Automate Financial Tasks

Save time and money with electronic systems.

Automation eliminates as many manual tasks as possible, reduces human error, and streamlines various processes. To automate a financial task, a treasurer or financial manager identifies repeatable, logical, mundane tasks that are done on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Once identified, a financial manager works to find and optimize available technology to help reduce the time it takes to do these tasks.

Recording donations

Simple e-giving systems reduce the time it takes to record donations, and they import directly into a donor management system. This allows both you and your donor to see donation history in real-time. Consider asking donors to set up recurring online gifts, specifically during the summer months, when people go on vacations and giving to the church tends to take a dip.

Pinpointing dips in giving

An automated process can trigger an email to the appropriate church leader when someone stops giving. Then a church leader can call the donor who has stopped giving, and that may lead to an opportunity to minister to that person. Maybe the person lost a job, retired, became upset over a rumor, or is going through some tough financial times.

Reporting budgets

Budget reports can be automated. Most accounting software programs export budget information into Excel. Macros—special instructions containing a number of steps that you set in advance and then have Excel perform for you with one command—can convert your data to a simple email. This can give those who donate, or those who spend, a quick snapshot of what’s left in that project’s budget. With time saved through this system, you now have time to craft thank-you emails or letters that communicate vision and results to the donors.

Paying bills

Rather than paying your electric bill or mortgage with a paper check every month, set up a direct debit, and have the bills emailed to you. This makes it easy to save them electronically. With the time you save, you can explore ways to buy energy in bulk or refinance your mortgage and, subsequently, reduce your electric or mortgage payment.

Approving payments

A paperless audit trail can be implemented with electronic signatures along with pictures of the receipts. Rather than tracking down check signers to sign a paper check, use an electronic-signature check approval system to direct deposit to your vendors and staff or volunteers who need reimbursement.

Automate, but verify

One word of caution: Automation is not “setting it and forgetting it” in regard to the tasks that you automate. Always make time to review the automation.

For help automating systems and choosing appropriate software, see these resources and articles:

Tim Samuel is a CPA and the chief financial officer of Bridgeway Community Church, a nondenominational, multicultural church in Columbia, Maryland, that draws more than 4,000 people each week.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

ajax-loader-largecaret-downcloseHamburger Menuicon_amazonApple PodcastsBio Iconicon_cards_grid_caretChild Abuse Reporting Laws by State IconChurchSalary Iconicon_facebookGoogle Podcastsicon_instagramLegal Library IconLegal Library Iconicon_linkedinLock IconMegaphone IconOnline Learning IconPodcast IconRecent Legal Developments IconRecommended Reading IconRSS IconSubmiticon_select-arrowSpotify IconAlaska State MapAlabama State MapArkansas State MapArizona State MapCalifornia State MapColorado State MapConnecticut State MapWashington DC State MapDelaware State MapFederal MapFlorida State MapGeorgia State MapHawaii State MapIowa State MapIdaho State MapIllinois State MapIndiana State MapKansas State MapKentucky State MapLouisiana State MapMassachusetts State MapMaryland State MapMaine State MapMichigan State MapMinnesota State MapMissouri State MapMississippi State MapMontana State MapMulti State MapNorth Carolina State MapNorth Dakota State MapNebraska State MapNew Hampshire State MapNew Jersey State MapNew Mexico IconNevada State MapNew York State MapOhio State MapOklahoma State MapOregon State MapPennsylvania State MapRhode Island State MapSouth Carolina State MapSouth Dakota State MapTennessee State MapTexas State MapUtah State MapVirginia State MapVermont State MapWashington State MapWisconsin State MapWest Virginia State MapWyoming State IconShopping Cart IconTax Calendar Iconicon_twitteryoutubepauseplay