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

  TO:  Interested Onliners                                                                                            FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired Auditor-CPA
J I Ms  J R N L  for the months of
March/April 2010                                  FILE:  2010/0304-10                   

01 -  A Church denomination using the QuickBooks Pro (QBs) software (01)

        For the past few months it has been my privilege to work with such a Ministry here in the USA as adjustments were made in their use of this software and related structure.  We have set up one QuickBooks Pro (QBs) Company for their "Operations" Ministry and another set of QBs for their "Investment" responsibilities.  We set up QBs Equity accounts for divisions of their "Operations" with the use of QBs Class accounts for detailed divisional income and expenditure information and reporting.   When "Actual to Budget" reporting was needed within the  "Operations" set of QBs,  then, of course, we used the QBs "Income and Expense" features.
       The Lord had blessed them with some real estate that they were able to sell which enabled them to fund a substantial "Quasi-Endowment"   that they manage via what is called their "Investments" set of QBs .  Some of of the features of this set of QBs enable them to:

    1>  Make Grants that help them fund (Grants) various segments of their "Operations"   Ministries --
    2>  Make some possible non-interest bearing loans to their Churches etc ---  for agreed specified purposes --
    3>  Retain a professional who makes righteous external investments of the corpus of this Quasi-Endowment" --
   4>  Render reports so they can carefully monitor the earnings and its usage (Grants) plus the market changes of such external investments --
    5>  Go Online and make full use of the "pool" and "sweep" features as detailed in the paragraph below.        

        Let me know at Jim@bcidot.org  if you would like more specifics.

02 - POOL- VEST and BREC - SWEEP and Money Management (02)

        One of our money management beliefs is that a Ministry should NOT have multiple bank accounts for various segments of its Ministry ..... or all of the available money on deposit should be "Pooled" and be available to earn the maximum amount of "Interest Income".  Further a Ministry should use the "sweep" concept whereby the "Checking Account" has a small threshold amount and the remainder is moved Online so it can earn the maximum amount of "Interest Income."  A Ministry goes Online and at anytime accesses its "Bank Statement" equivalent to not only do the above "sweep" process, but also to Bank Reconcile (BREC) at least weekly.
        Please Click Here  and find more information about these methods and/or resources as included in our WebBOOKs mentioned below.

03 - Is your Ministry struggling financially?

        We are finding that a number of Ministries .... especially smaller Churches ... are struggling financially.  We hope, as you go through the list below,  that you do NOT have a number of "Yellow" or "Red" Flagable  Financial Issues.  

               F I N A N C I A L   I S S U E S:





 There is not enough income for the Board authorized




expenses of the General Purpose Fund-GPFund.


 The financial record keeping is not good. Such info is not




timely nor is it understood by those who should know.


 The GPFund is prone to borrow from non discretionary funds




(especially donor designated Special Purpose Funds

 SPFunds) in order to meet expenses.


 Staff members are not getting paid timely





 The rent (or mortgage payment) is behind





 The withheld payroll taxes are not paid timely





 Unpaid bills are 60 to 90 days old





 Operations are being funded by sale of assets




        But if you do have too many "Yellow" or "Red"  Flagable  items above, let me introduce you to the  PRIORITY BUXBOX  System which uses the resources of modern day communication and the Internet as set forth within  the   eFinFax  accounting system in order to control your Spending ..... Click Here.   This system has its origins with the Envelope system that many people use to manage their Personal Finances.  Please Go Here  for information about an Internet Centric (or Internet Friendly) solution specifically designed for this process and then  Go Here  and  Here  for some more perspective --- but the system basics are:

  •      You obviously spend  SPFunds  money for that specific purpose ..... not to cover any  GPFund  expenses or earlier deficit.  Please  Go Here for an example of this inappropriate spending.

  •      You only spend the Board discretionary GPFund  money that comes in .... regardless of the money in the Bank or the amounts within the authorized annual budget, etc.   Beginning in 2009, I trust you find of value the WebBOOK entitled "DOES YOU "really" HAVE MONEY TO SPEND AT YOUR CHURCH ?"

