Many churches may talk about sharing one’s blessings as they pass the collection plate, but they rarely do more than total up the collection and pay the bills. Yet this is often a mistake. Let’s learn why a Palm Beach, Florida church needs a CPA.
It Can Help Your Money Go Farther
If your church can get control over its income and its outgo, it could get on a strict budget. A budget is not a diet. It makes spending a deliberate decision. You don’t let someone redecorate an office because they’re bored or think that looking good equals doing good.
Church income tends to peak at Christmas and Easter and slack off shortly thereafter. A failure to save sufficiently from the excess results in shortfalls later in the year. To many churches resort to borrowing to pay for expenses you could plan for, be it a new roof or a replacement van. A CPA could help you get control of your money despite the irregular income, reducing the reliance on debt that eats into your future earnings. If you get on a plan that lets you pay down debt, the church will have more money in the future. A side benefit of this is allowing you to stay in the black during slow months.
It Makes Stewardship More Than Yet Another Fundraiser
A surprising number of churches in Florida live a hand-to-mouth existence that isn’t much better than the seventy percent of parishioners who are living paycheck to paycheck. It is actually worse for churches, because their income is less reliable than a weekly paycheck. Many churches handle unplanned expenses by calling it stewardship. It doesn’t help your reputation when stewardship is associated with replacing the roof instead of planning a new church or building a new school building. And you avoid having to stall a building project or funding a mission until you can whip up enough enthusiasm to finish. Now stewardship becomes something meaningful.
It Could Benefit the Ministry
Most ministers are bi-vocational. This means that they’re paid little to nothing by the church, while they work in another role to pay their bills. If your church can get control of the spending and find ways to cut without hurting the ministry, you could pay a better salary to your ministerial staff. Now they aren’t trying to support their flock after work.
Furthermore, a budget means you don’t hire people you can’t afford to keep on staff, when letting them go is demoralizing for everyone involved. Now you can clearly delineate between paid and unpaid roles, though enthusiastic, competent volunteers should be first on the list should a paid position open up. But with a budget for ongoing and one-time events, they know how much money they have to work with. And they will make do with that while soliciting donations.
It Can Foster Positive Social Change
Suppose your church works with a Palm Beach CPA to plan a budget for the upcoming year. You have reviewed your expenditures and eliminated programs and expenses that aren’t value added. You have more money for your core purpose, taking care of your members. When you’re limiting spending on Sunday brunch and entertainment for the kids in the daycare, you have more money to buy food for the food bank or give to those about to be evicted. You could even discuss the virtues of budgeting and fighting debt. This could turn around the financial situation for many of your church’s members. And if they have more money at the end of the month, they have more money they can donate to the church. Discuss the value of regular giving and saving, and you may see a more reliable income stream, too.