How 5 churches use technology to improve stewardship of church finances
Using a modern cloud-based church accounting software system is one of the best ways to support good stewardship of church finances. The right cloud solution helps churches precisely track, manage, and report on funds and expenses. Among the many benefits of such as solution is the ability to demonstrate clearly the impact of tithes, offerings, bequests, and endowments.
Many faith-based organizations use Sage Intacct to add transparency to financial stewardship. Let’s look at how five churches are using Sage Intacct to achieve the dual mission of helping people and supporting their congregations.
Read the eBook: 8 Tips for Using Technology to Manage Church Finances
Faith Promise Church
Faith Promise Church is a rapidly growing church with six campuses, two prison ministries, and an online campus. Before the church adopted Sage Intacct, they struggled with manual and duplicate data entry in their church finances. The finance team spent one or two days each month on manual reconciliation. Sage Intacct streamlined financial workflows and boosted efficiency and productivity — in fact, the time the CFO and his finance assistant spend entering data dropped from 40% to just 5%, allowing for increased time and focus on stewardship.
“Most of the churches our size have five or more full-time finance staff. With the efficiencies we’ve gained through Sage Intacct, we’ve kept our staff size low even as we doubled in size. By using the system to manage all our day-to-day bookkeeping, we’re saving $85,000 or more a year in salaries and benefits, while doing deeper analysis and reporting.”Aaron Goin, Chief Financial Officer, Faith Promise Church
The finance team also gained the ability to make decisions faster, so they could stay agile. Now, Faith Promise Church can monitor cyclical giving trends and manage cash according to how donations and expenses are flowing in real-time. They use Sage Intacct’s flexible reporting to pull the data they need to answer any question. Customized campus dashboards have improved departmental and location visibility.
“We pride ourselves on being nimble, being fast, and I think part of the reason we’ve seen so much growth is that Sage Intacct ensures we have accurate information that we can get to the right people quickly. Churches tend to be slow in processing decisions, but we can be very fast in our decision-making, which gives us a great advantage in trying to move into communities that may not have a church like ours.”Aaron Goin, Chief Financial Officer, Faith Promise Church
Grace Fellowship Church
Good decision making is a hallmark of good stewardship. Without current, accurate financial information, decision makers lack the data they need to make the best decisions. Grace Fellowship Church used to supply the management team with information two weeks after the close — meaning the data points contained in reports were anywhere from two to six weeks old. Today, Grace Fellowship Church’s leadership team relies on Sage Intacct’s real-time dashboards for current, accurate insights for strategic decision-making.
“With our previous system, our church directors would receive a financial update each month, but not for two weeks after each close cycle. By comparison, Sage Intacct gives us a modern system with all the financial information we need immediately at our fingertips.”Stacie Porter, Director of Finance, Grace Fellowship Church
Grace Fellowship Church has also been able to save considerable time and money by integrating several of its financial applications. Now, the fund accounting and financial management of Sage Intacct is integrated with the accounts payable automation of Bill.com and the expense report automation of Tallie.
“By improving our accounts payables process and combining best-in-class software from Sage Intacct, Bill.com and Tallie, we are saving two weeks each month that we previously spent just entering invoices and expenses. This avoids around $22,000 every year in additional staffing costs.”Stacie Porter, Director of Finance, Grace Fellowship Church
Like many faith-based organizations, the leadership team at Potential Church experienced delayed access to financial data and results. It took too long to close at the end of each month. With Sage Intacct, Potential Church gained confidence in the accuracy of their financial statements. They were also able to reduce the time it took the finance team required for monthly close by 50%.
“The biggest improvement we saw with Sage Intacct was the speed and accuracy of our monthly financial close, which now takes half the time it did with QuickBooks and is completely trustworthy. Rather than constantly struggling to keep up with incoming requests for data and specific reports, we now consistently report financials in a timely manner and feel confident that we can respond to any new request easily.”Reggie Alexis, Controller, Potential Church
Without real-time visibility, they struggled to get the reports and data needed to support decision making. With their old on-premises church accounting software, to find out how much was collected in Sunday donations, the management team had to wait until the following Thursday. With Sage Intacct, they can view 95% of weekly revenue at each campus by Sunday night. With better visibility and streamlined financial processes, Potential Church is positioned for additional growth and has strengthened stewardship by being able to run a lean finance team.
“Because of our streamlined processes, our existing finance staff is in a great position to support Potential Church even as we add another ten campuses. As a matter of fact, we were able to reduce our accounting staff by one and avoid another full-time hire, saving us approximately $80,000 each year as a result of the extreme efficiencies we’ve gained with Sage Intacct.”Reggie Alexis, Controller, Potential Church
Sandals Church was started by Pastor Matt Brown with eight people in 1997. Today the church has 12 campuses and a membership of more than 11,000. When a church is growing so quickly, it’s critical to give the leadership team insights into financial stewardship. Sage Intacct supported Sandal Church’s rapid growth with real-time visibility and scalability.
“Before, they [executives] had to wait until accounting closed the month and emailed them a report. Now they go online and see how they’re doing in their department or campus in real-time. Our executives now know where we stand financially. The new insights we have with Sage Intacct have been extremely valuable in supporting our growth and our mission.”Amber Cheong, Director of Finance, Sandals Church
Sage Intacct also gave Sandals Church the flexibility of a dimensional chart of accounts to replace its 30 former charts of account which had grown unwieldy to manage. The multi-dimensional chart of accounts makes it easier to track income and expenses by campus, event and other dimensions that are most meaningful to the church’s mission and ministry. Now, they review the church finances in detail by slicing and dicing their data and creating the reports they need for improving stewardship.
“We liked the fact that the Sage Intacct chart of accounts is customizable, and the flexibility of creating dimensions whenever and wherever we need to. Church accounting is complex, so it’s very useful for us to filter how each ministry is doing per location for each event, or any way we’d like to. We need flexibility and Sage Intacct provides that.”Amber Cheong, Director of Finance, Sandals Church
Seacoast Church is a large non-denominational church that has grown to 14 campus locations since its founding in 1988. For nearly 18 years, the church used the Shelby Systems church accounting software solution, but it was not equipped for rapid growth into a very large, multi-location church. The chart of accounts grew more complex and reporting required the financial team to take data out of Shelby and load it into Excel to manipulate it into the reports they needed to guide the church. When they modernized church finances with Sage Intacct, they shortened their financial close by 40 hours per month. Even better, reporting was flexible, easy and fast, establishing the finance team as a much-needed role within church leadership.
“Despite the church growing larger and more complex over the years, our systems have helped finance get a seat at the table. We have a phenomenal leadership team, but they’re people and ministry-oriented. Our job is to help them understand ‘What would happen if…?’ With Sage Intacct, we’re able to look at various scenarios and know what the impact of certain decisions would be.”Glenn Wood, Pastor of Church Administration, Seacoast Church
People of faith give generously to help those with less, to make the world better, and to achieve change and impact. Regardless of faith background, religious people want to know their donations will make a difference and not be wasted. That’s why religious organizations constantly work to improve financial stewardship and serve their congregations and communities with transparency. Download our eBook to learn eight tips for leveraging the right financial management solution to strengthen stewardship of your church finances.
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