"JIMs JRNL" Edition
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TO: Interested Onliners FROM: Jim Bramer, Auditor-CPA
RE: J I Ms J R N L for the month of January 2009 FILE: 0201-09/jrnl
(1) Pooling of Bank Accounts (5)
A Ministry is not the steward that they should be if they have a number of Bank Accounts (Checking or Savings, etc.) .... or a Ministry should NOT have a separate Bank Account for every endeavor. I am noticing again that a single Ministry will have something like one Bank Account for the General Purpose Fund and separate Bank Accounts for a number of their high profile Special Purpose Funds. Financial credibility of a specialized Ministry endeavor, or financial management/reporting thereof, should be accomplished by the appropriate Fund Accounting system (via the proper Chart of Accts infra-structure, etc.) and not via separate Bank Accounts, etc.
Please Click Here and read about Where and Why issues related to unique management by Ministries of their specialized finances. For example, note the Where and Why perspective of the two sides of the $183,688 in the financial report below. All of us should be good money managers, or we should pool such monies in such a way that you leave as little as possible in non interest bearing Bank Accounts and a maximum amount in applicable "Daily Interest Bearing Savings - DIBS" accounts. (or savvy investments, etc.). Please also Click Here for more details about this topic and also go to the following links for more details about "pooling", etc: 0063 5005 5090 and 0207 .
Bank Accounts @ Credit Union
Money Market-rate x.xx
CD-rate x.xx due xx/xx/xx
CD-rate x.xx due xx/xx/xx
Office Petty Cash
Memo Accts re Fixed Assets 0102
SCRIP Store Advance
Total Asset Pool
Payable to Vendors
Due on Credit Cards
Fund Balances/Net Assets: **Donor Restrictions**
Other Donor Designated
XYZ Special Fund
Short Term Mission Trip
All Other such Designations
Total Fund Bal/Net Assets
Year To Date GPFund Excess
AGAIN, THE THRUST IS: ..... Do NOT leave unnecessary balances in your low or non-interest bearing Bank Accounts; and be sure and pool your Bank Balances and earn the maximum amount of Interest Income that is possible. This is very difficult when you unnecessarily have a number of Bank Accounts, etc.!!!
(2) "THOU SHALT" or "OBLIGATORY" money has been around for a long time (01)
A Ministry is responsible for "WE SHALT" monies, or the Board decides how to budget for general purpose (GPFund) fiscal resources. But acceptance of Board approved "OBLIGATORY" monies indicates that the Ministry must administer "THOU SHALT" monies. The obvious "OBLIGATORY" aspects of course also include liability obligations which includes monies owed to debtors or outsiders; such as: >> Unremitted withheld and accrued payroll taxes, >> Unpaid bills to vendors, >> prepaid revenue and >> unpaid installment Equipment/Facility loans.
But OBLIGATORY responsibilities also include what we call "Special Purpose Funds --SPFunds" (note this is plural, while GPFund is singular). Actually Ministry Fund Accounting is the science of handling these unique monies. Such issues have been around for a long time. See these "OBLIGATORY" monies found in II Chronicles 34:9-11; or note the paraphrased portions of "II Kings Chapter 12" below:
"The Temple was still in disrepair, so the King said to the Priests: "Why haven't you done anything about fixing the Temple? Do not use any more of those receipts for the usual operating needs, but from now on use it to get the Temple in good condition."
So the Priests set up a special "Repair Fund" by making a hole in the side of a large chest and they set it on the right hand side of the alter at the Temple entrance. The doorkeepers put the people's contribution into this chest and this money was used just to repair the Temple."
Please note below some of the terms we have encountered during our span of some 50 years in dealing with these Ministry Fund Accounting matters:
Dedicated Funds; Spoken For; Strings Attached; In/Out, or Nout (short for in/out accounts --- get it???); Restricted; SetASide; Designated; Trust Funds; TO-FROM; Directed Gifts; Encumbered; Non-Avail; Ear marked; Protected Funds; Impounds; Committed.
