How Religious Organizations Can Streamline Their Expenses

How Religious Organizations Can Streamline Their Expenses


Religious organization leaders have a lot on their minds, including the best ways to use their resources to help and support the local community. Church-sponsored activities like mission trips, fundraising, and summer camps can be beneficial for a religious organization, its members, and local citizens, but these events also come with related costs.

Tracking and managing the financial resources of a religious organization is different from managing the expenses of a business. Organizational leaders must keep several considerations in mind while ensuring they are following the latest rules for nonprofit spending. Thankfully, there are a few things religious organization leaders can do to streamline this process, including:

Creating Spending Thresholds

When a church or other type of religious organization sponsors an event or other outreach, they must ensure spending is allocated according to the level of financial resources the group has available. If too much is spent on a camp or mission trip, for example, the organization may not have the funds to participate in other planned events.

Although approving expenses in advance can work for some organizations, it can also become a time-consuming and arduous process for organizational leaders. Instead, it could be helpful to create a budget and specific spending threshold for each event or activity. In this way, organizational members can obtain the supplies and items they need, and church leaders need not worry about dealing with reimbursement forms or approving expenses ahead of time.

Photo of clerk in local hardware store.Having a list of approved vendors, like the local hardware store, takes stress out of expense-tracking.

Working With Preferred Vendors

Because it's usually not feasible for organizational leaders to be involved in every transaction necessary to support the religious group, it can also be beneficial to create a list of approved merchants. In this way, members who have the ability to spend on behalf of the organization know exactly where to turn when they need supplies or other items.

As Church Tech Today contributor Lauren Hunter pointed out, many churches likely already have trusted merchants they do business with on a regular basis.

"Include a list of these vendors in your accounting policy, and consider requiring employees and volunteers to use them unless they've received approval to shop elsewhere," Hunter wrote. "You're free from micromanaging every purchase and can focus on your church."

Tracking Spending with a Mobile-Friendly Reporting Solution

It's imperative that organizational leaders account for every dollar donated to the group. This isn't just important for the group's overall transparency, but as accounting firm HCVT pointed out, new guidance from the Financial Accounting Standards Board now requires more visibility for nonprofit expense reporting. These standards, which will make it easier for donors, creditors, and other financial institutions to assess a nonprofit's resources, will go into effect on Dec. 15, 2017, and religious organizations must be prepared.

In order to support the type of transparency needed, religious groups must track their spending. As opposed to hanging onto physical receipts, which can easily be misplaced, a better solution is to utilize expense reporting software that comes with mobile capabilities. In this way, members and church leaders can simply snap a photo of their receipt at the time of the transaction, ensuring that every dollar is accounted for. What's more, mobile support enables organization leaders to approve expense reports from anywhere, streamlining reimbursement where necessary.

A leading expense-reporting solution, like Nexonia, also provides credit card integration, eliminating the need to manually match transactions with expense reports. A solution that supports multiple currencies is ideal for today's religious organizations, especially those that take part in mission trips outside of the US.

To find out more about how an advanced expense reporting solution can streamline the expenses of your religious organization, contact Nexonia today for a demonstration

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