"JIMs  JRNL" Edition
   (Click Here for "Blogger like" perspective/rationale)   

              

Links on our Website include: 

ABOUT  US   |  OUR PURPOSE   |  TABLE OF CONTENTS   |  SEARCH  MATTERS  |  HOW WE HELP SPECIFICS   |  FUND ACCTG VIA COMPUTERS   |  GLOSSARY         

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


  TO:  Interested Onliners                                                                                                      FROM: Jim Bramer, Auditor-CPA
                                                                                                                                                                        
   
   RE: 
J I Ms  J R N L for the month of
April 2009                                                            FILE:  0204-09/jrnl                   


00 - "QBLOG"  for users of Quickbooks (QBs) at “Small Christ Centered Entities” (00)

            "QBLOG"  is a new "BLOGGER" type use of the Internet as "Retired Auditor CPA Jim Bramer" Jim@bcidot.org   ponders/shares certain things that come into his life pertaining to the use of (QBs)  as used by  applicable Christ-Centered Entities who handle $500,000 or less per annum.   Hopefully this effort contributes to helping them more effectively use this software. 
           This will be integrated within the following existing “QBunch Yahoo Forum.”   When you join this forum you will automatically receive access to the "QBLOG's"  monthly edition.    
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/qbunch/      
            Its contents will include a recent "Onliner Dialog" that have been depersonalized for your overall benefit and current issues that need to be addressed.  Plus it will include a regular monthly "QTIP" as you utilize this QBs tool.  Each "QBLOG" edition  is compiled during the month and then sent to you via the above “QBunch Yahoo Forum”   so you can usually link to it the subsequent month.  Please go to
April 2009  for this month’s edition.

01 - Credit Card Covenant at Your Ministry - Church  -  (01)

         Many Ministries are rightfully now receiving money Online and many people use their Credit Cards to do this.  We all know that many folk are NOT appropriately using their Credit Cards and are spending beyond their means.  The following  "Credit Card Covenant at Your Ministry - Church" is like what is discussed within 4040.   Once you begin receiving Online payments (for either Event Payments and Donations), we believe you should seek something like the following:

  • TO: Named Constituent                                           FROM; Board of Leadership

    RE: Online use of Credit Card                                DATE: xx/xx/xx

        Thank you for using your Plastic/Credit Card here at the Ministry.
        But frankly, we have concerns about providing this buying resource to everyone.  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. We do not agree with some who inappropriately believe that a Credit Card is evil. 
        But we do not want to contribute to such problems, as we know that many of you are righteously using Credit Cards as part of your financial stewardship.  We firmly believe, like many things in our world today, that Credit Cards can be either a "tool" or a "tyrant." Such matters are totally subjective, or personal issues between the individual 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 better stewards of such matters, ask us about certain "
    Righteous Personal Finance" help resources, 
        2> When you pay your Plastic charges and incur NO Interest Expense, or loan charges, you are likely using the Credit Card as a "Tool" and not as a 'Tyrant'.
        3> We, therefore, ask that you promise the Lord that you will regularly NOT pay Credit Card Interest Expense at least  "
    on your use of Plastic/Credit Card with us."   We join you in prayer as you keep this personal commitment to Him.  One way of doing this is to immediately pay the Credit Card company for Online payments made to us.  Thank you  

02 - Finances at Church Auxiliary Groups (02)

From:  Pat - 

    Jim, within recent weeks we have had questions about how to handle money flowing through our Auxiliary groups.  To remind you, we are a Church who handles a little more that $500,000 during our fiscal year.      

From:   Jim@bcidot.org 

    OK .... please begin by defining what you mean by "Auxiliary" groups.      

From: Pat --

    Right .... our "Auxiliary" groups, or special interest groups, covers at least the following:  Adult Sunday School Classes, Adult Choir Groups, Women's Ministry, Men's Groups, etc.  For more perspective, here is some more info:  >  We do NOT permit these groups to have their own checking account --- all such transactions are included within our "Unified accounting and reporting system."    >   Most all groups - especially the Adult Classes  - are very "this is our money" oriented.        

