Finance Topics


2020 Budget Inputs

Ross Williams

September 14, 2019

Dear Treasurers and Finance Chairs (copy to pastors), You will most likely be working on your 2020 budgets soon.  To assist you, listed below are some inputs from the Conference: Clergy Healthcare: The church's share of the Uniform Rate for HealthFlex will be $18,240.00.  Since clergy will have six medical plans and three dental plans to choose from in 2020, the rate for each clergy person will vary based upon which plans they choose.  Clergy will be given an annual "allowance" to spend on ...


Free Church Financial Seminars

Ross Williams

July 22, 2019

Dear Treasurers, Finance Chairs and Stewardship Chairs (cc: to Pastors), Please see the information below on an important program being led by Ed Ruppmann.  I am very supportive of this program, which has many benefits and no costs to our member churches or parishioners.  To be clear, there is no selling of anything here, either at the meeting or at any other time - just free advice from an experienced financial planner who is committed to his faith and assisting the people and churches of the ...


Investments & Financial Guidance

Ross Williams

June 13, 2019

Dear Church Leaders,   Does your church need help with its investments?   Has your church lost a personal relationship with its broker / investment manager?   Does your church need help in developing and fostering a culture of generosity?   Does your church need help with stewardship campaigns, planned giving, capital campaigns, financial education?   If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you would benefit from working with the United Methodist Frontier Foundation for your investment ...


Church Internal Controls

Ross Williams

May 22, 2019

Dear Treasurers, Finance Chairs and Pastors, In this environment of scarce resources for vital ministry it is more important than ever that we protect our churches from financial fraud and administrative lapses.  The financial impact of such situations can often be easily prevented or at least minimized through implementing the controls listed below.  This list is not intended to be all-inclusive and if you have questions on these or other controls, please let me know!   Sincerely,  Ross  The ...


Clergy Housing Allowance Ruled Constitutional

Ross Williams

March 21, 2019

Dear Clergy, There is some good news!  The text below is from the National Catholic Reporter, which summarizes the latest developments on the taxability of Housing Allowances better than I could.  Keep in mind that it was only the Housing Allowance that had been challenged.  The tax exempt treatment of a parsonage was not at stake.  This very positive development does not mean that the matter is settled once and for all.  The decision could be appealed or pursued again in new challenges.  But ...


Discounted Software for Not-for-profits

Ross Williams

March 04, 2019

Dear Treasurers and Finance Chairs (copy to Pastors), I want to let you know about the opportunity to purchase computer software for your church at steeply discounted prices through a Not-for-profit organization called "TechSoup" (yes, it's a very strange name). In my spare time I handle the accounting for a Not-for-profit charitable organization and a few years ago I purchased QuickBooks for only $19.00 through TechSoup.  The basic version of Microsoft Office is available for only $29.00. These...


IRS Issues Guidance on Parking Tax for Churches

Ross Williams

February 25, 2019

Dear Treasurers, Finance Chairs and Pastors, Please see guidance below from the General Council on Finance and Administration of the United Methodist Church on the potential taxability of church parking. Also, please see a link at the bottom of this e-mail to an "FAQ" on this topic recently issued by GCFA. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that became effective on January 1, 2018 added a new tax provision that applies to non-profit organizations (like churches) otherwise exempt from income tax.  ...


Annual Audits

Ross Williams

February 22, 2019

Dear Finance Chairs (copy to Pastors and Treasurers) The Finance Committee is responsible for ensuring that all financial books, records and bank accounts undergo an annual audit. This is required by The Book of Discipline, the governing document of our denomination (see excerpt at end of e-mail).  Included in the audit (or audited separately) must be the transactions of the church's operating account, Board of Trustees, Preschool (if controlled by the church), Memorial Funds, Endowment Funds, ...


Church Audit Webinar

Ross Williams

January 25, 2019

Dear Church Treasurers, Finance Chairs and Pastors, This is just a reminder that there is a free upcoming webinar on how to perform a church audit.   See below for details and the link to register. Sincerely,  Ross Thursday, February 7, 2019, 6:30PM Central Standard Time! The Church Audit: You Can Do This! Every congregation needs to do a church audit, but it doesn’t have to be a big expense or an insurmountable obstacle. There is a great Local Church Audit Guide and related FAQ available that ...


Thank You!

Ross Williams

January 17, 2019

Dear Pastors, Church Council Chairs, Finance Chairs, and Treasurers, I would like to take this opportunity to say "thanks" for your tremendous commitment in honoring the work of our connectional church.  As a former church treasurer, finance chair and stewardship chair I am keenly aware of what it means for a church to pay their conference apportionments.  It is not a trivial accomplishment, especially in what have been challenging economic times.  We ended the 2018 year collecting 87% of ...


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