"OBLIGATORY" elements regarding SPFunds have these common elements:
1> Donor Restrictions (we prefer the term "Donor Preferences') for Ministry Board approved in advance projects, etc.
2> Board Designated that includes such things as: Prior Year Gain/Losses; Assessments to the GPFund for named SetASide Purposes.
3> Plus Ministry Self Funded Activities like: Church Vacation Bible School; Sunday School activities; Youth activities; AWANA: Sports activities etc. Often a portion of these Self Funded Activities are funded by the GPFund
For additional perspective please read Two Sides of the Same Coin
(3) Overview and Time Line of the annual Church Budget Process: (4)
THE ANNUAL CHURCH BUDGET PROCESS:
-- The Church's fiscal year ends March 31st
-- The Board of Leadership has the final non congregational Church money spending authority.
-- The Executive Council sub-committee consists of the Board Chairman, Board Treasurer and two other Board members
-- This Executive Council is the only group that knows the amount of Staff Salaries and Benefits. No one else but the Church Accountant knows these payroll details.
-- The Finance committee (which is a Board of Leadership appointed sub-committee) meets one week before the annual meeting with any member interested in such matters
-- The annual Operations Budget is approved by the Church Congregation at their annual meeting held one week before this Church year ends. This process authorizes next year's subsequent actions in advance.
-- The Board of Leadership can approve up or down budget changes during that year of up to 5% of the annual Church Congregation approved budget.
The "Time Line" below is the indicated time before the "Annual Congregational Meeting"
-- Some eleven weeks --- Departments begin putting together their next year's Budget needs
-- Some eight weeks -- Proposed Departmental Budgets are submitted to the Executive Council
-- Some six weeks --- The Executive Council submits its first draft of next year's Budget to the Finance Committee
-- Some four weeks -- The Finance Committee makes their recommendations to the Board of Leadership
-- Some three weeks -- The Board of Leadership approves next year's Budget
-- Some two weeks - - The approved annual Budget by the Board of Leadership is available for review by any Church member at a Finance Committee meeting held just for this review purpose.
-- Some two weeks -- At the annual meeting of the Church Congregation next week the Church needs the expenses for the entire year, so the Church Accountant takes actual expenses for 51 weeks and projects for 52 weeks so the needed anticipated annual expenses for the year can be compared to new annual budget figures.
-- One week -- The Church Congregation approves the upcoming year's Budget at this time so the expenses of the upcoming year are pre-authorized, etc..
(4) SPENDING CONTROL and record keeping factors. (6)
One of our objectives is to convince you Christian Entities (Small Christ-Centered Ministries and Christian Family Units) to have God enabling "SPENDING CONTROLS." It is a goal of ours for you to be able to answer "YES" to these questions:
>> Do you know if you have money to righteously spend in the upcoming week for said pre- approved purposes?
>> Do you do a minimum amount of buying with Cash and a maximum amount of prudent buying via Plastic?
>> Do you go online and pay off you unpaid Plastic Balance during the month (weekly or semi-monthly) ?
>> Have you maintained meaningful weekly financial records and reports in order to CONTROL YOUR SPENDING?
Finance record keeping is a fundamental need ..... how can you be a good steward if you do not know the essential up-to-date financial facts. The emphasis is current available status --- not historical by type of expense data per se.
A way to do this is to use the BuxBox method/system or structure which enables you to buy only if you have a balance in such a BuxBox account as demonstrated via the use of the eFINFAX accounting system. Thrust --- the essential info is NOT the amount of money in the Banks but the available balance in a specific pre-approved BuxBox
>> As a Computer/Internet user, are you making full use of Contemporary Resources, etc to CONTROL YOUR SPENDING?
Using software like older versions of QuickBooks Pro, per the full use of a Laptop - or desktop computer; maybe have web based approach; make full use of paying repetitive bills Online and making full use of downloading to your software of Bank and Plastic transactions.
>> Are you making maximum use of remote HOMERs to assist you to answer "YES" to the preceding questions?