From: Jim -

    All too often I find that such groups are so independent that they have their own bank accounts and protocol.  They are so independent of the Church that they often object to do any reporting of activities or finances to the governing board or the Church  -- their activities/finances seldom get into the annual Church report that goes to the congregation. 
    This situation often starts with such groups having their own checking accounts, so I am very glad that you do NOT permit that.  

From: Pat --

    What you have just mentioned about independence seems to be the root of the questions that I have.  All Auxiliary participants need to have a proprietary interest in the group, but it seems that there needs to be limits.

From: Jim -

    Let me share some basics and see if they address your concerns:

  •   The governing Board MUST be in charge of all Church endeavors. Auxiliary endeavors MUST have Board approval.
  •   Members (or anyone considered part of the Church family) need to make money contributions in such a way that they are tax deductible.
  •   Fund Raising projects by any Auxiliary must be approved by the Board, or it's delegate. 

From: Pat --

                Right, Jim, this helps me get a much better perspective of the need for such groups to follow mandated Church policy.  I can now see how that a group can in fact do such things as raise money for various pieces of needed furniture or equipment -- as long as they are getting advance approval and it enhances the overall Church ministry. 
                Further,  such groups can sponsor and finance a Church approved Missionary or Mission project.  Again as long as it is a Church approved relationship, or endeavor, and it does not interfere with the overall Missions program and it does not complicate the Mission Budget arrangement.  If the Church has a Board Mission sub-committee, then, of course, such a relationship should fit into the Mission Committee's overall finance and prayer support effort.  It is my experience that many times such a Auxiliary group representing the Church can best personalize a Church relationship with a Missionary serving outside the states, etc.
                Obviously, an Auxiliary should NOT "do their own thing" and disregard the overall Church effort etc.
  

03 -  Internal Financial Controls - Self Testing (03)

        Before me is a magazine article written within the last decade about how a church was understandably 'stunned'  when they discovered that one of their Pastors was stealing from the church. Stealing of money from a church or like kind of ministry seems to happen all too often. 
       
As stressed in
this  Editorial , there seems to be a need at Ministries, especially among Churches, to take assurance steps to reduce the possibility that people are stealing money or fiscal resources from Ministries. The suggested Ministry Finance Integrity Pledge within this editorial would apply, of course, to any one involved in handling money receipts... at churches, it applies to ushers and counters and people taking event collections/payments off campus.  But most importantly, we believe a regular Test should be taken of your internal controls and/or checks and balances.  See the resources below:

TEST PROCESS

        You will note below that we have a Flagable (how about that for a word?) Topics List  for all types of Ministries.  This includes Churches, Mission Agencies, Christian Schools, Christian Camps/Retreats and all other Christian Ministries supported by the public.  So simply indicate in the "(a) N/A" column if the topic does not pertain to you... for example, under B> RECEIPTS, "Church Ushers and Counters" might not apply to your Ministry.
        We recommend that the Finance group leader thoroughly digest Internal Control matters as outlined within 0039. The Finance group leader would pass out the Flagable Topics List  below to all those in attendance.  Then this leader would explain each topic below, if necessary, and the group would agree on the "Red"  Flagable topics that need attention.

            FLAGABLE TOPICS LIST (1):

(a) N/A

Green

Red

A> GENERAL INTERNAL CONTROL ITEMS:

1-Embezzlement insurance (Bonding, etc) coverage

____

____

____

2-Important records are in safe keeping

____

____

____

3-Separation of finance duties to prevent

staff member collusion

____

____

____

4-Two people involved in Journal Entries

____

____

____

5-Software "(c) Set in Concrete" issues

____

____

____

6-Regularly compare actual to budget

____

____

____

7-Merchandise Inventory matters

____

____

____

8-Equipment accountability

____

____

____

9-Other...please indicate     __________________

____

____

____

B> RECEIPTS:

1-Receipts not alone with people

____

____

____

a) Event collections

____

____

____

b) Church Ushers

____

____

____

c) Church Counters

____

____

____

2-Deposit intact (b)

____

____

____

3-Receipts safe pending deposit

____

____

____

4-Checks endorsed upon receipt

____

____

____

5-Mail opening is secure

____

____

____

6-Other.................................

