"JIMs JRNL" Edition
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TO: Interested Onliners FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired Auditor-CPA
RE: J I Ms J R N L for the month of January 2008 FILE: 0201-08/jrnl
(1) Payments to the Church via Credit Cards- (01)
Many Churches these days encourage their constituents to make Donations to the Church, or pay for Church activities, via Credit Cards. of course, the encourage their constituents to prudently use their Plastic in way so they get good Righteous Personal Finance - RPFin Self Evaluation grades. Within context of the information Here , your Church may want to originally provide them with a statement that says something like the following.
TO: Named Church Constituent FROM; Board of Leadership
RE: Use of a Credit Cards at our Church DATE: xx/xx/xx
Thank you for using your Credit Card here at the Church to make a donation or pay for Church activities, but frankly, we have concerns about providing this buying resource to our constituents. You no doubt are aware that too many people in today's society are abusing Credit Cards and incurring debt that they can not handle. Some people even inappropriately believe that a Credit Card is in essence evil and they should be destroyed.
We do not want to contribute to these problems, but we also know that many of you are righteously using Credit Cards as part of your financial stewardship -- even to the extent of paying them off weekly. We firmly believe, like many things in our world today, that they can be either a "tool" or a "tyrant." Such matters are totally subjective, or personal issues between the individual Believer and the Lord.
Accordingly, we respectfully provide you with this resource. But, your part is as follows:
1> That you prayerfully have your personal finances in order as unto the Lord. If you or your family need to be the very best stewards of such matters, ask us about certain "Righteous Personal Finance" help resources,
2> When you timely pay your Credit Card charges and incur NO Interest Expense, or loan charges, you are using a it as a "Tool" and not as a 'Tyrant'.
3> We, therefore, ask that you promise the Lord that you will NOT pay Credit Card Interest Expense on your use of this resource with us at the Church. We join you in prayer as you keep this personal commitment to Him.
(2) How would you grade yourself as a Listener? (04)
OK OK -- this topic is not connected with Ministry Finances per se, but being a good listener has been a personal problem of mine most of my life. What do you think of these aspects? Good listeners need to direct a maximum amount of thought to the presented presentation The listener all too often thinks ahead of the speaker and gets side tracked with other thoughts and only gives partial attention to the speaker. Or in personal interaction situation, you ask the other person a question. Or a good listener should verbally summarize what has been said: "So what you are saying is so and so" Watch for unspoken communication of the speaker, like facial expressions and tone of voice. Train yourself to listen for ideas. Grasping ideas is a skill the good listener need to have. Watch for emotional filters. A listener often thinks they hear a message that was never presented. It is important to look for facts and remain as unbiased as possible.
(3) Ministry Buying Cycle - (07)
01> A determination is made by the Ministry leadership as to what expenses are needed to carry out the exempt purpose of the organization, then various Ministry Departmental Budgets are developed and authorized
02> The authorized Departmental Buyer looks at their most recent department report and discovers if there is any available money to spend;
03> When appropriate, like Events, the Buyer prepares the applicable Form (showing authorization by Department, etc.) and obtains Advance funds ----- Please go to 0112 for a paper regarding Advance/Petty Cash details.
04> Most all items are purchased from Vendors via the applicable "buy now and pay later" systems. Please see below for authorized buying via their Credit Card as the Ministry then only remits one check (to the Plastic company) and not to each vendor, etc..
05> The Buyer contacts the applicable Vendor and makes the purchase, primarily using an Authorized Plastic in lieu of a Purchase Order System. See 0114 publication for more specifics. We believe that the proper use of Plastic does away with the need to have Purchase Orders, or P.O.s.
