps are not alike. Their Ministry targets are different; some are more oriented to discipling/training the saved, while others are more pointed to evangelizing the lost. Obviously, such differences will contribute to your philosophy on this topic as Ministry funding takes place.
    Some of you have "earned income,", or non donation, aspects of your Ministry. It is entirely possible that such board discretionary "net earnings" can be utilized to fund applicable  Quasi-Endowments.

                                                                                             My Thoughts include the Following:

>>Your Ministry needs to establish an Endowment/Quasi-Endowment philosophy within context of the above discussion.
  Donor estate planning is essential ..... they MUST prayerfully take these steps. You must be positioned to encourage them along these lines and point them to the appropriate professional help.
  Your philosophy and approach will include the need to prayerfully challenge your donors to fully fund your Ministry (perhaps via endowments) while they are alive.
>>   If you learn of an 'Endowment in the works' , prudently encourage the Donor and family to understand your philosophy as to such matters and encourage them accordingly.
>>  Structure such endeavors so that appropriate larger one-time donations can flow to existing Quasi-Endowments within your system that appeal to your donors. See the Mission Agency example referenced above.  
Endowments are resources the Ministry should prayerfully pursue.          

     Basic Job of a Ministry's Treasurer : (6a)

  Onliner:  I expect to be providing some helps via a Treasurer's Manual for our type of  Ministry.  Is there anything, Jim, that you could share with me that I might include in such a Manual?.
  Jim Bramer:
  Thanx for asking. 
In my judgment, an often overlooked foundational aspect of a Treasurer's job is to:

                             " P
rovide decision makers with fiscal facts in timely ways they understand so they can make prudent decisions.�

   Thank you for this succinct and what I think is a "brilliant" declaration, Jim!

     Personal Testimony - Interceptions:  (7a)

This month it was my privilege to verbally share the following at a small non-church gathering.

    Jim Bramer's background:  Wife Bettie of over 50 years; Father of 4 and Grandfather of 11I am a retired "Bean Counter - or Auditor Certified Public Accountant" of primarily Christian Organizations. In my retirement years I maintain these Internet web sites:   www.bcidot.org  and www.qbuxbox.org  (started in July 2006) -- designed to help Christian Ministry Finance Teams and to provide some resources toward Righteous Personal Finance. We have lived in the Fresno, CA area for over 10 years, prior to that we lived mostly in Southern Calif where our kids grew up. Click here for more details
My personal testimony is within context of some "Interceptions."  In the early 1950s Bettie and I went to high school in North Eastern Oregon in a small town called La Grande - not too far from the Washington and Idaho borders. My Dad was a Railroad Engineer/FiremanDuring these years in High School I had two "Interception" experiences in my life.

     1> As a High School Junior I played high school varsity football - quarterback and defensive back - and I was personally involved in a "pass interception"  of over 90 yardsYou do not often hear of such an activity within a 100 yard football fieldIt was something you remember most of your life or we talk about at "get togethers."   Question: Did this interception happen when I threw a pass as quarterback or did I intercept a pass thrown by their quarterback? Answer: Right .... I intercepted  their pass and went over 90 yards for a touchdown.
     2> But most importantly, my life was "intercepted" that same year when I was  "saved"  and  "born again" --  or when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior as a teenager while attending a local Baptist church. Click here  for more details about becoming such a believer.

    One of my favorite verses Is: "II Corinthians 4:5" 'For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.'

     Click below for Potentially Helpful Online Links for JIMs JRNL Readers: (1)

             Please Click Here  for the "Pledge of Allegiance" in 1969 per Comedian Red Skelton
             Please Click Here  for info on this topic:   "The Fast Track from Prospect to Major Donor"
 Personal Finance - Manage First - Spend Later -  "nuff said"
             Five Steps in Personal Money Management - Please note that the content of  0400   is responsive to step 5    
            http://www.software4nonprofits.com - You might want to check out this Ministry Donation Software.   (Uptd 08-16-07)
             http://www.admin-assist.com/resources_online_000015.php - Please note the value of well written Board/Committee meeting minutes

     This month's chosen Ministry Finance Truism: (2)

        Below is one of my Ministry Finance precepts/beliefs/principles, or  "rules of thumb".  Please go to  0069  for our complete TRUISMS list.

    RECORD RETENTION - observe content o 0082  for some recommendation of how long to keep various financial records, etc.

Prayerful Thots:

     Heavenly Father,   I have been blessed recently with the content of  0034;  where during my life time "Jim Bramer Says"  something and then he discovers that "GOD Says" something much more meaningful/relevant.  Thank you, Oh Lord - help me to learn.  In thy precious name, Amen.

 Possible "Ministry Finance Lingo", or "Frequently Used Vocational Terms" appear below:

            CBA =
Church Business Administrator, CBAer;  CMS = Church Management Software/System;  CPA = Certified Public Accountant;  GAAP = Generally Accepted Accounting Principles/Practices;  GPFund or GPF = General Purpose Fund; MFTeam or MFT= Ministry Finance Team QBOE = QuickBooks Online Edition;  QBooks or QB = Quickbooks; SPFunds or SPFs = Special Purpose Funds


Click Here and go to a list of earlier JIM's JRNLs - Contact  Jim@bcidot.org 

This document was updated last on:  April 20, 2011