(5) If Jim B were the Volunteer Board Treasurer -- (3)
As the Ministry Volunteer Board Treasurer (or its Chief Financial Officer - CFO) are you making the most of Ministry Finance management tools/resources that are available to you and your Ministry when you Go Here . I have some personal background as to how I have personally served "Christ-Centered Ministries" in the indicated capacities since 1958. Of course the bulk of my involvement during this time has been as the Auditor-CPA or as an "Outsider Looking In" , but my emphasis here is as an "Insider Looking Out" such as my current effort for the last 10 years has been there as a HELPER to the "Ministry Finance Team" of a local Church here in Fresno, CA.
I trust you find some relevant assistance by type of Ministry within the following link contents as to this topic: "If Jim B were a Volunteer Board Treasurer" as you look into such matters that are listed within these links: Churches --- 5089-02; Schools --- 7089-02 ; Mission Orgs --- 8089-02 and Camp --- 0089-02
(6) - Churches and "Righteous Personal Finance" Helps (7)
Below is a dialog between a fellow Christian named Dale and Jim@bcidot.org on Righteous Personal Finance - RPFin topics. Let us know if you have any questions. Be sure and read about "Personal Finance Spending Control" resources found at 0400
FR: Dale -- I have noticed that you refer to "RIGHTEOUS PERSONAL FINANCE - RPFin"; please explain.
FR Jim@bcidot.org Yes, Dale, others have also wondered the same thing. I suppose I use the term "RIGHTEOUS PERSONAL FINANCE - RPFin" because it is a carry over of the title I have used when I formally shared these issues in Seminars. I could just as easily used the term "Right-ful" rather than "Righteous." A more formal definition etc is found in 4007.
All of us know that the Church entity itself should be a good steward of its financial resources. Such issues have been high profile in my vocational life. Much can be said about these matters, but the "RIGHTEOUS PERSONAL FINANCE - RPFin" issues, in my opinion, also needs attention.
In more recent years, I have become more convinced that the local Church needs to go beyond it's typical INTERNAL FINANCE matters emphasis and help their members on this subject of "RPFin". The Board of Leadership of the local Church needs to not only manage carefully it's own INTERNAL FINANCIAL matters, but provide help to their members (or constituency) on this topic.
It is a well known fact that various Para church groups have recognized that Church members need help in the RPFin area of their lives and have stepped into the gap. Three groups stand out in my mind, the Ministries headed up by RON BLUE and LARRY BURKETT plus an organization known as CROWN MINISTRIES.
With regard to finances in a church setting, we often find something like the following:
- The Pastor preaches, no more than two or three times, if at all, during the year on the general topic of biblical principles regarding this subject.
- A Board of Leadership Finance Commission (along with the MFTeam functions with an emphasis toward such things as the Church's Operating Budget and protection of the funds and financial resources of the church.
- In a very few churches, a Stewardship group functions toward encouraging the membership to know and live up to their church financial commitments.
- During, and at the end of the year, INTERNAL FINANCE matters are reported, yea, even highlighted, because there never seems to be enough.
-- LOCAL "RIGHTEOUS PERSONAL FINANCE-RPFin" HELP --
My thesis is that each Church's Board of Leadership should expand its Church Finance responsibilities. It should cover not only its INTERNAL FINANCE affairs, but provide specific RPFin helps to its people. This might include:
1> We should all be convinced that there is nothing wrong with 'talking about money' within our Church, it is another one of those 'things' in our every day life that should be a 'tool (blessing) and not a tyrant (curse).'
2> RPFin principles need to be taught to our children at a early age. It should be appropriately integrated into our CHRISTIAN EDUCATION endeavors.
3> New BLVRs should be so trained; without exception, appropriate pre-marital RPFin training should be provided! Newly Marrieds should be helped to lay appropriate RPFin foundations.
4> Like a lot of things in our Christian life, our older marrieds should be encouraged to share their experiences along these lines with the younger generation.
