Clear and simple
Jeff Thomas, Diocesan Stewardship & Support Officer, explains the new accounts package for LMAs
The parable of the talents which appears in Matthew 25:14–30 and Luke 19:11–27 tells the story of a master who puts his servants in charge of his goods while he is away on a trip. The husbanding of resources has always been one of the themes which the bible returns to from time to time. Like the three servants in the parable, our church treasurers are called to husband the resources entrusted to the church by its donors to further God’s good purposes. Since 1st March (St David’s Day) three LMAs a month have taken delivery of an online bookkeeping tool which will enable our treasurers to manage and account for our resources, with greater ease and clarity.
Much like a personal banking site, treasurers have a user ID and password to access their accounts and record each transaction by accessing the screens and populating the fields presented to them. The system then does everything else. It creates reports and returns, it creates accounts, it ensures that the figures always balance, and it enables the LMA to comply with the law. LMAs will be required to produce and file an annual report and accounts with the Charities Commission in due course.
To record the payment of, say, an electricity bill a treasurer would enter his/her user ID and password and enter their church’s Dashboard screen (Fig. 1).
^Fig 1 Fig 2>
They would select Record Expenditure and enter the Record Expenditure screen. After populating the online form presented to them (Fig. 2) they click Post at the bottom right of the screen – and that’s it! The system does everything else. Once set up, the application offers a huge saving of time and energy. As Peter Royle, a user from St Ishmaels Church, and Marloes & St Brides Churches said, it "may look daunting at first, but is actually quicker than my old spreadsheet analysis"
Not owning or not being able to use a computer is no bar to continuing as treasurer. Non-users are being paired up with users who will record transactions on the treasurers’ behalf and online. Of the 189 churches approached so far, 145 are familiarising themselves with the application now, 32 will pair up with a computer-user, and 12 treasurer roles are or will become vacant.