Accomplish More.
Juggle Less.
Everything you need to transform your work.

Client Success Story:
Deborah Tepley

Deborah Tepley is the executive director of Church of the Advent, a church existing to join people to God, to one another, and to Christ’s work of renewal in Washington, DC, and through it, the world.

Church of the Advent, founded in 2007 as a mission of the Church of the Resurrection, was born of a desire to bring renewal to Washington, DC.

As a church, it seeks the flourishing of Washington, DC, by building gospel-centered communities that practice generous hospitality, spiritual formation and missionary faithfulness in every neighborhood.

Deborah has twenty years of experience in business, operations and human resources management for mission-based organizations in the faith-based, non-profit and international development sectors.


The Challenge

“As our congregation and revenue grew, we were experiencing more complexity, the bookkeeping workload was increasing, and it was just taking more and more of my time and our treasurer's time,” Deborah remembers.

“We had some payroll errors at one point, and it was taking a lot of my time to correct those errors retroactively with our payroll provider as well as the IRS and the DC tax office. We had increasing complexity as our revenue grew. 

“Church bookkeeping and accounting is its own unique animal. There are just so many finance and tax rules and regulations that are specific to a church; a couple of obvious examples are clergy housing allowance or funding a sabbatical. 

“And we were just finding that we needed to make decisions, and we just didn't have the expertise that we needed. I was just googling a lot of things and trying to make decisions based on what I could find on the internet. So we just realized we needed more expertise in the church accounting space specifically.

“I am part of a network of local DC church administrators, and this came up as a question or a problem, and another church in our network said that they worked with a BELAY Bookkeeper. They just were enthusiastic about their experience with BELAY, and so they connected me with BELAY, and we went from there.“

Enter BELAY Bookkeeper, Tim Gassmann.


The Solution

“I am so glad that we chose BELAY,” Deborah says. “The first couple of months was this big task of moving over our payroll and moving over all of our books. We weren't in horrible shape, but there were some things that needed to be corrected.

“A lot of this has been about having peace of mind that we have someone who's an expert in church bookkeeping [and] things aren't falling through the cracks. When I have questions — and questions come up all the time related to finance and accounting — I have someone I can call on and who either has answers or who can find answers on my behalf.

“It was a tremendous relief to finally feel like we had bookkeeping and accounting experts working for us and taking on the task of reviewing where we were at, making recommendations for changes for the future and fully taking on that task of bookkeeping for us.

“As the executive director, it's a very organizational and administrative role, but I don't have time to be in the weeds. I need to be able to work at a higher strategic level and then work with folks who are maybe more in the weeds like our attorneys or bookkeepers.

“Tim's very detailed, able to find the details, help me, ask these bigger picture questions and just making sure that overall our financial picture’s good. We're very complimentary of each other.”

In his day-to-day tasks, Tim sends monthly financial statements and written reports describing the church’s financial position while flagging any concerns or special considerations as well as managing the payroll platform, expenses and credit card platforms.

“I've just been so surprised by how much Tim sees us as a calling and mission,” Deborah adds. “He really sees that he's helping us. He's making an impact on the city of Washington, DC, through keeping our books, and so it's not just a job for him. 

“He comes at it with a strong sense of calling and mission. He has such a good attitude. He's so hardworking. He's exceeded my expectations on all counts.“


The Result

“I felt an ROI immediately from those first meetings and knowing that someone was going to be keeping an eye on things, tracking things and that someone would be able to catch any errors or mistakes or things that we were doing that were not in compliance with tax laws and regulations,” Deborah says. 

“We had some payroll errors that I'd been trying to resolve, and our bookkeeper took that on for me and worked with our payroll provider to help resolve some mistakes that we had. I started feeling relief immediately, and that's only continued at this point. 

“My bookkeeper is indispensable to the work of our church, so I wouldn't be able to live without him.

“We've been renting space for 15 years, and we're about to enter a new season as we move into a permanent home in DC. We launched a capital campaign, and [Tim has been] helpful with that.

“Our budget has grown since he's been with us, and he's been able to help us grow and help to manage that growth and all the questions that come with that. We've received various grants, we've done different fundraising initiatives, [and] he's managing that for us behind the scenes and also answering questions about the best way to allocate resources.”

With Tim by her side, Deborah has gained not only peace of mind but also strategic time back in her role.


“Tim has set me free to lead at a more strategic level because he is taking care of the details of accounting and bookkeeping,” Deborah says. “He's there to answer questions and know we're in compliance.
“I'm not losing sleep over our books anymore, wondering are we doing things correctly, are we following laws that are specific to churches, are we sort of accounting for everything that we need to, would we pass a financial review? 
“It is just the peace of mind that sets me free to do the things that I can do best, which is to help strategically lead our church and work with our pastors and not have to worry about the book.”

“I spend a lot of time with Tim. We check in every other week and we're emailing a lot, so he's in constant communication with me. I know if there's any issue he's going to be in touch. 

“He knows when to bring me in when he needs me to approve things or needs me to sign off on something, or if he sees something that seems a little quirky, he'll reach out to me. I know he's got our back. He is carefully reviewing things, and that just has given me a lot of peace of mind.

“I always sing Tim Gassmann's praises every chance I get. He's an amazing man and amazing bookkeeper and has been such a joy to work with.”