  •      You identify this incoming GPFund  money by order of spending priority.

  •     You have a weekly accounting and reporting emphasis so that all know if they have money to spend following that week's deposits.  See the PRIORITY BUXBOX report sample below.

   500 Special Purpose Funds - SPFunds    


      501 Project AA


      502 Project BB


      590 (Deficit) from Previous Years


      599 Board Emergency Fund


   Total 500 SPFs BuxBoxes




   600 Annual General Purpose Fund -GPFund       


      601 Named Fixed Expenses 01


      602 Named Fixed Expenses  02


      625 Named Non Fixed Operating Depart


      681 Named Non Fixed Operating Depart


      682 Named Non Fixed Operating Depart


   Total 600  -GPF BuxBoxes for this year


  Contact  Jim@bcidot.org  for more "Fixed"  Info


Total BuxBox Balances


04-  A contemporary Christian School Accounts Receivable (SCHAR) system (04)

       Below is a dialog with a Christian School Board member (the Onliner below) about some needed improvements in the management of their computerized School Accounts Receivable (SCHAR) system.  This includes a prospective "SCHAR PLASTIC"  way of doing what is needed.

  FROM:  Onliner

       As found when I go Here  Here  and Here  I want to thank you for the information about finances at a Christian School, Jim.  I serve on such a Board and our accounting system is inadequate -  especially the "School Accounts Receivable" part.   I have been looking at QuickBooks Pro (QBs).   Am I asking too much for such a system to provide the following?   

    1>>    System must be able to handle different tuition billings, i.e. monthly, 9 periods etc. 
    2>>     For parents paying this way it must be able to do progressive billing
    3>>     Matching of revenue earned to revenue billed.  
    4.>>   Show parents on their statements the amount they currently owe under their payment plan.     
    5>>    I also want my aged A/R report to not commingle any credit balances. I only want to see aging based on unpaid amount due. 
    6>>    I would like everything automated and be able to efficiently account for the Unearned or Prepaid Tuition.

                           FROM:  Retired Auditor CPA Jim Bramer       
      What you are asking for is pretty much what a Christian School needs as they manage their School Accounts Receivable -  SCHAR.   Below is another view of what a SCHAR system should provide:
    a>  Obviously, it needs to timely report/provide operational money so the School can pay its bills, etc.
    b>  Make full use of meaningful Internet/computer SCHAR resources and tools.
    c>  Which provides "Aged Account Receivable" information for needed amount due follow-up.
    d>  Efficiently be involved in the registration process at the beginning of a semester -- do this Online as much as possible.
    e>  Provide accurate/complete SCHAR information to the Parent (or person paying the School).
    f>   Make it as easy as possible for the Parent to pay their bill;  provide Plastic resources.
    g>  Contribute to a student staying in School;  no student is asked to leave because the School's bill has not been paid.
   h>  Have a monthly School Income reporting emphasis; not deal with any Prepaid Accounting Income issues.
    j>  The School NOT function as would any money lending endeavor.
 FROM:  Onliner

