Finance Topics


Thank You!

Ross Williams

January 17, 2020

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 and finance 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 and uncertain times.  We ended 2019 collecting 86% of all apportionments.  ...


Workers' Compensation Submission Due by February 28th

Ross Williams

January 15, 2020

Dear Treasurers, Finance Chairs and Preschools (copy to Pastors): (This communication is also being sent via U.S. mail to ensure receipt) As you may know, the Conference uses an online collection system for payroll data, which streamlines the process of issuing accurate bills for Workers' Compensation insurance.  It is now time for churches, charges, parishes and church-controlled schools, nurseries and camps to report their final 2019 wages by February 28th using this system.  Even if you have ...


New Internal Revenue Service Mileage Rates for 2020

Ross Williams

January 01, 2020

The Internal Revenue Service has just issued the 2020 standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business or charitable purposes.


Church Authority and Secrecy

Ross Williams

November 11, 2019

BY ROSS WILLIAMS Conference CFO & Director of Administrative Services I often receive questions about the authority of church leaders over financial matters and access to financial statements, systems, meetings and records. Listed below is guidance on these topics from The Book of Discipline (BOD) and other UMC publications. The Book of Discipline is available online. One of the hallmarks of our denomination is a structure and practice of openness, transparency and inclusion with respect to ...


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 ...


Clergy Housing Allowances

Ross Williams

September 13, 2019

Dear Clergy and Church Finance Leaders: The topic of clergy “Housing Allowances” can be a complicated one, involving very specific rules and confusing terminology.  It is also an area that requires action prior to the processing of payroll each calendar year.  So what follows is a summary based upon the many questions that I receive on this topic. The Basics: 1. Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code permits a “minister of the gospel” to exclude a “Housing Allowance” from income. This Housing ...


AIEM Housing Allowances

Ross Williams

September 13, 2019

Dear Clergy on Appointment in Extension Ministries, We want to ensure that you understand and take advantage of an important tax benefit available to ordained clergy.  Please read the information below on how to set up a housing exclusion so that a portion of your income can be treated as tax-free for federal, state and local purposes.  While you may not be currently serving a “church”, you can still qualify for this favorable tax treatment subject to the rules below.  The most important rule is...


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 ...


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