Any business – for-profit, non-profit or 501(c)(3) – deals in money. Regardless of what the organization actually does with its money, it all needs to be counted, spent and managed responsibly. As such, businesses hire bookkeepers to maintain their financial records, including records of the dates and amount of every transaction, tax planning, financial planning, consulting services and more.
But often, churches might ask the question, “why should we hire a bookkeeper?” when they can forgo the services of a professional to keep things ‘in-house’ and cost-effective. However, a bookkeeper can actually be a cost-effective solution because hiring a professional to handle their finances may save them money in the long run.
Sounds too good to be true, right? But hear us out.
What A Church Bookkeeper Can Do
Virtual church bookkeepers can act as both accountant and treasurer, in charge of all financial aspects of the church, including:
- Recording tithes, offerings and any other church income
- Depositing receivables into the church account
- Reconciling petty cash receipts
- Balancing checking and investment accounts
- Preparing weekly, biweekly, monthly, and yearly reports of the church's financial records
- Creating a yearly budget
- Processing payroll
… and more
Why Hire A Bookkeeper for Your Church?
This begs the – inevitable – question: How do I know if my church needs a virtual bookkeeper? As a church leader for a small to mid-sized church, you know all-too-well how many directions you can be pulled by dreaded scope creep: email, social media, newsletters, sermons, fundraising, community outreach, and on … and on … and on.
But your job is to connect with people in faith.
A bookkeeper’s job? To handle the dollars-and-cents, nickels-and-dimes so you can focus on doing just that.
With a designated virtual church bookkeeper, you can instead focus on shepherding the people God has brought through your doors and leave these skills to the professionals:
- Understand Accounting. Consider this is: Reasons To Hire A Bookkeeper 101. Bookkeepers stay up to date on current accounting standards, regulations and legislation – that is unless you want to. No? Can’t say we blame you. That alone is reason enough to #leaveittotheprofessionals.
- Prepare Financial Statements. Financial statements are recommended for every church but since the format and frequency will vary based on your church’s size, a professional can prepare your financials using generally accepted accounting principles, otherwise known as GAAP.
- Curb Tax Liabilities. This is a slippery slope as, without proper training and experience, it’s frighteningly easy to improperly file federal tax returns – and that can prove a costly tax liability for your church. From payroll taxes to excess benefit transactions, to failure to report taxable benefits, to reasonable compensation, to housing allowances and more, tax laws are complex and require experience in order to make tax compliance a priority.
- Protect Your Financial Assets. Your church’s bookkeeper is responsible and accountable for all finances, reducing mistakes, oversights, and even fraud as any misappropriation of church money will be immediately recognized.
- Loan Qualification. Maybe it’s time to start a new church plant. Or maybe you want to expand the children’s ministries. And big dreams come with big price tags. But having a bookkeeper not only maintains accountability but may also help you secure a loan or grant. And those GAAP-prepared financial statements? Super impressive to any lender considering your loan.
- Cost Savings. Having employees is expensive as there are payroll taxes, benefits, health insurance and compliance with ever-changing laws. By outsourcing your bookkeeping, you save money by not paying full-time or part-time employees and only paying for what you need – nothing more, nothing less.
- Internal Control. Not only do you have someone who can look at your finances with an unbiased outlook, but you also have a better grasp of what's going on. When you have a clearer idea of what your finances look like, you'll be able to see where your business is and where you're headed.
- Accuracy. When business owners do their own bookkeeping to save money, they run the risk of making mistakes. Hire an expert and gain the peace of mind that things are being done correctly and accurately.
If you’ve been hemming-and-hawing about how to properly manage your church’s finances whether due to budgetary restrictions or because of your can-do everything approach to church leadership, consider hiring a virtual bookkeeper.
Let a virtual bookkeeper shoulder the financial burdens of your church so you can get back to what matters most: your people.