"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 May 2008 FILE: 0205-08/jrnl
(01) Mom-Pop Ministries and Quickbooks Online Edition (QBOE) - (01)
As you readers well know, we are an advocate of "Small Ministries - SmallMins" (and "Christian Family Units - CFUs") using what I call the computerized QuickBooks (QBs) accounting system known as QBuxBox. The essence of this method is that both "Discretionary" and "Restricted or Restricted" monies go into the applicable pre-defined QBuxBoxes and you then spend only if that QBuxBox has a balance. Click Here for a FINFAX Mission Statement.
During this past month Brad Pendable has been testing the Web Based QBs Online (QBOE) product in depth along these lines. This was done via the FINFAX QBuxBox ATF (After the Fact) method as he sets forth what happens within a sample "Mom-Pop" Ministry -- which is either a SmallMin who regularly handles less than $99,999 per year --- OR it is a beginning new Church or Ministry. This QBOE endeavor involved at least the following:
A> You have anytime/anywhere access via the Internet (preferably via a fast connection - often by using a laptop) and you can make full use of Web Based software. Or this software is not on your computer's desktop.
B> The QBOE system permits you to do such things as the following for some $30.00 a month:
-- Allow some three people to access this system from anywhere at any time.
-- Ask us about these entities using their CPA who helps a Ministry both set up this FINFAX ATF system and overviews what takes place throughout the year. Plus arranges with them to provide the necessary annual Compilation report that meets the needs of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability - ECFA for its new Affiliated Membership.
-- Use the QBOE's "Location" feature to account for the needed "Functional Expense" data for the annual GAAP and Form 990 purposes
-- Compatible with this overall ATF (After the Fact) approach, this QBOE system fantastically allows the daily Bank and Credit Cards transactions to be automatically downloaded to this accounting system. You then manually place these downloaded transactions to the appropriate QBuxBox by working from info within previously coded Checks and Credit Card slips
-- The end result of this system is that you have the current balance of each QBuxBox , plus it simultaneously accounts for its 1st of fiscal year balance and then why its money both come in and went out during the fiscal year.
C> To view sample weekly reports from this system, please Click Here (Video Fund Activity Report), Here (Video Report ) and Here (Photo Report ); which, of course, provides essential information for the necessary Spending Controls.
If you think someone would benefit from any of this, please have them contact either Brad@rpfin.org or Jim@bcidot.org . When pre-arranged they would probably be able to observe how this system works as we together remotely access Brad's QBOE sample while they phone us and we view/discuss its features.
(02) - Endowments -- Declaration by a Mission Organization (08)
Have you read the following statement? "In this country, we are on the cusp of a large inter-generational wealth transfer. Research reveals that people born before 1945, have accumulated more financial wealth than any generation in history." Within this context, I find of interest the following statement made by a well known Mission Organization.-- as I quote:"The Board recently took historical action in unanimously approving the "ABC Endowment" and the "XYZ Endowment" programs that are to be funded either now or upon a person's death.
The "ABC Endowment" is to provide "seed" money for the purpose of creating and funding New Ministry expansion. Or the ABC's corpus, or principal, will be invested so that its earnings will enable us to expand the ways that we are to prayerfully reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.
And the "XYZ Endowment" is created to help offset the "Assessment" of every Missionary's (or Project) financial support. As most of you know, each of our Missionaries (or Projects) must deputize or raise their own financial support. They are "self supported" financially, but our overhead costs are not, so we find it necessary to "Assess" each Missionary (or Project) for such purposes. An example is that a $100.00 donation is designated for such an effort and we take some $5.00 of the $100.00 and place it into the "General Fund" so we can pay for our essential overhead costs.
The long term goal is that the financial support package of every Missionary (or Project) will be reduced as the "XYZ Endowment's" corpus, or principal, is invested and that income is used to offset this "Assessment" mentioned above.
As we know, non-financial prayer and person-to-person support is essential so the Board is extremely careful to insure that this "XYZ Endowment Income" would NOT insulate the mission, or each missionaries, from such vital constituency relationships."
In light of the afore mentioned "Inter-generational wealth transfer issues," maybe your Ministry should be actively pursuing such matters. Please go to 0903 for some more "Endowment and Quasi-Endowment" information.
(03) - The "RKBP" system or you "RECORD-KEEP", " BUY" and " PAY" (03)
It is no secret that I am "acronym" prone. One that I frequently get within this context is "KISS" (K>eep I>t S>imple S>tupid). For those of us who are responsible for either Personal or Ministry money may I high recommend the features of a system set forth within this "RKBP" acronym:
R = You must do the needed money "RECORD KEEPING" so you know at least weekly if you have money to spend. THIS IS ESSENTIAL.
B = In a disciplined manner, you use the above information and "BUY" everything possible via a safe Plastic process, or you prudently handle as little "Green stuff" as possible
P = Then you WEEKLY "PAY" off this unpaid Plastic balance --- or you only incur weekly Plastic Debt.
