Accounting Services

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Accounting Services for Churches: When Do You Need Them and Which Ones Make Sense?

Running a church is a lot of work. On average, church employees are outnumbered 50 to one by their attendees. This leaves a lot for each staff member to do, not just on Sunday morning but throughout the week.

Accounting is one area that can take up time, resources, and mental energy. This is why many churches outsource their accounting activity to a third-party firm. 

The question is, what kind of church accounting services can you pass off to an outside agency?

What Are Church Accounting Services?

Before looking at the specific services themselves, let’s step back and consider what “accounting services” means. The term references much more than bookkeeping.

It’s true that church accountants can help manage budgets, track expenses, and prepare reports. However, they can also help with things like:

  • Choosing an accounting method like fund accounting
  • Preparing taxes and looking for faith-based non-profit deductions
  • Setting up and running payroll
  • Financial planning and consulting
  • Maintaining compliance and staying up-to-date on changes in regulations
  • Helping take advantage of cutting-edge accounting technology
  • Providing human support and peace of mind when an issue arises

Church accounting services are much more than tracking tithes, designating funds, or recording expenses. They open up the doors for church leaders to invest in cultivating healthy finances for their churches.

The Importance of Working With a Christian CPA

One note here –– if you’re going to outsource your accounting, it’s essential that you work with an accountant who understands how churches work.

At Chaney & Associates we’ve invested in being the accounting firm for the Church because the faith-based specification matters. Christian CPAs provide a deeper degree of understanding. They speak the church language, understand stewardship mentality, and will be able to provide Kingdom-minded guidance.

Accounting Services That Are Helpful for All Churches

There are certain accounting services that are helpful for any size church. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small-town church with 150 congregants or a multi-thousand-attendee church in the suburbs. If you’re struggling with your financials, here are a few of the most common services you can tap into to ease the pressure and ensure everything is optimized and compliant:

  • Email support: The ability to reach out to a trained professional can quickly clear up many accounting questions.
  • Bookkeeping: Having access to cutting-edge, church-focused bookkeeping software makes it easy to track income, expenses, savings, investments, and other financial data.
  • Donor/deposit imports: Bookkeeping software that makes it easy to import both existing and future donor and deposit data simplifies the entire church accounting experience.
  • Credit card reconciliations: Another big time saver, streamlining the process of reconciling credit cards with a church’s leger takes the burden off of church staff.
  • Assisted payroll: Payroll is one of the most complicated parts of church finance, and professional support is vital.

Having access to these services can clarify and consolidate any church’s finances.

Accounting Services for Midsize and Larger Churches

If you’re a small church with a tighter budget and fewer moving parts, financially speaking, the list of services above is often enough. You can use church-based accounting software to self-generate financials, and third-party support will often help with things like accounting software management, taxes, and payroll.

If you’re operating a bigger church, you may need further assistance. Here are a few common additional accounting services that midsize and larger churches require:

  • Firm-issued financials: Having a professional accounting firm manage your church’s financials takes the entire process off of your plate.
  • Budgeting tools: From fund accounting to forecasting and more, quality, cutting-edge, faith-based accounting software can make church budgeting simple and straightforward.
  • Dedicated staff: If an organization is large enough, it can invest in more comprehensive support, including a dedicated accountant from a third-party firm.
  • Live support: When an issue with a larger church’s finances comes up, it’s helpful to have live support available to walk through the complexities that can arise.

These more advanced accounting services aren’t necessary for every ministry. But they can be a powerful addition to medium and large church financial plans.

Finding the Accounting Services for Your Church

So, what accounting services are right for your church? Do you have a small church looking for basic faith-based accounting tools and financial support? Do you have a more substantial congregation, and you’re trying to decide which services are needed to manage a more convoluted financial structure?

Fortunately, this is where a battle-hardened faith-based accounting team like Chaney & Associates can help. Our veteran team of Christian CPAs can help you identify the services that can genuinely help your church thrive — and then they provide support as you implement, execute, and oversee them over time.

If you’re looking for church accounting services, reach out. Together, we can begin the process of taking the financial pressure off of your ministry team’s shoulders and setting the stage for your church to thrive financially, no matter what stage it’s in or what goals it is pursuing.

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