Making multisite church accounting deliver the results, flawlessly


 

GLENN WOOD / CHURCH Supervisor / SEACOAST CHURCH / MT. Pleasing, SC

For more than 22 years, Glenn Solid wood has – innovatively – offered as business administrator during Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, Structured. At the administrative helm of a expanding as well church (now with 13 spots!), Wood’s vast, varied business operations experience in the public sector has been essential.

Naturally, accounting was section of Wood’s purview when he came to Seacoast. Like a long-time recipient and interpreter of monetary and accounting statements, he or she knew enough to be threatening.

But, quite a bit had to be relearned for a house-of-worship setting – not only how to bring in these reports, but also making them consistent across greater dozen campuses.

“Coming from the corporation world, I knew nothing at all of fund accounting, conceptually,Inch Wood explains. Although it was covered in his accounting lessons, he had no idea at the time which he’d ever work in this non-profit world. So, it didn’t sound relevant.

“But, God takes all of our past experiences and shapes them into what we perform today,” he says. “So, I had to learn fund accounting : what it looks like, how it improvements, what’s different about it.In

First and foremost, he found income-and-expense statements are the church-world equivalent of profit-and-loss transactions.

“Beyond that, I had to learn the whole concept of a ‘fund’ – the way it works, and why churches apply it,” he adds. This unique included navigating the how to go about restrictive giving; so, as soon as someone gives to support any mission trip, a establishing fund, scholarship, etc., Timber and his team must grab those totals a bit otherwise and make sure the funds are appropriately allocated and accounted for. 

“At eliminate the day, a church includes debits and credits, just as around for-profit work,” he ends. “We just categorize things a little bit differently.”

For all this innovative thinking, however, Wood likewise discovered that large churches as well as businesses operate similarly within a big way: they must cut back than they bring in. Whereas a home based business needs a profit to operate, a church needs net income. “If people continually run deficits, it does not look good to banks or to the church boards.Inches

And when a church grows mainly because rapidly as Seacoast did (and still does), this is a very important tenet to go by.

13 campuses, 25 funds, 90 departments – and lots of human resources challenges

For accounting purposes, all of Seacoast Church’s 13 campuses is its fund. Once a campus gets to a certain size, it has ministries underneath it that fund – women’s and men’s groups, children’s ministries, student types, and so on.

This is where things have complicated for Wood brilliant team.

At the end of each month, these people generated an income-and-expense statement for every ministry and, collectively, for every grounds. It wasn’t uncommon to generate approximately 50 income-and-expense statements in all.

“Ultimately, most of them rolled into one big income expense statement to the church,” Wood points out. “We have one checking account. We produce one income-and-expense statement for the financial institution. When we were talking about place of worship finances, there was one file.”

To get there, though, Lumber and his team culled 50 individual reports, each of which needed to be appropriately balanced, reconciled, overseen, accounted for  ( space ) and, on the expense facet, spent – as allocated.

For more than a decade, this was the time- and labor-intensive accounting process on Seacoast. It was performed using a long-standing church management software platform, a product configured before the multisite church movement grew to become prominent (and well before Seacoast wholeheartedly embraced that movement).

As Seacoast put in more and more locations, a commensurate volume of accounting-consistency challenges emerged.

“Initially, as we ended up being growing, we didn’t stop and think, How do we compare this campus’s details to this campus’s and ensure it makes sense in general?” Wood recalls.

Naturally, there was clearly gaps.

“We weren’t numbering everything the exact same,” he explains. “So, on the internet coupons weren’t always ‘62205’ in the info. They might be allocated that way throughout five campuses, but not in the other eight.”

For 20 years, Wood and his team understood they had to make multisite work with their own long-standing ChMS program – and they performed. But, it was always complicated.

Time for an upgrade

What Seacoast really needed had been a way to determine what it costs (at work suppliers, in this example, and in rent, utilities, for example.) to run Seacoast’s ministries across 13 sites. This meant those data needed to be entered and recorded the same way at each campus. 

This ended up being the primary reason Seacoast and its accounting crew began researching alternatives, the two for-profit and non-profit by design.

Not you to definitely ‘leap before looking,’ Real wood also consulted with a consortium he leads: The Place of worship Network’s (NACBA’s) Metro Network, a group of administrators from larger congregations across America and Canada. In those conversations, a good cloud-based financial management and accounting software kept coming up: Intacct. “They both were using it, or they had been seriously looking at it,” he recalls.

When Wood searched into the system, he found out the reason: because the platform’s developers and end users speak the same unique vocabulary.

“We didn’t have to explain to them exactly what a ‘fund’ was,” he says. “We did not have to explain why we needed a definite report a certain way. They understood the mechanics of church – and especially of financial circumstances – in a large-church setting.”

Indeed, having been an employee for many years in a church environment, the AcctTwo team has individually experienced many of the same distinctive requirements Seacoast faced. “As implementors, we feel a solid responsibility to provide value * and that can best be done by having a team dedicated to faith-based institutions,” says Tammy Bunting, Director connected with Not For Profit Services for AcctTwo Shared Services, LLC. “There is great satisfaction in assisting a church to reach a full potential by releasing the constraints of legacy software programs. This is done when a church is definitely allowed to  focus on its goal instead of its finances.

“We view the pain faith-based organizations face,Inch Bunting adds, citing as cases reporting road blocks and data limitations as a church grows from a single location to a large, thriving multisite chapel.