____

____

____

C> AMOUNTS DUE THE MINISTRY:

1-Matters concerning separation of duties

____

____

____

2-Control & subsidiary Acct agreement

____

____

____

3-Bal Due go out regularly

____

____

____

4-Other.................................

____

____

____

D> DISBURSEMENTS-PAID OUTS:

1-Limited Cash paid outs

____

____

____

2-Someone else authorizes checks before

Bookkeeper can write checks

____

____

____

3-Bookkeeper does Not sign checks

____

____

____

4-Original Inv/doc goes with check when

signed and is voided

____

____

____

5-Other.................................

____

____

____

E> BUYING - PURCHASING:

1-In compliance w/authorized budget

____

____

____

2-Advance approval of Volunteer buying

____

____

____

3-Purchase Order or Plastic alternative

____

____

____

4-Other.................................

____

____

____

         (a) Seldom or Not Applicable (N/A)
         (b) No payments made from Undeposited money

         (c) Can not go back and change process

FINAL  THRUST

        Perhaps Church Associations should advocate and assist in their Churches taking such a test as this on a regular basis.
        Contact me at  Jim@bcidot.org  if you have any comments or questions. Let us know if there is any merit in a Ministry (anonymously, if desired) completing a form out on www.bcidot.org  that obtains the applicable "Flagable" test data and we assist the Ministry in evaluating "red flag" topics and correcting the agreed weaknesses.

                               Other www.bcidot.org resources include the following:

PUBLICATION DESCRIPTION

     I. D.

1>

Assuror definition & matters

0063-07/all

2>

Camps-Conference cash handling

0042-02/all

3>

Church Counting

5001-77/chu

4>

Check Signing and Internal Controls

0066-02/all

5>

Grade Examples

0075-01/all

6>

Grade Examples-More

0128-77/all

7>

Grade Examples-Church

5128-77/chu

7a) Improve Financial Admin 0916-03/fwi

8>

Insurance Exam

0073-02/all

9>

Internal Financial Controls-in detail

0039-01/all

10>

Integrity Pledge

0915-03/fwi

11>

Ministry Finance Evaluation

0025-01/hlp

12>

QB Internal Controls

0647-02/qbb

13>

QB Self Exams

0603-09/qbb

14>

Self Exams

0005-01/all

15>

Self Exams-Editorial

0901-03/fwi

16>

Ten Commandments at a Ministry

0032-01/all

17>

Truisms on this topic

0069-01/all

04 - Personal Finance System  and Spending Control via Two Check Stubs  - (04)

        Those of us in our retirement years had few computer bookkeeping systems when we began to live on our own and handle money, etc.
        We deposited our pay check into the Bank and then we posted each transaction to our
 Check Stub records. Of course, whenever we wrote a check we made it a part of the Check Stub  records.  Obviously, as part of our Check Stub  conventional process, we took our beginning balance, added our deposits and deducted our checks so we always knew if we had any money in the Bank.   If we were smart, we wrote the equivalent of a check to ourselves for cash;  or we did NOT cash our pay check and deposit only the residual to our Bank Account. 
       
When the statement came from the Bank we "reconciled" the Bank's data to our
 Check Stub  records and made sure they agreed. 

CHECK STUBS AND BUXBOXES

        With all of this in mind, please embrace the information below about a modified  Check Stub and BuxBox  system for today's use as we have Spending Limit information that we talk about when you  Click Here  -- especially as each of us comply with    Righteous Personal Finance issues within context of these   Truisms.

