Expense management is a daily challenge for ecclesiastical leaders. Some churches benefit from full-time accounting departments and bookkeepers, while others rely on volunteers with a knack for financial management. Regardless of who handles funds directly, the process of managing expenses can be cumbersome for churches to deal with.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. In this article, we’ll provide tips to tackle expense management within your house of worship.
Take advantage of expense management technology and prepaid debit cards
Cash represents the majority of most churches’ incomes. This becomes a problem when it’s time for that cash to change hands. Reimbursements to employees and volunteers as cash or checks increase the risk of funds being misplaced, miscounted, lost or stolen. A cash system also means you have poor visibility into expenses until receipts are submitted.
Thankfully, smart tools are available to help streamline your expense management. Instead of handling your expenses in cash, checks, or standard credit cards, consider prepaid debit cards.
Prepaid cards, like Brinks Business Expense, give churches granular control and accurate expense tracking. Church leaders simply deposit funds into a central account and choose how your funds will be allocated. Everything is managed from an application on your computer or smartphone, so you can set limits, view transactions, and turn cards on or off no matter where you are.
The Brink’s Business Expense card also allows you to set limits on individual cards and spending categories. Let’s say you have a volunteer driving a van for a church event. You could give them a card to purchase gas, but the transaction would decline if they tried to buy anything else. You would also be able to see where and when the gas was purchased instantly from your phone or computer, so you can have peace of mind when it comes to who is spending your congregation’s resources.
Designate preferred or approved vendors
Church leaders are busy people. Most don’t have the time or energy to be involved with every transaction that employees and volunteers might make.
To streamline approvals, add a list of pre-approved vendors to your expense policy. You likely have merchants you trust and work with regularly. You can set up their profiles and save their information on Brink's Business Expense with our B2B vendor payment feature. Any purchases should be made through those vendors unless you give approval.
Protect your church from fraud
Churches and other non-profits are frequent targets for fraudsters and embezzlers. Researches from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimate that the global embezzlement of all funds given by Christians could exceed $100 billion by 2025. Fraud typically happens when there is a lack of accountability somewhere in the chain of people managing the church’s resources. Rebuilding trust with the team takes additional layers of financial insight and control, and preventing ecclesiastical fraud is a matter of creating transparency in your organization’s finances.
This is where technology is especially helpful. Accounting software grants church leaders the ability to review and control expenses in real-time. Giving multiple leaders administrative access to said software means you have multiple layers of accountability. Every expense is in full view, meaning fraudsters can’t hide their tracks. Account managers can also enforce expense policies by pre-approving how, when, where, and by whom cards can be used.
Expense management solutions for any size church
No matter how large or small your congregation is, we have the tools that empower you to manage expenses effectively and with full confidence. As a church leader, you’re entrusted to make sound spending decisions and create transparency, but Brink’s Money can help.
To hear how we’ve helped churches and other faith-based congregations streamline their expense management, contact us online today.