“And even the outer darkness…” Pastor Jeff Hansen
I’ve been using this space to update the church on what I’ve been up to as I’ve settled into my role at Spirit of Hope. Back in June of 2016, Ad Council voted to start to replace SHELBY– the old, expensive, outdated, and convoluted church management software, and the migration process would be accomplished with 2 different softwares– Quickbooks and Breeze. The member database has mostly been transferred to Breeze, though Janine has been working since summer to clean up Breeze and to manually enter information that we couldn’t migrate over automatically due to SHELBY being such an outdated computer program. Today, I want to update you on the migration for our financial system to QuckBooks Desktop Premiere Nonprofit Edition 2017.
Two careers ago, I worked for financial advisors, and eventually passed the Series 7 exam (first try, 2 hours, 84%). In my previous career, I had to do all the bookkeeping, financial reporting, budgeting, and grant writing all while keeping in mind IRS requirements for non-profit organizations. In addition to understanding that being a church means that our financial data is considered public information and there are laws and rules in place related to how we do our bookkeeping at Spirit of Hope, my professional standards hold that I strive for clarity, ease of understanding by the general public, and most importantly, transparency. You should not need footnotes to read a financial statement, and all of the numbers on the financial statement should be able to be provable, meaning I can independently verify the numbers in our accounting system.
Due to technological changes (Quickbooks does not work the way SHELBY did– thank goodness!) and changes in reporting rules that you can start to read about here, there are some things about how the accounting and bookkeeping has been done in the past that are no longer possible. I can’t stress to church membership enough how much work was needed to figure out how to set up an accounting system that managed to:
- Provide for internal controls
- Allow for accurate and precise accounts to track income and expenses
- Integrate the 2017 budget as approved by Ad Council
- Allow for each and every budget area to be isolated in detail to get an immediate understanding of our fiscal picture
- Be set up in a way that optimized the quality of usability of reports run in Quickbooks
- Be simple for anyone and everyone to understand, either as a user or as someone looking at a report run in Quickbooks
All of those are important goals, especially while using the system in real time to pay bills. We have a CPA who has advised me on this process since last month, and he has been invaluable in helping me put the critical details in place that will work best at Spirit of Hope. With his assistance, I am now at the part of the process where I’m tidying up the various pieces to make the accounting system the best it can be. Hopefully my schedule next week will cooperate and that will be completed within the next 7 days. I proud of the progress that’s been made so far, and I know that once we get past this final hurdle of the migration and once I finish all of the process documentation related to it, it’ll be a system that will be invaluable to assuring Spirit of Hope has a healthy future. Once it’s complete, reports will be easy to run, information will be accessible, and you won;t need to be a “number person” to understand financial reports.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.
“From ex- to in-ternal motivation” Pastor Jeff Hansen
“Essential emptiness” (or Obi Wan Kenosis and the Jesus mind trick”)
“The shape of things to come” Pastor Jeff Hansen
“Dis-ease and debt free…finally” Pastor Jeff Hansen
I hope the school year is off to a good start for all of you with kids in school! Both of my kids ended up coming down with a weird virus, so for the first time ever, both of them missed part of their first week back. It was not ideal, but it was fine. The church is starting to be bustling and busy. We had our first full staff meeting on Wednesday; it was good to be back together all at the same time!
By no means do I have as many updates as I have previously, but there are a few things that I’d like you to know:
The calendar that’s embedded in the website is from Breeze; previously it was a WordPress plugin, but it was lacking a few functions, like the ability to cancel recurring activities. The goal is to have it as accurate as possible, to include information on funerals and other events (including parking information as needed), and to allow anyone with Breeze to add items to the calendar. If you want to import the calendar into your own so you can see it on your phone, this is the url you can use to add it to your iCal or Google Calendar. Just copy the entire address and paste it in. Done and done!
Another thing that’s new that you need to know about is that we now have lids for the coffee cups in the lower lobby. Putting a lid on your coffee or tea will help cut down on the number of spills and stains, some of which end up being very hard to remove. Spills can also result in sticky hands at the best and burns at the worst. To remind you, Janine and I came up with a cute little sign that’s hanging up right by the coffee pot. I think you “otter” laugh when you see it!
After much thought and discussion in staff meetings, and me poking around the interwebs for ideas, I pulled together an event planning template. By no means is it the final version, but there are some really good items included that will help you, your group, or your committee plan a successful event. You can download a copy here: EventPlanningTemplate; if you have any ideas for things you’d like to see included or any other feedback (well, constructive feedback), let me know!
Additionally, Janine and I really like using the new bulletin layout, and we hope you do too. However, it does mean that space is at a premium on the back side. To address this, the list of activities and events that need volunteers has been condensed. I need to again underscore the importance of grabbing a monthly calendar and/or looking at the website, especially for ongoing things, like book study or bible study. We simply no longer have the room to include everything all of the time. It also means that sometimes bulletin submissions will need to be edited for length and clarity and may not have the exact length or run you’d ideally prefer. That would be our last resort, but still something that may happen from time to time.
And finally, related to the bulletin and the calendars, please make sure you always have your bulletin items and your church email items in to both me and Janine by Thursday morning at 9am. Late inclusions can’t always be accommodated. Monthly paper calendars are generated the last Wednesday of the month, so make sure you alert us to and additions, changes, or deletions. Not sure? Look at the the online calendar and make sure it’s accurate to the best of your knowledge.
I hope you have a safe and happy weekend. As always, if there’s a concern I can address or a problem I can solve, I’m a phone call or an email away.
“Twist and shout…and work it all out” Pastor Jeff Hansen
“Time to let yourself go” Pastor Jeff Hansen
“And what about you…?” Pastor Jeff Hansen