When you belong to a congregation, you find a powerful connection to God, sense of service and devotion, and strength of community.

Churches are unlike any other establishment – different even from other nonprofits or mission-driven organizations across the country. But what they do have in common is a need to operate efficiently and handle financial contributions responsibly.

While church staff shepherd the flock, our team at SBS Accounting & Advisors can help with the “business” of running your church: things like bookkeeping, cash flow management and forecasting. We’ll be partners in your financial stewardship, so that your congregation can grow, flourish and engage in mission-driven services – aligning with your church’s vision.

SBS has spent years working specifically with churches, so we understand the ins and outs of your financial requirements. As a follower of Christ, I’m so thankful for His sacrifice on the cross for my sins and grateful that He helps give me strength and wisdom every day. It’s why I care so deeply about serving churches.

There are six services that we will implement and strategize to ensure that your church is a good steward of the resources God has given you. Here’s a breakdown of those six services:

1. Bookkeeping and Accounting

Too often, we’ve seen churches hand off their bookkeeping and accounting to a well-meaning member of the congregation. While it can seem like a good way to save money, it can lead to accidental mismanagement of your books and lack of compliance with regulations set out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

With SBS’ bookkeeping and accounting services, you can trust that pastors with housing allowances will be paid correctly, any workers who need a 1099 will receive one and your books will be in order, in case you’re audited by the IRS.

Specifically, our bookkeeping and accounting services include:

  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Payroll and benefits
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Bank and credit card reconciliation
  • Month-end close
  • 1099s

2. Budgeting and Forecasting

Once your books are in order, SBS can take your church’s financial picture to the next level with budgeting and forecasting. As a nonprofit, a church by definition doesn’t have a goal of making a profit. But that doesn’t mean that you should skip fiscally responsible steps for your organization, such as planning expenditures with an annual budget and projecting your financial future with a forecast.

A budget helps you allocate your resources to different ministries and prevent overspending. That includes budgeting for the operational parts of running a church – less exciting than your children’s ministry or community outreach, but critical for keeping the trains running for the congregation. Your budget ensures you have the cash on hand to pay your staff and expenses, so that you can avoid salary cuts, layoffs or bank loans. Part of a successful budget for churches should always include building out your savings so you have a financial safety net.

SBS can help you put together a budget that works with your church’s goals and focus for the year, as well as the resources you have available. We’ll identify areas ripe for cost-cutting and make data-based decisions together about how to allocate your funds, so that your congregation’s future will be bright.

3. Advisory Services

You can step up your church’s planning with our advisory services. If your church is ready for massive growth and transformation, we can help facilitate your strategic planning and layer in a sound business perspective.

Let’s say you’ve projected your congregation’s rapid growth and decided it’s time to expand your church building to include a massive new sanctuary with state-of-the-art sound systems, video projection and cushy pews. With our advisory services, SBS can coach you through the process, using our business acumen and experience with other churches, and then, ultimately, help you develop and implement a strategic plan to bring in the funds you need to responsibly realize growth.

4. QuickBooks Solutions

Behind smart financial decisions is smart financial software. At SBS, that means one obvious software solution: QuickBooks Online.

Many churches still use QuickBooks Desktop, which means someone needs to physically come to the church office to manually log in on the machine loaded with the software. While that’s viable for some churches, we’ve all learned through the pandemic that there are massive benefits to being set up with cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. That’s where QuickBooks Online shines.

You get 24/7 access to your church’s full financial picture from anywhere – even your smartphone. Because your financial data is stored and backed up in the cloud, QuickBooks Online also lets you go paperless – tithings, donation records, bills and financial reporting are all a click away. SBS can offer discounted rates on QuickBooks Online and configure the software specifically for your church, so that you can get the most out of this powerful tool.

5. Cash Flow Management

Your church’s cash flow is its money in – tithings, offerings and gifts – and its money out – rent or mortgage payments, payroll, bills, and ministry spending.

For churches, it’s absolutely critical to keep track of your donations and expenses. There are a few reasons why. First, you want to make sure you’re not spending more money than you’re taking in. Second, you need an accurate record when it’s time to do your taxes. Third, it can help you track trends: both when your congregation is more likely to give and when your church is more likely to rack up expenses.

SBS can help you track and manage your church’s cash flow. We’ll present an easy-to-understand cash flow statement and rolling six-month projections, so that you’re never caught off-guard. We’ll use these reports together to help you make smarter data-backed decisions about your budget, forecast and strategy.

6. Performance Tracking

Good data leads to good financial decisions, which is why you want to track key performance indicators (KPIs) for your church. We’re bringing KPIs in from the business world to make sure your church can take advantage of metrics and data to make the best, most-informed decisions for your church’s financial future.

When SBS sets up KPIs for your church, we’ll hand-select the ones that are most helpful to you and your church’s goals. The metrics we use differ for everyone because every church is unique, but they can help you gain insight into both financial and nonfinancial topics, such as your church’s financial health, its growth or your congregation’s engagement. We’ll track and share your KPIs through an easy-to-read dashboard, so you always know where your church stands.

KPIs give us more data points and a more complete picture, which means you can be a more responsible steward of God’s gifts. SBS can integrate these metrics and financial statements to better budget, plan and shape long-term strategy to achieve your church’s mission-driven financial goals.

Let SBS Handle the Books so You can Focus on Serving Your Congregation

Our mission at SBS is to help your church track and use His financial resources wisely and legally, so that you can be there for your congregation and community. We’re the experienced, dedicated team you can trust with your church’s finances.

If you’d like to learn more about our firm or the services we offer to churches like yours, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to set your church up for financial and operational stability as you manage God’s gifts.