      Very good ----  how would you go about accomplishing all of this,  Jim?
                       FROM:  Jim Bramer        
     First, let me acquaint you with some contemporary SCHAR matters mentioned within the editorial when you  Go Here.   There you will notice that usually the Parent is the "SCHAR PAYER", or the entity paying for the schooling,   but this person could be any one  who assumes the responsibility for these payments.- including post High School students.  I would like to see a School use the following "SCHAR PLASTIC" method:
>>   The "SCHAR PAYER" has ONLY a monthly SCHAR relationship.  The School will not allow any prepayments for the entire year or semester.   This way the inflow is for the current month only and there is no need to do any accounting  for any prepaids or unearned income, etc.  You will also notice below how the SCHAR amount due is always paid on time ---  or there is no unpaid amount balances or a need for an "Aged SCHAR" reporting system.
>>   This is possible via what I will call a "SCHAR PLASTIC" system that includes the following:
  --  The preference is for the School to use this system via the eCheck (or Debit Card)  process, as the School is the one who writes a "SCHAR PAYER" check equivalent for the said monthly amount due.  Again please note that this payment action is by the School ---- not by the "SCHAR PAYER."  Of course, the School has the appropriate internal Finance Policies and has written information for the "SCHAR PAYER" re this so that it has all the needed Plastic information to enable this system and is able to give the "SCHAR PAYER" advance notice of this action.  If the "SCHAR PAYER" does not have money in their bank to cover this  eCheck  then it automatically reverts to the Credit Card method below.
  --  The alternative is for the School to originally accommodate the "SCHAR PAYER" and add the monthly amount to their Credit Card balance via this "SCHAR PLASTIC" system.  If they make this choice, the "SCHAR PAYER" would agree to timely pay off their Plastic balance --- or the "SCHAR PAYER" would not have unpaid debt problem, etc.  Some Schools would have the "SCHAR PAYER" sign a vow along these lines. Please Go Here  for an example.  But if there is any late or delinquent Credit Card issues,  then the Credit Card Company deals with it and not the School.

  --  This "SCHAR PLASTIC" method enables the School administrative staff to concentrate on Christian School matters and not function as a bill collector.  Even more importantly, the School does NOT have to remove a Student because their SCHAR bill isn't paid.
>>     So a required part of the semester registration process is for every "SCHAR PAYER"  to provide the School with the needed "SCHAR PLASTIC" information.  Some may prefer to have a unique "SCHAR PLASTIC" for only this "SCHAR PLASTIC" purpose.  Some Credit Unions like ECCU  could help provide this for applicable "SCHAR PAYERs" as part of the Semester Online registration process.
>>     As part of this registration effort the School determines what is the monthly  "SCHAR PLASTIC" amount.  Or it would determine the amount for the semester's Tuition/Fees, less any Scholarships or Offsets, and come up with monthly School income and expense amounts. This "SCHAR PLASTIC" monthly amount would then flow through the SCHAR computerized accounting system and timely account and show the income (tuition and fees) and expenses (Scholarships, etc.) when earned/occurred as appropriate.  Here are some factors in doing this:
--     At the first of the semester the School posts this monthly amount all at one time using the "post dating"  process;  or you enter the monthly transactions now and post date them for the applicable upcoming  months, etc.
--     Or you post the monthly charge and the payment transaction at the same time --- almost like a cash sale flowing through the SCHAR system. 
--     Schools using QBs  would make full use of the Memorized batch entry feature whereby a transaction is saved (Memorized) and then it is re-dated with a large part of the transaction being posted over and over again.
--   Larger Schools will likely take such steps via a weekly batch process --- like 100 posting/depositing per week, etc.
>>  Of course, any additional School fees earned during the year would be charged to the SCHAR system at the time and paid via the applicable monthly "SCHAR PLASTIC" process.
>>   Most any integrated "School Accounts Receivable" computerized system would accommodate this proposed "SCHAR PLASTIC" system,  but, as you probably have already noticed, my preference is the use of the QuickBooks (QBs) Pro system.
 FROM:  Onliner

      Wow, such a
"SCHAR PLASTIC" system would meaningfully respond to a lot of my preferences and reduce a number of my indicated "School Accounts Receivable" management concerns.   Thank you for mentioning this.

05 -  Serving a "Christ-Centered Foundation"   (10)                                        

     Below is a paper by Brad Pendable that we trust you find of value as he provides some perspective and enumerates how he serves on the Board of such a Foundation.  Please note the direct internal links to paragraphs below.