  •      Many of us, especially the younger generation, are NOT living within our income and are incurring too much Credit Card debt.
  •      We, therefore, should make use of a system whereby all of our money, either received or spent, flows through some type of BuxBox (or Envelope) system that allows us to readily know the amount of our agreed Spending Limits. Or we discipline ourselves to  spend only  the balance per the applicable  BuxBox, etc.
  •      Most all of us today have 24/7  Internet access whereby we can get the equivalent of our Credit Card and Bank Statements. Or we get this information weekly and we do not have to wait its monthly arrival. If we do not have Internet access, we simply make use of our small Credit Card slips.
  •      At the offset, we set up only two BuxBoxes; one called "Spoken For (Obligatory)" --  where you have made a financial commitment and the other called "UnSpoken For (Discretionary)"  -- where you decide within context of your life style as you go along, etc.  Please note examples of transactions going out of each of these two  BuxBoxes  below:   We limit the number of our  BuxBoxes  and  purposefully do NOT have a BuxBox for every type of expenditure. 

        (1) UnSpoken For

         (2) Spoken For 

   
Auto/Vehicle Operations - not essential Auto/Vehicle Operations - flat amt for essential
Church Offerings etc Auto/Vehicle Payments
Clothing - non essential Church Tithes and Pledges - etc
Dental - as needed Clothing - flat amt for essential
Eating Out - Restaurant or Fast Food Debt - College Loans etc
Entertainment and/or Recreation costs Debt - Old Credit Card Pay off
Gifts to Family, etc. Groceries - flat amt for essential
Groceries - non essential House Payment or Rent
Investments for Retirement or the future Household Equipment Payment
Residence Maintenance - non essential Insurance - Life
School/Education/Activity Costs  Insurance - Property - Vehicles
SetASides for any of these future wants Insurance Medical/dental expenses
Utilities - TV and Internet/Cel Phones Residence Maintenance - essential 
Vacation Costs SetASides for any as named in future
  Taxes - Income (3)
  Taxes - Property
  Utilities - flat amt for essential
    (1) Defined as "your optional choices
that you make"
    (2) Defined as "associated with
a need/promise/agreement"  This could
be with the Lord, Self or Vendor/Provider; 
    (3) Defined as "usually not an option
due to employer withholdings"
   
  •    That is right  ........  we establish and maintain two Check Stubs .......  each with a running balance.  The first  Check Stub  is for "Spoken For (Obligatory)" activity and the other Check Stub  is for "UnSpoken For (Discretionary)"  transactions as each deposit and/or check transaction is divided up accordingly. The result is that after we make a deposit, or write a check, we update these two  Check Stubs  and know how much is available per the running balance in both of these two Check Stubs    (Yea, BuxBoxes).  Or we view both Check Stubs  as if they were a separate Bank Account.   Another view of a  Check Stub  equivalent detail is found at   0722.   By the way, if this rings any bells with you, please ask me at Jim@bcidot.org about the  Check Stub  process via the use of a special type of Excel doc.
  •      We do all of our buying (preferably by Credit Card , or via a check - if needed) only if there is available money in that  Check Stubs  BuxBox ----- this is especially applicable to the many buying options within the UnSpoken For (Discretionary)  BuxBox.     
  •      Since we pay off our Credit Card balance weekly (preferable via an Online Payment)  and place such check equivalent activity into the respective " Check Stubs  "BuxBox. we have the current running balance of the two  Check Stubs  BuxBoxes at least weekly.
  •      Our Bank Reconcile process includes activity and balances of both Check Stubs.  Some prefer to accomplish this effort via actually having two Bank Accounts, but we recommend dividing up only one Bank Account.
  •      In time we may want additional  Check Stubs  (BuxBoxes) to better control more specific areas of our spending.  Then we likely would more fully embrace the applicable Internet/Online/computer resources mentioned at www.qbuxbox.org
  •      Be sure you understand the ATF (After the Fact)  option of making entries to the two  Check Stubs  (BuxBoxes) only from transactions appearing in the weekly copies of the Bank and Credit Card Statements - thereby eliminating the need for a reconciliation process.  Or both  Check Stub  (BuxBoxes) balances would agree with the total shown by the weekly Bank Statement.
  •      Did you notice that  we have not used the "Budget"  awful word in any of our comments above?

