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Preparing Your Church Budget

by Alex Acree

Important Things To Consider For Your Church Budget

When you are looking at creating a budget for your church, data is key. If your organization has existed for a while, you can use the data you already have to help make wise decisions for the future of your church. Here are a few places to start.

Detail – Be A Hoarder Of Information

Take a lot of notes—for everything. Gather all your income and expense accounts, and their numbers, and add notes for why you’ve budgeted certain ways. The more detail you include, the more you understand how that spending helps accomplish your mission. Details can also give you insight into where you were wrong in your estimates when preparing a variance analysis.

Collaboration – Involve Who’s Involved

Just because you’re the church accountant or head pastor doesn’t mean you necessarily understand why a certain department is spending what they’re spending. You want to involve them in your discussions for what an appropriate goal is for each budget category.

Financial Data – Pull All Relative Reports

  1. Income Statement by Month for the current fiscal year (FY), through the most recently reconciled month
  2. Income Statement by Month for at least 1 prior the FY, if possible
    1. If it’s not possible, it will be more difficult to judge due to the lack of comparability
    2. You can include more than 1 year; if possible, 2 is a good amount
  3. Balance Sheet for the most recent reconciled month
  4. Balance Sheet as of the end of each previous FY being compared, if possible
  5. Any updated income and expense categories you want to use in the coming FY
  6. Any considerations to factor into the budget, including:
    1. Gift acceptance policy
    2. Board goals and designations
    3. Cash flow needs

Exercise For Today

Reach out to someone in your church administration to collaborate with them on a budget and gather your financial information.

Want to learn more? Sign up here and we will send you the entire course through email as we delve deeper into the subject! During this course, we will look at a few things to line up before you prepare your church budget. Our goal for this course is to provide you with some backbone techniques and principles to start budgeting for your church’s financials. Let’s get to it.

Webinar: Creating a Church Budget Template in Excel

Good church stewardship means giving a specific purpose for every dollar you receive. And the more specific you get with your money, the less likely you are to adopt a common attitude among churches, which is a “use it or lose it” mindset. With Excel, you can customize, sort, filter, and change the data however you want to get your results the way you need them. Fill out the form below to gain access to the free webinar and template.

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