The logistics of data migration

In November The year 2013, the team decided to migrate its financials to Intacct and spouse with AcctTwo for the implementation. Wisely, they ensured several months connected with “runway time” to organize and streamline the (admittedly disjointed) data all over all 13 campuses.

In your migration, each campus stayed a unique fund. However, Seacoast’s chart involving accounts was reconfigured, thanks to exceptional oversight of Seacoast Church’s controller, Processor Johnston. “Some of it was combining expenditures that we used to track individually, but which made additional sense put together as a crew,” Wood explains.

The financials were generated using the church’s outward bound ChMS program, and then exported towards Excel. This extra action was done partly because a lot of the calculations Wood and his company wanted couldn’t be developed using their existing software.

Fortunately, this became familiar territory for Lumber, who spent a lot of his time in the corporate world analyzing details and working with numbers. As soon as migrating all this data, he or she figured out a way to extract them from the church’s ChMS, “massage” those numbers, shift them to the new system, after which it create a journal entry of which enabled him to bring everything data into Intacct smoothly, properly – and quickly. Conveying its existing data towards Excel allowed Seacoast to convert fund and campus phone numbers to alphanumeric characters, which made them easier to read. They also mixed data from multiple general ledger account numbers to a consistent account structure. The item took just 15 minutes for you to export a month’s worth of comprehensive transactions out of the ChMS into Intacct.

More , though, the migrated files was inordinately detailed. “I think many other churches havesummary data, which is Fine – the tithes for August 2012 at X dollars, for example,” Wood affirms. “What we brought over was initially detailed enough that, if we got it into Intacct, we would be capable to research and extract it needed for historical reporting.”

Ultimately, this ensured that when a fiscal report was generated (specially in the first year, post-Intacct implementation), the numbers added up, and the past calculations made sense.

For the particular Seacoast account team, it was value the effort. “At the end of the four weeks, it has made closing a books and generating individuals financial statements a lot easier,” he says. “There’s really no additional attempt to get the final-product report we need.”

Moreover, steady, decentralized reporting has made life a lot easier at Seacoast. Prior to Intacct, each grounds sent bills, receipts, invest in orders and more to the office in Mt. Pleasant for approval, handling and recording. Looking for locations were added, this method became difficult to sustain.

Today, all of 13 campuses input their own bills and scan their particular receipts directly into Intacct. This offers major administrative and period savings. It also ensures just about every campus has a vested affinity for making sure its data is input correctly, since the business office testimonials each campus’s data for regularity.

The power of personalized dashboards

Among the most critical improvements enabled by Intacct will be custom dashboards for each Seacoast campus. Now you have an elegant solution to a situation Wood has faced, consistently, for more than two decades as the church’s organization administrator: how much detail to see the senior pastor, professional team and church panel, and how.

While the dashboards vary dependant upon the campus pastor, one thing each one has in common is simplicity.

“For united states, dashboards need to be visual,” Lumber explains. “For the most part, if I want to see a pastor’s eyes spin back in his head, I really have to hand him a fiscal report with tons of info.”He ‘gets’ it – but that’s not necessarily what excites him.”

To assist the accounting staff really grab (and keep) pastors’ attention, Intacct has involved and partnered with Martus Answers, a church financial dashboards service, to offer Seacoast (and all its cathedral clients) a number of other pre-built charts in addition to graphs. 

Best of all, these personalized dashboards – and the simplified graphs / graphs therein , can be automated using Intacct.

“In the corporate world and in the church entire world, dashboards are a hot-button area,” Lumber emphasizes. “A lot of churches are generally asking each other, What data do you share? How often does one share it? Weekly, month to month, quarterly or annually?”

Sharing a wealth – of knowledge

While complete recipe of accounting suggestions has certainly been became aware at Seacoast, Wood points out it had become achieved only through excellent stewardship and due diligence. The place of worship spent between 12 and 15 months evaluating the options before committing to Intacct.

By method of example, he says he career fields quite a few calls from other administrators asking what manager Seacoast uses. “I think the enticement is to say, ‘Well, if ______ Church uses it, then it has to be the best choice,” he makes clear. “But, if it works for Seacoast, it works for any reasons that are specific to be able to Seacoast.

“A lot of churches change program because their current program doesn’t do 10 percent of what they want it to,” this individual adds. “So, they spend a lot of cash changing software to make sure that 10 % is enabled – but then, the new software doesn’t take action their old software managed that they really liked.Inch

As such, he recommends churches spent even a small area of the annual budget to train employees on whatever platform they can be using before investing in a brand-new answer. If, in doing so, the church discovers its solution also doesn’t pass muster, he’s got some informed advice- and he gives you it often with members of The Church Network’s Metro Circle: ask!

“Whether you’re a church of 200, 500 or 12-15,000, a lot of the issues all of us face are the same,” he or she points out. “At the end of the day, all of us serve the same God, together with we’re all Kingdom-minded.”

This mind-set is what Wood loves most about working in this non-profit world, and particularly in a chapel: He and his peers are eager to share what they fully understand, and what they’ve learned * sometimes the hard way.

“You don’t have Wal-Mart calling up Target in addition to saying, ‘Hey, let’s talk about your online marketing strategy,'” he adds. “But, churches are quite open to sharing it all — the good, the bad and the unappealing.”

 

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