      As explained below I function for this "Christ-Centered Foundation" differently that most of my other "NEST OF BEES"  endeavors.   But I wanted to share this so perhaps others can benefit from my experience in serving in this capacity, etc.  Please note the categories below:

      1.      The Ministry before "XYZ Ministries" 
     The present "XYZ Ministries" 
      Unique Governing Board 
      Executive Committee 
      Investment Committee 
      Grant Committee
      Some of the Foundation's Board Policies 
      Closing Comments 

1 - The Ministry  before "XYZ Ministries"

         Let me give you a little background about this unique "Christ Centered Foundation". 
      Some time ago I was asked to serve on the Board of a Ministry called "
Taylor Orphanage."    Miss Phoebe A. Taylor inherited some money about 40 years ago so she acquired land and built an orphanage on the property in this area. She successfully operated this Ministry until she went to her reward before I came on the Board.         
" Taylor Orphanage." Ministry went different directions for some time after her death,   but not too long ago it was decided to no longer operate this type of a Ministry and to sell the facilities, which by then had a very high market value. 
        The Board then used the some $8,000,000  resulting from the sales proceeds to fund a Foundation.  Of course, the Board needed to be good stewards of this "nest-egg", or corpus, and took the following into consideration.

Return to the Topic List

2 - Present "XYZ Ministries"

        The organization's name  was changed to the "XYZ Ministries" so that it did not include the words " "Orphanage" or " Foundation" .     We specifically did NOT want the name to contain the word "Foundation" because of undesirable fund solicitation possibilities.   The "XYZ Ministries" Foundation's purpose came to be as follows:

1.     To assist Ministries who comply with our  "Evangelical Christian Doctrinal Statement".
2.     To righteously invest the "corpus" so that the earnings, or yield, could be contributed, or granted, to applicable Ministries. 
3.     Make appropriate investments in the
ECCU and its subsidiary known as Ministry Partners who themselves turn around and directly serve other Christians, or Ministries. This means that the money is doing "double duty" ..... they are making loans to applicable Ministries as they carry out their purpose and at the same time provide a yield to us so we can make contributions/grants  to other Ministries. We refer to such entities as Replicating Entities.
4.     To NOT make repetitive contributions (Grants) to a Ministry's Operating Fund;  as we are more interested in making one-time grants as we  assist with a Ministry's  facilities and to their particular special projects . Further, it is NOT our preference to contribute to the fund raising needs (deputizing, etc.)  of a certain Ministry individual.  Our view is that a Ministry should obtain it's ongoing Operating Funds via it's own sources. 
5.     As appropriate, and understandably,  we want to make a high percentage of such Grants  to Evangelical Ministries who meet the needs of children and/or orphans.

Return to the Topic List

3 -Unique Governing Board

          Many such Ministries or Foundations are funded by individual or family residual funds;  members of these families understandable are "in charge" of such an endeavor. 
        That is not our case;  our funds came from restructuring an existing Ministry as explained above. 
        We need to continue to have people on our Board who have no proprietary interest in other Ministries.   One of the ways to accomplish this was to change our By-laws so that we Board members are paid to serve for a specific term of years, take a year's sabbatical, then be available, if desirable, to serve again.  
        We feel this structure allows for prudent Board member turn-over and allows for possible "new blood"  Board members. 
        Members on sabbatical can be paid to serve on any of the Board  Committees below if they are so invited. 
        We also changed our By- laws so that the Board meets four times a year.   Board and committee members costs in/around Board/committee meetings are reimbursed.
        As a Board members we serve on at least one of  following three Committees: 

>> Executive Committee
>> Investment Committee 
Grant Committee.

Return to the Topic List

4 -Executive Committee

        This is composed of our Board Chairman, the Board Treasurer, one other Board member, and the Administrator. 
          It is my privilege to serve as the Board Treasurer and our function is to meet regularly with authorization to act on behalf of the Board with respect to interpreting Board policies re administrative and finance matters in between quarterly Board meetings; the Executive Committee Chairman is the Board Chairman. 
         This Committee comes together upon the request of any member.  We remotely meet  together utilizing Internet resources when it seems appropriate and as much as possible.