CAUTION!!  You  MUST  have consistent "Money Record Keeping"  plus   Discipline   !  Discipline   !   Discipline !!
 

(05)   Could your Ministry use an "ASSUROR"   ?   (5)

       When you  CLICK HERE  you will discover how we also vigorously point you to some Flagable  items so that you understand our expressed concerns for the on-going safety and veracity of your finances.
        An  ASSUROR   is  trained  to improve your existing
 Flagable  concerns.  As detailed below, we believe that a  Qualified  person can function as THE LOCAL ASSUROR or THE REMOTE ASSUROR as they provide the needed "Verification and/or Assurance"  services.    CLICK HERE  and   HERE  for more perspective.

- - T H E   L O C A L   A S S U R O R   - -

         

LOCATION:

 
 

              Issues or Tasks

(1)Off Site

(2)On Site

 

1

  Off Site means the  ASSUROR's place of business

 

XXXX

   

2

  On Site means the Ministry's place of business

 

XXXX

 

3

  Bank Reconciliation

       
   

Bank Statement can be mailed directly to ASSUROR  " Ministry Name C/O ASSUROR"

        XXXX  
   

ASSUROR's tasks:

         
   

- Bank reconciles Bank Statement balance

     
   

      to Ministry's balance.

XXXX

   
   

- Verifies cross bank checks/deposits

XXXX

   
   

- Can appropriately view cancelled checks and

     
   

       endorsements

 

XXXX

   
   

- Cares for applicable Online Payment matters

XXXX

   
   

- Gets Bank Statements and cancelled

     
   

     checks to (or back to) the Ministry

XXXX

   
   

- Make Bank Rec Journal Entries

 

XXXX

 
   

    b>  Could go directly to Ministry but then

     
   

opened only by ASSUROR, etc.

     

4

  ASSUROR  "Sets things in concrete"

 

5

  Produce non-computer copies of:

     
   

- Detailed G/L, or General ledger

  XXXX

     XXXX  
   

- QBs SPFunds Class Tranx

       XXXX      XXXX  
   

- QBs GPFund Class Tranx

       XXXX      XXXX  
   

- Month End Internal Proofs

       XXXX      XXXX  
   

     a> Probably Off Site, but could be On Site.

     

6

  ASSUROR could be a member of Finance Committee

 
   

    As committee member; not as an outside Auditor.

 
  7  

ASSUROR  could provide needed Year End Financial report services according to known

 

XXXX 

 
   

GAAP requirements.

     XXXX  

   -  -  T H E  R E M O T E    A S S U R O R  -  -

Issues or Tasks 

A.    The Ministry cost-efficiently uses the Internet to get their latest General Ledger (per via a QB Pro Company)  to the ASSUROR  who uses it for tasks like the following:

        ·  LOYS as you both view the same General Ledger via the Internet 
·
    Click here for info about an Web Based device where all have access to the Online General Ledger
·
    Click here to view a "Proof"  worksheet example 

B.  The  ASSUROR does the monthly BREC (Bank reconciliation) as Bank Statements and cancelled checks (or equivalent) are mailed directly to ASSUROR  (Ministry Name,  C/O ASSUROR )  ....  whose tasks could include any, or all, of the following: 

        ·         BREC bank statement balance to Ministry's balance. 
·
           Verifies cross bank checks/deposits 
·
           Views cancelled checks/endorsements 
·
           Cares for Online Payment matters 
·
           Gets the Bank Statements and cancelled checks back to the Ministry 
·
           Makes sure that the Bank Reconciliation adjustment entries get into the General Ledger 

