Church Bookkeeping Services in Milwaukee & Madison
Accounting & financial management for Wisconsin churches
Churches and other faith-based organizations benefit from knowing the numbers, as do the communities they serve.
The Giersch Group is a family-owned bookkeeping firm with experience helping churches and ministries in southeast Wisconsin learn to use accurate financial information to protect their assets and streamline church accounting. Our flexible services include bookkeeping software setup, outsourced bookkeeping, accrual accounting and much more.
We understand accounting for churches and nonprofits is not the same as for-profit business accounting. We have experience working with every aspect of the special tax codes which affect a church's ability to receive donations, file church staff payroll and provide a compensation package to the minister.
Contact our professionals today with your questions about church accounting software or to schedule your free consultation.
Based out of Milwaukee, Brookfield and Madison, the Giersch Group works with churches, charities, nonprofits and faith-based organizations in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties including Brookfield, Mequon, West Bend, New Berlin and the surrounding communities.
Accurate reporting of church balance sheets
We were recently looking over the financials of a parish in preparation for taking over their bookkeeping. This is one of those big old churches that once had thousands of members and now has hundreds, but their prime urban location causes the church to be used for concerts and food pantries and lectures, so it has some rent and event revenue, though regular contributing members are just a few hundred. It's a trick to make it work financially, but they're getting by.
After a quick look at the sources and uses of cash for operations, we turned to the balance sheet, and there we saw a hole in their financial reality where the church building should have been.
There was no long term asset accounting for the value of the property and the building. The land alone had to be worth a million dollars. Land improvements might exceed $2M. The explanation I got was that it was never recorded and this was the way it always was and no one ever questioned it.
Now, I had expected to see a number that I knew was much lower than the true value of the land and building. Often with these churches that were built 50 or 100 years ago, the balance sheet still has the original value, which can be many multiples less than what it is worth today. That is understandable. But this balance sheet had nothing.
The Giersch Group can facilitate the transfer to cloud-based accounting software such as QuickBooks™ for churches and provide training in the viewing of reports from the online accounting software. We'll help you understand how to use your financial statements to make decisions for the good of your religious organization.
Church accounting software
Church accounting software is designed to meet the day to day accounting needs of churches and nonprofit organizations. Accounting software for churches includes terminology specific to religious organizations, allows for contributions and accounting for donor restricted funds.
The Giersch Group can help you select, download, set up or clean up any type of church accounting software.
Popular church accounting software options:
- QuickBooks for churches
- ACS Church Accounting
- Aplos church accounting software
- Fund accounting software for churches
- PowerChurch Plus
Outsourcing church bookkeeping lets church leaders devote more time to the mission.
Whether you have a specific type of cloud-based church accounting software in mind or are interested in doing a comparison with a professional perspective, the Giersch Group can help.
Contact us for insights, training and advice on:
- Recording tithes and offerings in QuickBooks
- Church fund accounting
- Church chart of accounts
- Church income and expense statements
- Preparing reports of church financial records
- Creating church budgets and financial forecasts
- Payroll administration for clergy and church staff
- Balancing petty cash, checking and investment accounts
- Preparing for an audit
- Tracking donations (including non-cash donations such as vehicles) per IRS regulations
- Establishing effective internal controls against error or fraud
- Reimbursing church staff for expenses in accordance with IRS guidelines
- Creating or administering a benevolence fund
Our flexible services are available for accounting software training and support as needed, on a part-time basis, or completely outsourced.
Small Church Bookkeeping
It can be a challenge for non-professional or volunteer church administrators to stay on top of all the accounting tasks, especially for a small church where it’s easy for members to become overworked.
Even individuals with accounting experience may not be aware of all the special guidelines specific to a church’s unique tax standing.
Our small church bookkeeping and accounting services are flexible, affordable and completely customized to your church’s needs.
For no extra charge, along with our bookkeeping services we will teach you the basics of managing your books, reading financial statements and planning for the growth of your small church based on timely and accurate data.
Outsourcing Church Accounting
Many church leaders and administrators wonder whether outsourcing church bookkeeping and accounting is worth it.
Unfortunately church financial fraud is a real and growing problem in churches of all sizes, in some cases due to a lack of internal controls and an assumed level of trust.
Especially for small and medium-sized churches, outsourcing the church bookkeeping has the potential to vastly increase accuracy, provide or improve internal controls to safeguard the resources of your congregation, and even reduce bookkeeping costs.
Our experienced bookkeepers are trained in bookkeeping for religious organizations and provide high quality outsourced accounting services at a fraction of the price of paying an in-house bookkeeper.
Improving church endowment fund management
This points to two problems we see with church accounting for major building (or endowments):
One is that they obsess over it, borrow against it and "ride it down" without a real plan for what's going to happen when it's gone.