Return to the Topic List

5 -Investment Committee

        This Committee presently is composed of five people; three Board members and two non-Board members with special investment or finance expertise.
        They met before each quarterly Board meeting;  their Chairman is appointed by the Board. 
        Our outsourced  Investment Counselor  is one of the two non-Board members and provides us with a verbal and written report at each of these meetings. 
        Obviously, this committee's function is to comply with the Board's investment policies and monitor the Investment portfolio.
        This Committee also comes together upon the request of any member and also meets remotely utilizing Internet resources when it seems appropriate.

Return to the Topic List

6 -Grant Committee

        Three Board Members make up this Committee;   one is the Board appointed Committee Chairman. 
        It's obvious function is to interpret and carry out the Board's policies in making Grants to qualified Groups. 
        It also meets just before each quarterly Board meeting and answer  
' yes'  or  ' no'  to certain grant requests that can not be made by the Administrator when Board policies are followed.
        The Board is now refining our policy as to what grants the Administrator can make in between quarterly meetings.
       This Committee also comes together upon the request of any member and meets remotely utilizing Internet resources when it seems appropriate.

Return to the Topic List

7 -Administrator

        Joy Jxxxx serves as Administrator and goes 'way back' as she has served this Ministry in a number of administrative capacities during the past 25 years or so.  She is a salaried (, with applicable benefits) staff member and her duties were updated to include: 

    >>     Cares for all office functions; including applicable web site maintenance
    >>     Does the financial record keeping using the 
QuickBooks   software product 
    >>     Provides applicable Online monthly financial reports to all parties - this includes: Operations Actual to Budget; Yield-Grant Fund Operations;  Detail of Grants made;  and Investment performance info
    >>     Does full and necessary Investment record keeping
    >>     Handles all Bank functions 
    >>     Co-signs all checks with assigned Board members
    >>     Inter-acts with our CPA  firm - consultant;  we do NOT have an annual CPA relationship.
    >>     Does the initial Grant request screening and makes sure that all Grant applications are complete 
    >>     Co-ordinates, attends, and serves as Recording Secretary of all Board and Committee meetings
    >>     Puts '
arms and legs" to Board/Committee requests and decisions
    >>     Maintains all Foundation mailing lists and correspondence
    >>     Plus other duties as assigned to her by the Executive Committee

Return to the Topic List

8 -Some of the Board Policies:

            To invest some two thirds of the corpus in the  Stock/Bonds market. The remaining one third is to be invested in both insured and uninsured entities as the Board determines.     See comments above about ECCU and Replicating Ministries.  Be especially cautious of the needed financial institution insurance coverage.
            The outsourced  Investment Counselor  is also the
Stock/bonds broker who makes the specific Stocks/Bonds investments but does not invest in any defined known unrighteous  products or endeavors.
             The value in such 
Stock/bonds  invested in such a market is to  known daily.   When a stock/bond investment decreases by 10%, it is to be sold immediately.   All must know what was originally invested in a specific stock/bond.  Example: A certain stock/bond was purchased for $1,000. It is to be sold the day that it's stock/bond value is $900 or less.
             In general, the amount available for operating expenses and for grants is anything above the original corpus amount ($8,000,000.)  For example --- if the assets are now worth $8,500,000 then the available amount for Operations and/or Grants is $500,000.   Please notice, you must consider the amount of unrealized market Gains/Losses along with realized Interest and Dividend earnings.    If the corpus were to go below $8,000,000, we will decide what to do at that time.
        Uninvested bank balances earn the maximum amount as provided by the applicable Sweep effort. 
           Other Board policies and  procedures are documented and reviewed at least annually.

Return to the Topic List

9 -Closing Comment

        Even if you are not serving a Ministry like this "Christ Centered Foundation"  in some capacity, I believe you can learn from the example of  this Board and staff --- it is a real personal privilege for me to work with such dedicated people. They obviously take seriously their fiduciary and stewardship responsibilities in carrying out its purpose and mission.

