Church Financial Management

by Patricia

The economic climate has been a test and a financial strain on every aspect of our culture and the church is no exception.  More and more churches are having financial problems and need help figuring out the best way to manage their resources in these uncertain times.

Church leaders across the country are scrambling trying to figure out how to maintain operations with decreasing donations while steadying the ship for church members.  This can be a challenge because the day-to-day operational needs of a church can be significant and juggling limited resources can be stressful.

6  Tips for Church Financial Management

1. Strategic Planning

Developing a strategic plan is one of the first steps in strong financial management and taking the time to set a course and develop church goals and a plan to get there is key.  The value in developing a strategy is that it takes all aspects of the church operation into consideration and allows for designating resources toward those critical areas that will sustain and grow the ministry.  A well thought out plan also takes into consideration those financial policy and reporting measures that are necessary for responsible financial management.

2. Realistic Revenue Projections

Many churches are tyring to operate with less revenues and should be making realistic projections of donations.  Another strategy might be to consider bi-annual or quarterly assessments of projections versus actual in an attempt to maintain financial targets for the year.

3. Budgeting

Budgeting is critical for successful financial management.  Church budgets are a tool that helps leaders achieve objectives and control unallocated spending.  Taking the time and committing the resources to creating a church budget can have a significant affect on the financial health of a church and can provide the necessary tools to keep the church on target.

 

4. Oversight and Accountability

Once a budget is set, oversight and accountability for adhering to the budget is important because it keeps the organization from spending resources that are not allocated. Department managers are responsible for variances and adherence to the budget. The Church Finance Committee, coupled with a strong performance management process, is a great way to ensure accountability for budget spending and oversight.

5. Communication

Be open with the congregation and solicit help from church members on cost saving ideas, strategies for raising funds and make them aware of challenges.  As difficult as it is to present the cold hard facts, a church community loves to rally around a cause to help resolve problems.  Have a good communication process, share budget information and provide avenues to answer any church financial questions that members may have.

6. Be Prepared for a Church Financial Emergency

Have a plan in place in the event of a church financial emergency and use positive profit margins to fund an emergency account.  Having a buffer allows the time needed to make adjustments and necessary spending changes in the event of a true financial emergency.

Many church financial problems can be avoided by good planning, strong budgeting and accountability for spending.  Church leaders should embrace structured processes to ensure the resources are available to keep the organization in the black and moving forward regardless of the economic climate.

photo by:  401K

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  • Aubrey Gulumba

    Your article has opened my on alot of things regarding management of church or Ministry finances. However, i would like to ask you to provide me with professional advice on how to record ministry financial transactions . Three months ago I was asked to be a custodian of finaces of’ a local ministry ,unfortunately i have never had any training in financial management, as a result recording of financial transactions for the ministry is quite challenging. I am unable to produce coherent monthly financial reports. Iwant to do a good job but because of lack of knowledge i am unable to do so. The Leadership seem to understand my problem but.I am not happy with how things are going on. I am writing to ask for assistace from you on how to do the job correctly. if possible please provide a format on how i should record and report financial transactions.This is a small ministry whose transactions are between U$ 500 – 1500 per month. However , it has the potential for growth.

    • Patricia

      Hi Aubrey! There are a couple of ways you can approach this. The most cost effective way is to create an excel spreadsheet to track all financial transactions. There are several downloadable templates that already have formulas in the excel software so all you need to do is change the category names. An easier solution, if the ministry can scrape together the funds, would be to purchase QuickBooks Online or the pro edition for a couple hundred dollars. The online version is a small monthly fee but has lots of features to help with tracking finances. Lots of small businesses and churches use this software when they are starting off. I hope this helps! Thanks for comment!

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