5> As 'pushed' above, it is my opinion that the local Church Board of Leadership should be responsible to see that it's constituent's experience RPFin. Then it should avail itself of the resources provided by CROWN MINISTRIES and others. Go to 4999 for a list. Like in the case of many other fine para-church groups, in my opinion, such a group should NOT assume governing issues regarding its people that properly belong to the Church's Board of Leadership.
6> The local Church's thrust along these lines MUST include early detection and prevention of it's constituent's RPFin problems. Please go to 4001 for a self-examination tool.
7> Many Church members have a personal computer. Once a member knows and practices such Biblical principles, they should be encouraged to use applicable Personal Finance software in keeping financial records that help them experience RPFin.
FR: DALE I think I understand 'where you are coming from, Jim, but just exactly how do you help in this regard?
FR Jim@bcidot.org : Well, hopefully, Dale, I can convince Churches that their Board Finance Committee should cover these additional responsibilities, as explained above. An essential part of the BLVR experiencing quality RPFin is good financial record keeping. A way of doing this is via use of personal software and a "Quite Virtual Envelope (QVE)" system. Also check out the "BuxBox" system.
FR: DALE Thank you, Jim ...... we will be in touch, I am sure, as our present Board Finance Committee certainly does NOT now address these issues.
(7) Helpful Declarations for a Christian (8)
When you go to 0034 you will find a list of 36 "Helpful Declarations for a Christian." Below is how it starts out:
Someone made this statement: "Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice."
Click below for Potentially Helpful Online Links for JIMs JRNL Readers: (1)
This month I am restricting this area to my 2005 Editorial about a proposed "eExchequer Services" online financial services endeavor that would potentially remotely serve as partially explained below --- would this serve a meaningful purpose today?
A "eExchequer Services" endeavor involves the use of "Web Based or Online Apps" resources/tools to do accounting and financial reporting via what I call Internet Financial Services. This thrust centers around what I discuss in my editorial found at 0904 where we then used the term "Application Service Providers - ASP." I trust the content of 0934 is also of interest to you.
Such "Online Apps" systems have greatly matured and become more and more acceptable as they provide meaningful and secure software applications for use over the Internet for very reasonable monthly fees. Or as you use today's fast Internet connections, there is no need for you to purchase software and place it on your hard drive for use on your desktop. You simply log on to the provider's secure web site and your Internet browser allows you to use the software virtually as if you were doing this via any Desktop software. And even more importantly, the user does not have to be concerned about such things as:
A> Secure data storage of your data content or system - no backups,
B> Hardware compatibility,
C> Upgrades, updates, or viruses.
D> Secure data is available 24/7 and is accessible from different locations by any number of authorized persons via such resources as laptops and fast connections.
E> Such a remote relationship can take the hassle out of owning/using fund accounting software.
F> Part of the monthly 'package' is that users are trained by computer experts
Such an "eExchequer Services" endeavor would be designed to serve smaller Christian not-for-profit entities such as Churches, Mission Organizations, Private Schools and Camps/Conference or any such Ministry as they manage their unique finances. See eFINFAX as an example of such a process. Please Click Here for access to a website that speaks to some of these matters. Brads Nest of Bees might also be of interest - especially when you Click Here.
Current "Ministry Finance" Truism (2)
Usually I share a Ministry Finance precepts/beliefs/principles, or "rules of thumb". Please go to 0069 for complete TRUISMS list. But I though you would enjoy this poem about "Money."
Dug from the mountain side, washed in the glen; Server am I, The master of men.
Steal me, I curse you, Earn me, I bless you, Grasp me and hoard me, A fiend shall possess you.
Lie for me, die for me, covet me, take me; Angel or devil, I am what you make me.
Prayerful Thots (3): Oh Lord, may we in the USA turn from our ways and learn from these five reasons for
"The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", per Edward Gibbon -- 1737-1794
1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for the free bread and circuses for the people.
3. The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more exotic and more brutal.
4. The building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy was within -- the decadence of the people.
5. The decay of religion --faith fading into mere formalism; losing touch with life and becoming impotent to guide the people.
This "Blogger" like monthly endeavor 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.
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 9707 9708 and 9709
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