Return to the Topic List

06 - Christian Ministry Computer Consultants and Ministry Finance Internet Friendly  matters (06)

        Please  Go Here for Information about our WebBOOKs.  Please note that a current WebBOOK entitled "A Journey to be Ministry Finance Internet Friendly " is underway as I continue with my goal of assisting "Christ-Centered Entities" along these lines. 
        Perhaps you JIMs JRNL readers can assist me in encouraging Christian Ministry Computer Consultants to also help Ministries make the appropriate use of Online technology in the management of  "Christian Ministry" finance  transactions and applications as identified below:

    Via a Ministry's Website
Donation and Event receipt transactions
Vow re using Credit Cards (Plastic) 
Using eCHECKS or Debit Cards
   Online Donations l 
via its own DonaMail batch proof process (a)
(Electronically move from their Bank to your Bank) 
       -- One time
       -- Repetitive
Online Internet Receipt Provider Info
       Events Sign up and Payment 
       Scrip Ordering and Payment  (a)
Click Here and learn about Ministries making a electronic deposit of checks and not go to the Bank. 
Online Payments
      Via QuickBooks (QBs) resources
      Via non QBs resources
By going to Vendor's Website
     Repetitive -- same vendor amount 
     Repetitive -- different amount up to certain limit 
Weekly pay off Credit Card (Plastic) Balance
      (Electronically from your Bank to their Bank) 
Payroll - direct deposit of Staffer's net pay
      (Electronically from your Bank to their Bank) 
Use of QB's Payroll system  (a)
Use of Remote Payroll system (a)
"eFinFax" Computer Acctg system - including Online access to Bank Stmt equivalents
"Control Spending" - BuxBox feature - only spend if BuxBox has a balance
"ATF" (After the Fact)   - mostly involves electronic movement of Bank and Plastic transactions, etc.
Combined Sweep and Bank Reconciliation matters - Online movements from one Bank Acct to another 
POOL-VEST  -  Pooled Bank accts and related Investment matters
Remote HELPER matters
Do appropriate buying Online
Authorized remote viewing only  (a) by:
     Staff of restricted information
     Board members of applicable information
     Auditors of applicable information
(a)  Contact either Jim@bcidot.org  or Brad@rpfin.org  for more info on this topic.

07 - Click below for Potentially Helpful Online Links for you JIMs JRNL Readers - (07)

>>   Reimburse Ministerial Expenses Legally  
>>   In a tight economy, Churches should look at how they handle money
>>   Church Finances Prevent Conflict
>>   Tips for 2010 as to how the recession could affect your Ministry

>>   Electronic Fund Transfer of Wages and possible requirements involved
>>   Finances at Churches
>>   Are You Putting Your Members at Risk ?
>>   Essential Guide to Church Finances
>>   Managing Ministry Funds during tough economic times

>>   March 2010 edition of the "Christian Computing Magazine"
>>   Computer Systems comparison worksheet per the "Christian Computing Magazine"

08 - Click below for one of my editorial publications,  Please  Go Here for a complete list.

                  Remote "Associate Ministry Finance Teammate" possibilities

09 - Click below for one of my "Ministry Finance TRUISMs - or precepts/beliefs/principles -  Please  Go Here for a complete list.

                 It is improper to use externally restricted  SPFund monies for GPFund purposes

10 -  "Prayerful Thot" for the day.  Thank you, Lord, for the significance of the following "10 Predictions for the year 2010" that I recently came across:

       It can be unsettling with all the problems the World is facing.  Below are ten predications
that are sure to come true in the year 2010!

  1.    The Bible will still have appropriate answers.
  2.     Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on Earth..
  3.     The Holy Spirit will still move.
  4.     God will still honor 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 pours 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 when they come to Him.  

  Isn't It great to remember Who Is really in control, and that;

"the Word of the Lord endures forever." ( 1 Peter 1:25 )


  •     This "Blogger" like endeavor allows me to share some personal comments/thoughts as to Ministry Finance issues.  For a topic alphabetical  list in earlier JIM's JRNLs. editions,  please Go Here.    
        If you would like to receive the next
    JIM's JRNL edition,  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  97089709 and  9710

 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 QBs = Quickbooks;
 SPFunds or SPFs = Special Purpose Funds


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

This document was updated last on:  July 09, 2011