C.  ASSUROR  "Sets QB in concrete", or finalizes a month end, which might involve at least the following:

        ·         Becomes the General Ledger or QB password Admin;  
·
           Gives Ministry permission to Close the Period (Month) and print copies of the following: 
·
           Views detailed G/L, or General ledger 
·
           Views detailed QB SPFunds Class Tranx report
·
           Views detailed QB GPFund Class Tranx report 
·
           Views detailed Month End Internal Proofs 
·
           Sets "Closed Period" dates 

D.  The ASSUROR would have regular remote contact and interaction with the MFTeam. Methods could include: 

        ·         Email 
·
           Periodic phone conference calls whereby all members can hear and inter-act.
·
           Online live dialogs with entire MFTeam or members thereof.

E.  The ASSUROR could provide agreed year end services. 

        Please go to  0077  and learn more about a potential ASSUROR training resources available on this Web Site.  This particularly applied to Retired Accountants who want to be an effective volunteer.   Remember that an ASSUROR is NOT the CPA-Auditor when you click on 0003, or the Internal Auditor mentioned in 0038.  
 

06 - Phiscal (not Physical) VITALS (06)

My dear wife, Bettie,  just had successful  “HIP”  replacement surgery.   Of course, we spent time at the hospital and one of the things that they carefully monitored was her  "Physical VITALS”  --- which, of course, included   Blood Pressure and  Temperature, etc.
            But it did remind me that those of us who have finance responsibilities at  Christ-Centered Entities (or even our Personal Money) need to regularly check such “Phiscal VITALS”  (that is correct,  the term within context is "Phiscal" and not "Fiscal").  We MUST know, before we spend any money, if any is available for our part of the endeavor.  I believe such “VITALS”   areas include such things as the following:

  •    Our finances need to be divided up between that which is “Discretionary” and that which is “Spoken For”   -     Some of us even need to know if we have available monies to spend in various  “Discretionary” areas.   See the Envelope or BuxBox system resources when you go HERE

  •    We need to have up-to-date information, or at least once a week we need to know the latest  --- or we need to report all of our known receipts and disbursements transactions.    No  way  should we be doing any guessing about available monies for buying because our financial information is not current.  See the process encouraged within the eFINFAX system when you go to  www.rpfin.org/hlps/finfaxatf.html   for some details.  

            Please appropriately check out  your  financial health by timely knowing your  “VITALS”  -- 

Helpful Declarations for a Christian.

                        "Godly Counsel"  is a major theme of the book of Proverbs per these verses:

 9:8-9  --  A wise man welcomes instruction
10:17  --  Heed instruction
11:14  --  Lack of guidance causes failure, many advisors make victory sure
12:15  --  A wise man listens to advice
13:18  --  Poverty results from ignoring good advice
15:12  --  A scoffer will not go to the wise
15:22  --  Plans fail for lack of counsel
16:3    --  Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
19:20  --  Listen to advice…and you will be wise
19:27  --  Stop listening to instructions, and you will stray from knowledge
20:18  --  Make plans by seeking advice
24:6    --  For victory you need many advisors
27:17  --  As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another
28:26  --  Trusting oneself is foolish, but those who walk in wisdom are safe

Monthly Editorial =  Please Click on this line for some thoughts about "Ministry Business Administration"  matters.

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

        ADMINISTRATION:    The skill and practice of efficiently and timely getting the appropriate thing done.

Prayerful Thot (3):     

    Dear Lord, life is so short .... help each of us to seriously live out this extremely meaningful statement:  "Only one life, twill soon be past.  Only what's done for Christ will last."   In they 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.   
    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


ABOUT  US   |  OUR PURPOSE   |  TABLE OF CONTENTS   |  SEARCH  MATTERS  |  HOW WE HELP SPECIFICS   |  FUND ACCTG VIA COMPUTERS   |  GLOSSARY

Click Here  for information about earlier JIM's JRNLs - or contact me via   Jim@bcidot.org 

This document was updated last on:  April 20, 2011