I am convinced that a regular "RKBP" process will enable each of us, by God's grace, to be the required good steward of these resources. Let me know at Jim@bcidot.org if you desire information about some "RECORD KEEPING" systems.
(04) - To Chairperson of any Ministry Board or Committee- (02)
Chairperson, Suggestions To 0085-01 ZZall
These suggestions could pertain to the Chairperson of any Ministry Board or Committee, but, of course, our emphasis is the Board Finance Committee or the M)INISTRY (F)INANCE (T)EAM - MFTeam .
The Chairperson is the key to getting the job done! The Finance Committee and/or the MFTeam will function according to this person's leadership. The group will be responsive, address relevant issues and meet needs to the degree the Chairperson gives effective leadership and direction. Please consider the following PLEASE DO and PLEASE DO NOT suggestions below.
01. Work up meeting agenda with the Ministry Officials in advance of the meeting itself.
02. Provide members with written agenda in advance. Most have Email these days.
03. Start promptly even if members are late (they'll soon learn you'll start on time).
04. Lead courteously yet firmly to insure that everyone is heard.
05. A consensus of the members is very significant; if not possible, be sure all have opportunity to express themselves.
06. Be sure the MFTeam meetings and activity dates are calendarized well in advance .
07. Personally maintain posture of independence so views of others will be expressed.
08. Be "goal-oriented" so that issues and needs are defined and targeted.
09. Insist on the appropriate blend of fellowship and business during the meeting.
10. Contribute to a clear understanding of the real issues and needed resolutions
11. Be sure MFTeam actions are documented for both future reference and appropriate follow through.
PLEASE DO NOT:
A> Wait until the last minute; again plan ahead for effectiveness.
B> Allow regular meetings to go beyond two hours, if possible. Discretely take long meeting breaks.
C> Allow meeting discussion to go off on "tangents". Stay with the agenda.
D> Permit matters to "dangle"; insist that the group reach a decision whether to act or properly defer.
E> Permit one person to do all the talking.
F> Attempt to do all the Committee work yourself. Share the work with other members
G> Allow the Ministry Executive, or other "Officials", to dominate the meeting and contribute to your Group being a "rubber stamp" of the staff.
H> Forget to use proper parliamentary procedure.
J> Permit side discussions; all of the members need to hear someone's input; not just his/her neighbor.
K> Forget the absentee member; s/he should inform you in advance. If not, find out why absent, etc.
-- CLOSURE ON ONE ISSUE AT A TIME
-- COURTESY AND JUSTICE TO ALL
-- THE LEAST TALKATIVE MEMBERS MUST BE HEARD
(05) -- What, no Pennies !!!! (06)
Not long ago I learned that someone kept their books, or financial records, in "Whole Dollars" only for an entire seven year period of time--- or they rounded up to the next dollar if 50 cents or more and disregarded the pennies if it was 49 cents or less. Someone was not happy with that process, so they re-processed all of the transactions for the entire seven years and the net difference was less than 20 cents.
If you are going to do your bookkeeping by manually posting your Deposits, Checks and Credit Card purchases into the the applicable software, I believe that it is unnecessary to enter the pennies in each transaction. If you need, from time to time, to move up or down a dollar to make the result closer to actual, then simply increase/decrease the last transaction.
By the way ---- you might also find this Spending Controls website of value.
(06) - Insurance Matters at Your Ministry -- (04)
Appropriate insurance coverage at your Ministry is vital. Please note the following dialog:
When your CPA-Audit firm was active and you did our annual Opinion Audits, you asked us to process the following "Insurance Confirmation" paper work to our insurance people via this "Inter-Office Memo".
Do you have a record of Robbery and/or
Fidelity Bond Coverage YES ____ NO ___
In your opinion, does the client have, to your knowledge, all of the necessary insurance coverage?
YES____ NO ___
Please explain or write to the client, please : _____________________________________________________________
Yes, in our audit attempt to discover if the Ministry had financial risks, we would send this out and ask your insurance agents for their record of your current coverage. You will especially note that we also asked if they felt the Ministry needed either coverage somewhere else or a larger amount of current coverage.
Our present CPA-Auditor does not do this, and it seems that we should ask these kind of questions ourselves.
Sounds like a good idea to me as it seems appropriate for the Ministry to have an INSURANCE EVALUATION, or EXAM every couple of years or so, not only by your current insurance agent but also obtain second opinions.
Seems we also have exposure in our medical insurance and related issues in/around our staff ..... should this EXAM include these type of things?
I would not commingle the two ----- such matters are largely a staff benefit and the Ministry itself is not necessarily at risk. I would concentrate on coverage of assets and known or contingent liabilities like:
- Fire Insurance - On tangible holdings of Land, Buildings and Equipments protection and/or related lawsuits..
- Liability Insurance - exposure to lawsuits, etc.
- Embezzlement or stealing - bonds - in order to cover exposure from both internal and external sources.
