Questionnaire for Assessing Church Bookkeeping Needs and Preferences

Provided by Fiscal Foundations, LLC
[For questions, call Linda Logan, 612-387-8619]

Tracking member contributions
Each year a church tracks and reports total donations made by each member. Usually a letter or report is sent during the first half of January informing members of the amount of their donations they can claim on their tax return. The church may have a special church software for tracking and reporting these donations by donor. The database is probably complete with names, addresses, amounts, and dates of donations, and has reporting capability built in. If this kind of database is used, it may not be necessary to duplicate this detailed information in the QuickBooks®. Donation totals can be recorded on bank deposits by date, but need not be broken down by individual, therefore saving time on bookkeeping data entry.

1. Does the church have a separate donor database software application? YES __ NO __

2. Can that detail serve as backup/support data for the accounting data? YES __ NO __

3. Do you prefer to enter only totals of donations in QuickBooks® rather than detail by donor? YES __ NO __

4. If you prefer donor detail information to be entered into QuickBooks®, do you need Donor Contribution Reports printed out of QuickBooks® and sent to members? YES __ NO __

Church Annual Budget
Each year the church board and management prepare an annual budget. The budget can be recorded in QuickBooks®. To assist the planning process, QuickBooks® can create a new year’s budget based on the previous year’s numbers. That budget template can be exported to Excel and then modified for the new year’s needs. Knowing past income and spending patterns speeds up the planning process, keeps the budget realistic, and Excel is easy to use for creating what-if scenarios.

1. Does the church prepare annual budgets? YES __ NO __

2. Do you also need Department Budgets? YES __ NO __

You can set up budgets by class in QuickBooks®. “Class” would be the departments or funds that you would like a budget for. Once Department Budgets are set up, we use the same “Class” designations to track income and expenses, and can run Budget to Actual reports for the departments and for the whole church budget as well.

1. Would you like to regularly review Budget to Actual Reports? YES ____ NO ____

2. Would you like Budget to Actual Reports for:

a. Whole organization budget —  Monthly ____ Quarterly ____ Annual ____
b. Department budgets — Monthly ____ Quarterly ____ Annual ____

Overall Organization Financial Reports
Each month, the board reviews the church financial reports: Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement. These reports can be titled per the board’s preferences. Standard non-profit titles are:

  • Statement of Financial Activity – This is the Income Statement or Profit and Loss Statement listing all revenue and expenses.
  • Statement of Financial Position – This is the Balance Sheet showing assets, liabilities and equity accounts. Standard names for equity accounts are:
    • Permanently Restricted Net Assets (usually investments that provide dividend income)
    • Temporarily Restricted Net Assets (same as designated funds for specific usage)
    • Unrestricted Net Assets (general operating funds)
  • Cash Flow or Fund Balances Report – If “Class” tracking is set up in QuickBooks®, with classes being the funds, a report (spreadsheet) can easily be set up and maintained by pulling data from standard and customized QuickBooks® reports and plugging in the values to the spreadsheet showing:
  • Beginning Cash Balance Revenue Received Total Funds Available Expenses Paid Out Ending Balance

From QuickBooks®, you can print out an Income/Expense report by department/fund (class) and enter the totals right into the spreadsheet.

1. How often does the board/management review financial reports?

2. Which reports do you want to review?

3. How would you like the reports titled?

4. Would you also like accounts payable or receivable reports or any other reports?

Department/Fund Management Reports
1. Would you like to have Income & Expense reports for specific departments/funds? YES __ No __

2. List the departments/funds you track and for which you need reports. These will be listed on the Class List in QuickBooks® and provide the filter basis for sorting data into departments/funds.

Bookkeeping/QuickBooks® Customization Needs?
Here are the QuickBooks® consulting services we can provide to help you improve and maintain your bookkeeping records and procedures, and to meet your goals for accuracy and completeness of the data you’ll give to the board for periodic reviews and to your CPA for year-end reporting. This detailed reporting will help you make wise decisions to guide your organization. Check off the tasks you need help with.

_____ Review your QuickBooks® file and recommend needed revisions and customization to improve accuracy and efficiency. We can provide instructions for what to do or do some or all of it for you.

_____ Add Classes to your QuickBooks® Lists.

_____ Ensure the Chart of Accounts includes all accounts needed for your reports

_____ Customize and memorize reports you want to review regularly.

_____ Customize the Icon Bar for ease of use and efficiency.

_____ Write QuickBooks®/bookkeeping procedures as needed to implement new data entry/report generation tasks.

For a free phone consultation and needs assessment, call :

Linda Logan, 612-387-8619
We can provide onsite help in the above areas or remote assistance anywhere.

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