06> The Plastic charge slip is attached to the applicable form when purchase is picked up by the Buyer, or their authorized agent. Such forms, of course, ultimately get to the Accounting Department as the Buyer indicates authorization, the Department Code and applicable dates. When purchase is made by phone it ultimately results in an invoice being mailed to the Ministry by the vendor. The person opening the mail inserts the day received and affixes a Rubber Stamp thereon and routes it to the Buyer. The Rubber Stamp includes information so the Buyer can indicate authorization and the department code. They then route it immediately to the Accounting Department.
07> In the Accounting Department the purchase is booked right away and charged to the applicable Department as a charge against their authorized budget. Any time after this they can provide Departments with the latest "Actual to Budget" status. A sample is at 0706. Please also see the weekly eFinFax system when you Click Here.
08> The Accounting Department then pays the Vendor (primarily the Plastic Provider) at the expected and agreed time at least once a month - one option is to pay it weekly. Always pay the Plastic Provider on time so that you NEVER pay any Interest or loan charges. Since the check actually going to the above Vendor is at the very tail end of the financial transaction, or "way after incurring the financial obligation", such a process should NOT have to pass muster via Check Signors. Or the check payment equivalent can be accomplished via available Online Payments resources. Here money is transferred, under a controlled environment and at the Ministrys request, from your Bank Account to the Vendor's Bank Account with no need to always get a piece of paper (the check) from one place to another. For some Check Signing thoughts please go to 0066
09> Some times a Volunteer buys things using their own resources and wants to make a donation. This is ideally done via Church Credit Cards, since the issuance of the Credit Card to the Volunteer actually provides pre-approval, etc. Such transactions need to flow through the books for two reasons: a> The leadership needs to know what the activity really costs b> The donor needs a donation receipt. Ask us if you need more information as the Ministry writes a check to itself and such check is processed along with all of the other Donations as a credit to the Volunteer/Donor, etc. Of course, if a volunteer uses their own resources to make a Ministry purchase, they must get advance approval before they are reimbursed, etc.
(4) Brad Pendable and his "NEST OF BEES" Web Site Ministry ( 06)
Brad Pendable is a CPA who serves Evangelical Ministries, as a specialized Missionary, primarily via this "NEST OF BEES" Website . This is designed for "Small Christ-centered Ministries" , who join his "COLONY OF BEES" community, as they meaningfully use the Internet, plus related resources, as they are righteous stewards of their unique finances. This includes "HOMER HONEY BEES" who have been trained to give assistance to those who are a part of this community. In his initial "BRADS ONLINER MEMO" he provides readers with more information about all of this as he interacts with an Onliner called Taylor. Please also go to the following links for more details about all of this: PURPOSE; WHY "NEST OF BEES" ; INFO ABOUT BRAD; WHO IS ASSISTED; ASSISTANCE EMPHASIS ; ASSISTANCE SPECIFICS; SITEMAP.
(5) Voluntary Board Treasurer (08)
Of course, I am professionally biased, but the Voluntary Board Treasurer is a critical person to the ongoing health of a Ministry!!!! Such folks serving in this position can provide such a tremendous service to your overall effort. It is so extremely important that this vital Board official NOT BE HONORARY only. Perhaps the following observations will help your Board and its Treasurer do this job even better:
>> This important Board position should require a written job description which would include mutual expectations. Go to 0074 for more info. When you recruit a Volunteer Board Treasurer, be sure this person knows in writing what is involved.
>> An Honorary Board Treasurer implies inactivity and the money control is entirely with the staff, when it should be a major function of your Board. The ministry needs an active and appropriately involved person on the Board.
>> Even at small Ministries, make every effort possible to have a clerical person at least write the checks and make the deposits. Every Ministry has its own size and culture, but strive to NOT expect this Board official to be the bookkeeper who processes financial transactions --- their valuable time should be spent in other consequential financial endeavors .
>> Please go to 5010 for thoughts about various options available to a small Church/Ministry in taking care of their accounting tasks, etc.
>> The Board Treasurer must be postured for Ministry money speeding control establishment and related follow up. See content of 0010 for more info re Ministry Budget matters.