- Applicable Board member protection.
As mentioned above, I would get at least two opinions and ask them about comparative coverage for Ministries like yours, etc.
Jim, do you have any links to Online insurance resources. I know you are not necessarily recommending them, but share what you have please.
Among the many 'out there', I trust you find this link content helpful. http://www.insure.com
Thanx, Jim ...... will take up with our Ministry Finance Team.
Reference links to "Insurance" on this web site includes at least the following: RE: Ministry Finance Team: 0000; Financial Policies: 8502; 7003; 5005; 0029; Fiscal EXAM: 0025; Fixed Assets: 0033; Tasks: 0074; Truisms: 0069; Investment: 0044, 0043; Grade Report: 0128 .
(07) - Sitemap Contents of www.bcidot.org - (5)
Below are categories of "Sitemap" information found within the " www.bcidot.org " web site when you Click Here. Please go there and click on your areas of interest.
WHO WE ARE (1):
OUR CHRISTIAN BELIEFS AND RELATED MATTERS (2):
WAYS THAT WE HELP ONLINERS AND/OR MINISTRIES (3):
OUR "HELPWARE" AND/OR EXPENSE REIMB EXPECTATIONS (4)
LIST OF OUR PERIODIC EDITORIALS (5):
INFO ABOUT "J I M 'S J R N Ls" (50):
HELPS TARGETED TO SPECIFIC TYPES OF MINISTRIES:
Mostly Evangelical Churches:
Christian Camps/Conference Centers
Christian Schools - General
Christian Schools - Account Receivable (Schar) Management Mission Agencies:
HELPS TARGETED TO NAMED FINANCE AREAS (30):
Ministry Boards and their Finance Teams
Finance Accounting and Reporting
Ministry Finance Credibility and Internal Controls
Ministry Fund Accounting
Ministry Finance Policies and Procedures Issues
Mostly QuickBooks (QBs) Accounting Software
Ministry Finance and direct use of the Internet
Clergy Tax Matters
"What Jim Bramer would pursue if he was the Volunteer Treasurer of XYZ Ministry"
Spending Controls - Jesus Savior Pilot Me
Brads Nest of Bees resources via Brad Pendable.
Individual Christian and Righteous Personal Finance Issues
(08) -- Ministry "Chief Financial Officer (CFO)" matters. (09)
Non-CFO titles might include Business Manager, Comptroller, Office Manager, Internal Accountant. My view of a "Ministry CFO" is the staff person whose responsibilities include:
>> You view the finance "Big Picture" and not necessarily be the finance transaction processor or historian. A CFO needs to concentrate on being both a "Communicator" as well as an "Interpreter". Granted you need to authorize certain finance transactions and perhaps do a portion of the other work to intelligently be of service. But, in my view, the real professional value of a Ministry CFO is one who helps Ministry leaders understand what has happened financially (past history) and the financial consequences of projected plans (probable future).
>> As CFO you need to focus on being an instructor/trainer of less qualified people than yourself as they do the processor/historian tasks so you can zero in on being the professional that you need to be. The emphasis is to be sure that things are done the way you want them done, but not necessarily do them yourself. Exercise the fine art of "this financial info does not look quite right ... let's look into that more deeply"; thereby insuring the Ministry decision makers of reliable financial reports for wise judgment. Plus you need to be the needed corporate financial planner as you evaluate the financial impact of the immediate and its probable future plans.
>> Make prudent financial system conclusions ... or you design and implement methods re your:
a > Accounting system infrastructure;
b> Periodic and annual reporting of ministry finances to those who should understand and make fiscal decisions;
c> Appropriate computerization of any of such matters.
>> Or you need to know about and utilize contemporary computer systems that reduce the amount of paper that is processed in accomplishing your job as a ministry finance practitioner. Adhere to the following "Truism," or principle: "Enter a verified number once, then have the system replicate it in the appropriate manner." All too often, I find that numbers are inefficiently entered, posted, transferred, combined and finally reported. Use the many fine tools and resources (primarily computer systems) in order to maximize this "Truism."
(09) Monthly Editorial - "For What It is Worth" as originally rendered in 2005 -- Proposed eExchequer Services
(10) Click below for Potentially Helpful Online Links for JIMs JRNL Readers:
Church Managemnt Software Listing
Issue of Christain Computer Magazine
Oh these Ideas will never work
(11) Current "Ministry Finance" Truism (2)
Below is one of my Ministry Finance precepts/beliefs/principles, or "rules of thumb". Please go to 0069 for complete TRUISMS list. As pointed out in depth when you Click Here, the Accrual Basis of Accounting for expense purposes keeps a Ministry abreast of all its costs whether they have been paid for them or not.
(12) Bible Verse and/or Prayerful Thots (3):
Lord, as to our stewardship of finances - Personal or Ministry , may I simply say: "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever." In thy precious name, Amen.
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 9705. 9706 and 9707
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