Religious organizations have been taking more frequent mission trips lately, both inside and outside of the U.S. According to Short Term Missions, the movement toward this kind of outreach began in the 1960s, and today, more than 2 million people in America participate in church-sponsored trips.
Mission trips can create specific challenges for both volunteers and church leaders, especially when it comes to necessary spending. Expenses must be tracked and recorded, and volunteers must be reimbursed where possible. Doing all of this by hand isn't just time consuming and arduous, but can create more opportunity for error.
A better alternative is an expense reporting solution that can help the church better organize its finances and mission trip expenses. Let's take a look at why this kind of technology is ideal for today's churches:
1) Better Tracking and Visibility for Receipts
As ChurchLaw&Tax pointed out, it's important that mission trip leaders keep a detailed recording of all expenses that take place during a mission trip, and obtain receipts where possible. This log should also include information like the date expenses took place, the names of volunteers spending the funds, how much was spent, and the purpose of each expenditure.
Organizing all of this information alongside the necessary receipts can be a challenge, especially when church members are away from their normal workspace. In these situations, few things are better than being able to complete all of this work from the palm of your hand via a mobile device. Now, more religious organizations are leveraging technology than ever before, and using an expense reporting solution that enables users to easily capture receipts and track all of the particulars of their spending significantly streamlines expense management. At the same time, this solution also provides access to important spending data for church leaders, providing the visibility they need to properly organize church finances.
2) Account for All Donations
Tracking expenses during mission trips is important for a number of reasons, and near the top of this list is the fact that money garnered from donations must be accounted for. Churches and religious organizations are tax exempt, but they must keep meticulous records of how donations were used in order to qualify for this status. This is particularly true during mission trips.
As ChurchTax&Law noted, any spending of donations that cannot be accounted for must be returned to the church after the trip. Putting in place an advanced expense reporting solution can help ensure that all expenses – particularly those funded by donations – is tracked and accounted for, helping churches align their practices with their tax exempt responsibilities.
3) Streamline Exchange Rate Calculations
One consideration that is often overlooked during mission trips is the daily exchange rate that could impact expense tracking and reimbursement. Short Term Missions found that 65 percent of all mission trips take place overseas, and most regions use their own currency.
Thankfully, an industry-leading expense solution can take the guesswork out of exchange rate calculations. Using daily exchange rates according to the date of the expense receipt, exchange rates can be automatically and accurately calculated. This means your church's reports are consistently correct, and spending is always tracked in the most precise way.
Church mission trips require a number of important considerations, and while tracking spending is imperative, it can fall to the wayside during the trip, creating complications after the journey has ended. These problems can be eliminated with an advanced expense solution that allows mission trip participants to easily track spending, organize receipts, and account for the donations used to support their work.
To find out more, contact the experts at Nexonia today.