This is the time for review, because we are all looking at the financial reports for July.
For some churches this is one month into the new financial year, for some churches this is just past half way through the calendar year. For every church this is an ideal time for review.
Recently, I was in a group studying Psalm 119, and we were well underway through towards v176. Interestingly the verse that stood out for me and some of the others was v59-60:
“I pondered the direction of my life, and turned to follow Your ways.
(‘pivot’, in the current popular lingo of finance)
I will hurry without lingering . . .” (NLT)
Since that meeting I have realised that this is an important point for us who are involved in the financial management of our churches and organisations. It is not only important at a personal level it is important for the church/organisation.
August is the ideal time to “ponder, consider, review, check” how the finances are going and make any necessary corrections or take any alternative turns.
Here are some key points for review, in 2 parts:
1. The “technical” side of the financial reports, especially when using Xero:
- Are all the Tracking Categories effective?
- Maybe there have been some changes in the organisation that require to add new Tracking or archive old Tracking?
- Are there income or expense accounts that you expect to show up but are missing? Have you informed the bookkeeper of changes required in allocations?
- Are all the properties, activities and m ministries showing on the Tracking reports?
- Are there areas of property or building maintenance being highlighted on the Tracking reports that require attention now or indicating closer attention ahead?
2. The “information” in the reports:
- Is the budget detail in the reports as expected?
- If it is mid year, or even if the first month of the new year – how is the church faring financially – really and not simply ‘hearsay, feeling or intuition’?
- If you have been involved with the various governments’ COVID stimulus packages, are the results clearly reported? This is exceptional to previous years and will be important to understand in retrospect too.
After all this as the Psalmist realised it is necessary to review the course, review the way ahead and consider the need for any changes. At a minimum it will be necessary to flag issues for ongoing review. Maybe there are points for followup and report back in September for the end of August reporting.
As I have talked recently with the finance people of several churches, it has become clear that this is a necessary time for review and a preparedness to change or pivot. The old days and ways of steady ahead, we’ve always done it that way are long gone.
Now is the time to ponder your church’s direction and be prepared to turn/pivot.
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