>> This Board official MUST be the major communicator of the Ministry's financial history, current status and financial projections ------ especially at Board meetings.
>> This person should chair and give agenda/meeting leadership to an effective and viable Board Finance/Audit Committee. See 0000 for more info about Ministry Finance Teams.
>> There needs to be an understanding with Ministry staff as to the availability of this volunteer. This person does not have to be a co-signor on every check, etc. Thoroughly understand and respect how often this person will be at the Ministry office and when this person is available during their normal working day.
>> This Board official needs to provide leadership in knowing, articulating and monitoring Ministry Finance Policies and procedures. At 5005 you will find information at a Church on this topic.
(6) Tax Deductible Donation of Rental Facilities - (09).Jim to Onliner:
Onliner to Jim:
As a non-Church 501 C(3) Ministry we have found needed office space from a Christian businessman. Can he make a non-cash donation to us of this office space and get a tax deduction for its fair market value?
Our CPA does not believe this can be done legally, and he can not find tax law dealing with such matters. This person has other space he rents to other Ministries at less than market value and he wasn't aware of a possible tax deductible donation. This is interesting because we did it at our previous location in another state ... so maybe it is a state and not a Federal matter.
I personally do not know the details on such an arrangement but it seems that I also have heard of this happening in an appropriate way.
Where would you suggest that I get further information about this?
I am a part of a very special Online Forum found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/churchadmin . Perhaps Frank, the excellent Ministry savvy attorney who takes part in this Forum, can at least let us know within the Forum if such an arrangement is possible.
Then, If it is legit, you could retain him to make all of the necessary arrangements so that all things are handled "according to hoyle" for all parties involved. etc
Another option is for you to join the Forum and search its archives for information about this topic.
Thanks, Jim, let me know what to do next.
Click below for Potentially Helpful Online Links for JIMs JRNL Readers:
1> What should Pastors know about member giving 2> Crown Ministries and Money Matters Online 3> 2008 Church & Clergy Tax Guide 4> List of QuickBooks resources 5> Steps in getting QuickBooks going at your Ministry
Current "Ministry Finance" Truism
Below is one of our Ministry Finance precepts/beliefs/principles, or "rules of thumb". Please go to 0069 for complete TRUISMS list
MORE THAN THE BANK BALANCE - Expenditures should be booked when incurred and income should be shown when earned; otherwise the Ministry does NOT have all of the financial facts. See 0058 and 0935 for more information on this "accrual" vs "cash" basis accounting topic..
Prayerful Thots :
Lord -- not only do I especially pray this month for the Brad's NEST of BEES endeavor mentioned above, but I also want to thank you for having someone remind me this past month about these significant TEN PREDICTIONS FOR 2008 that are shown below. In Thy Precious Name, Amen
1. The Bible will still have all the answers. 2. Prayer will still work. 3. The Holy Spirit will still move. 4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people. 5. There will still be God-anointed preaching. 6. There will still be singing of praise to God. 7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people. 8. There will still be room at the Cross. 9. Jesus will still love you. 10. Jesus will still save the lost.
This "Blogger" like monthly endeavor (99) allows me to share some personal comments/thoughts as to Ministry Finance issues plus matters concerning Righteous Personal Finance for Christian people. Please go to 0200 for further explanation and links to earlier JIM's JRNLs. The four digit links xxxx and some "Click Here" herein come from www.bcidot.org sources.
If you would like to receive the next 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 herein do NOT necessarily imply my endorsement. Further, if any of these links do not work, let us know which one at Jim@bcidot.org. Lists of our www.bcidot.org articles (or Web Docs), can be found at 9706 9707 and 9708
Probable "Ministry Finance Lingo", or "Frequently Used Vocational Terms" used herein, appear below:
BLVR = Someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, 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; RPFin = Righteous Personal Finance , SPFunds or SPFs = Special Purpose Funds
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This document was updated last on: November 15, 2010