The other issue is what we saw here -- they refuse to touch it. They act as if it doesn't exist.
Both are bad ways to approach the church building as an asset because in either case, they are not understanding the power of an asset: leverage it, borrow against it to invest, make a return, improve the situation and do it over again. This is what congregations should be doing with their church or endowment.
How credibility & creative use of church assets affect conversion
We understand the challenges large and small churches face in 2018 and can help your organization thrive again.
The story of the thousand-seat church with a hundred members is a common one these days.
The millennials are not joiners, they're not very religious, and they're getting married much later than usual. All of this means that the traditional church structure does not hold much value for them.
At the Giersch Group, we have seen many a declining traditional church, but not many who have managed to completely turn it around. There are some success stories. Those who have have done so usually did it with school choice, or a food pantry or by turning their space into a theater, etc.
There are many such "success stories," except success in almost all of these cases meant being something other than a traditional church.
"But this is not who we are!" the leaders will say. "We're in the church business and that means sharing a message that leads to personal conversion." But realize, that message can be shared in unconventional ways. As St. Francis of Assisi once said, "Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words." These struggling congregations should use all the gifts - not just preaching.
The entrepreneurial spirit is a powerful thing. Creative ways to use these large assets can bring people into contact with the church and create revenue streams that both sustain the church and give it visibility and influence in the community.
One reason this is so important is that the credibility of the messenger is at stake. If the church is not a good manager of their assets, credibility will suffer. Your parishioners don't need to be financially savvy to realize the waste of an underutilized asset when they visit it every week. They can feel it.
Church CFO Services
The availability of church staff or volunteers may not allow for the financial leadership a CFO can provide.
Every church benefits from having a CFO to:
- Handle business aspects of the church
- Manage the church’s financial affairs proactively
- Define and mitigate risk (how would your church deal with a run of lower-than-usual contributions?)
- Oversee church support systems for efficient operations
- Maintain a relationship with banking institutions
- Explain the financial impact of decisions on the organization
- Balance the budget, project cash flow, and plan strategically
Though accounting for churches is very different than businesses, churches benefit from the skills and expertise a CFO uses to make every type of business or organization successful.
Schedule a free consultation with the Giersch Group to learn how our CFO services can help your church manage its finances strategically to fulfill its mission.
Church accounting services in southeast Wisconsin
Giersch group offers in-office and virtual bookkeeping services to churches located in Wisconsin and in other states. We have offices conveniently located in Milwaukee, Madison, and Brookfield.
Milwaukee County church bookkeepers serving: Downtown Milwaukee, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Glendale, Fox Point, River Hills, Brown Deer, Granville, Butler, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Greendale, Franklin, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, Cudahy, St. Francis & everywhere in between.
Dane County church bookkeepers serving: Madison, Middleton, Waunakee, Windsor, Sun Prairie, Cottage Grove, McFarland, Fitchburg, Verona, Riley, Pine Bluff, Cross Plains, Springfield Corners, Black Earth, Mazomanie, Mt. Horeb, Belleville, Rutland, Stoughton, Kengosa, Deerfield, Monona & everywhere in between.
Ozaukee County church bookkeepers serving: Mequon, Thiensville, Cedarburg, Lakefield, Grafton, Saukville, Port Washington, Knellsville, Newburg, Waubeka, Fredonia, Holy Cross, Belgium, Dacada & everywhere in between.
Waukesha County church bookkeepers serving: Waukesha, Brookfield, New Berlin, Muskego, Big Bend, Vernon, Mukwonago, Jericho, Eagle, North Prairie, Saylesville, Genesee Depot, Ottawa, Wales, Dousman, Delafield, Oconomowoc, Monterey, Nashotah, Hartland, Merton, Town of Lisbon, Sussex, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Butler, Pewaukee & everywhere in between.
Washington County church bookkeepers serving: Germantown, Hubertus, Richfield, Thompson, Ackerville, Hartford, Kirchhayn, Jackson, Cedar Creek, Slinger, Cedar Lake, St. Lawrence, Allenton, Addison, St. Anthony, Kohlsville, Wayne, Kewaskum, Boltonville, Fillmore, Cheeseville, Young America, West Bend, Nabob and everywhere in between.
Applying the parable of the talents to church financial management
There is no easy solution to the declining church, but financial savvy is a key ingredient in any of the solutions. In the parable of the talents, the one with five talents "immediately began to buy and sell them and made five more." In other words, he began immediately to take risks, to find creative ways to provide value that people would pay for.
The shrewd, creative managers of the Bible are always praised. Modern day churches need to do the same, and it all begins with good financial record keeping.
The Giersch Group bookkeeping services were started expressly for this purpose: to help people improve their management through the use of timely, accurate financial information. Contact The Giersch Group today on behalf of your church or congregation.