Churches and their pastors–much like entrepreneurs–juggle a lot of balls and wear all the hats, with responsibilities as urgent and varied as those of a Fortune 500 CEO but with little (read: no) dedicated administrative resources.
In an ideal world, pastors and church leaders would spend the bulk of their time and energy shepherding those God has entrusted to them but often, the brunt of everyday administrative responsibilities falls to them, too.
But you didn’t become a pastor to do bookkeeping, did you? Did you go to seminary to learn all about Quickbooks?
So you have two choices: Do it yourself or avoid things like bookkeeping at all costs. The latter is, admittedly, tempting—though ineffectual, if not catastrophic.
Because data, statistics, and numbers directly reflect what’s happening within and through your ministry; they’re what help you really know if you’re making a measurable difference in the lives of those you shepherd.
Still, numbers don’t often get top billing. Because your job, at its absolute simplest, is to connect with people in faith.
But scope creep is real. Day-to-day administrative tasks shift church leaders’ focus from ministry to the menial as many budgets simply don’t allow for administrative support.
That changes right here, right now.
Because virtual bookkeepers can now support ministries—and often at a fraction of the cost. Seriously.
And though we’ve said it times before, it bears repeating that if you don’t have a bookkeeper, you are the bookkeeper. And you didn’t become a church leader to crunch numbers; you became a church leader to shepherd and lead those God has brought through your doors.
How A Virtual Bookkeeper Can Help Your Church
1. Year-End Reporting and End-of-Year Giving Statements
Your annual giving statement isn’t as exciting as preparing a Christmas service but without the generosity of your congregants, there wouldn’t be an exciting Christmas service to prepare.
But we understand: It’s hard to reconcile the intersection of faith and finances. Faith is about trust and belief, and ‘bottom lines’ can feel emotionally and spiritually disconnected.
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.
Consider that the shepherd doesn’t say, ‘I have around 100 sheep.’ He knows he has exactly 100, and that is why he goes looking for the lost sheep when he only counts 99. His numbers matter because they represent lives.
And the same is true for church bookkeeping. Accurate financial records, including year-end statements and end-of-year giving statements, can actually help you better equip and shepherd those God has entrusted to you as your precious resources can be dedicated to your people, not your payroll.
2. Data Entry, Reporting, Payroll, Accounts Receivable
Your virtual bookkeeper is dedicated to the goals and vision of your ministry—without you worrying about maintaining your financial records, including records of the dates and amount of every transaction, tax planning, financial planning, budgets, and more.
In fact, your church’s virtual bookkeeper can be both your accountant and treasurer, in charge of all financial aspects of the church, including:
- Recording tithes, offerings and any other church income
- Accounts receivable
- Depositing receivables into church account
- Reconciling petty cash receipts
- Account reconciliation
- Balancing checking and investment accounts
- Accounts payable
- Employee Payroll & Reimbursement
- Preparing weekly, biweekly, monthly, and yearly reports of the church’s financial records
- Creating a yearly budget
- Bank feeds
- Processing payroll
… and more. Seriously.
3. It’s Not Too Late.
Sure. We get that this is ‘how it’s always been done.’ And we respect that. All we’re suggesting is that maybe it’s time to create better boundaries and designated lanes.
After all, a church leader’s job? To connect with people in faith. A church bookkeeper’s job? To handle the finances so you can focus on doing just that which brought you to ministry in the first place.
Minister, ministry. Bookkeeper, books. It’s literally in the job titles.
And the best time to start fresh with a bookkeeper is upon us – the start of a new year. Clean slate. Clean books. So fresh, so clean.
Consider a virtual bookkeeper a win-win Christmas gift to your church. You win because you get back all that time that was dedicated to something that wasn’t your calling and your congregation wins because, well, they get more of you.
And that’s a merry Christmas, indeed.
But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It
Being in business since 2010, we know that it’s easy for us to advocate for virtual assistants and bookkeepers. So who better to tell just how much bookkeepers can help your church than, well, someone who has actually used them for his actual church?
Take it from Pastor Matt Lacey in California who explains how he got his Mondays back here.
“As a lead pastor, my Mondays were full of receipts, reports and spreadsheets – everything I’m not good at and everything I’m not called to do.
But now, I have an extra day during the week that’s created a lot more margin in my work week, not just for ministry but for my family.
I don’t worry about bills getting paid on time anymore. I don’t think about reporting. Or if we’re behind. Or if everything is on point and everything is on time because our bookkeeper has been killing it … [and] fit the bill one-hundred percent!”