Learn how churches overcome challenges with modern accounting and church bookkeeping software and financial management services.
Earlier this week we had a webinar to recap our Faith-Based Finance Collaborative and invited Tammy Bunting, CFO at Concord Church, to join us. Tammy was on our Peer Panel along with Jeff Barber from Park Cities Presbyterian Church, Sheila Buckler from Bent Tree Fellowship Church, and Brian Coleman from Covenant Church.
Tammy expanded on a few questions that were asked during the panel. She briefly shared her personal experience and challenges facing church church financial software and bookkeeping services – some that are top of mind for most of us right now, in and out of the faith-based world.
What are some of the challenges that you have experienced in your church activities?
“That I wasn’t alone in doing church.....a lot of times we think that church is just doing the ministry, making sure that we have Sunday service, making sure we have classes, groups, and nursery, but what I learned over the years is that church is so much bigger than that."
"There is a business side of church. We purchase land, we have construction projects, we finance debt, we have intellectual property, media, products and publications, schools, and camps. So, I think the challenge we have to overcome is that what we are dealing with on a business level can be so much greater than maybe our individual expertise..... so it was the consensus of the panel that we really need to rely on lawyers, bankers, and professionals to come alongside to give us the right answers.”
How have technology, people, and processes help serve you in your CFO role?
“I remember during the crisis of 2008 & 2009 where we had the major recession and I lost over half of my staff. It started then, this boiling inside of me that said when you are doing ministry, the back-office support is probably the first to go, so when a crisis hits you lose your staff and you still have to produce the same amount of reports – there may be less dollars but the output is the same. So, in the back of my mind I kept saying I wish there was a way to outsource this. Maybe there is a resource that we could tap into that knew how to do church well. Then fast forward – being a part of AcctTwo we were able to give birth to that."
"As I started working at Preston Trail, I brought in the team at AcctTwo to walk alongside of us. I have done the same thing at Concord Church. Right now, I can tell you that our church is shutdown, like many churches, but my AcctTwo team (fractional controllers & fractional AP) allow business to carry on as usual."
"All of these individuals can work virtually. We have a product that doesn’t require an in-house server. There has been no downtime in the back-office. As the CFO, it is invaluable. I’m in a middle of an audit and I am doing it completely virtually with the AcctTwo team and CapinCrouse. Without the technology, without the experts, and without this outsourcing partnership, everything would come to a halt. We know that in church, without the ability to continue to provide the support from the back-office to be able to make sure that our tithes and offerings are being processed, everything continues so that we can do ministry."
"So I am a raving fan of outsourcing. I am a cheerleader of AcctTwo’s team, and I don’t say that because I worked at AcctTwo. Even if I didn’t work at AcctTwo at one point in time I would still feel the same way. I felt this way when I worked at Fellowship Church – long before AcctTwo came into existence."
Recommendation to other church/ministry CFOs:
“If you have an opportunity, reach out to AcctTwo to explore how they can come alongside you, maybe as you lose staff or as people quit and you don’t know what to do. I just can’t emphasize enough this idea that hiring people, maintaining people, trying to pay medical and benefits, and being the first staff to get let-go.....this outsourcing relationship can open doors for us that we didn’t have before.”
What are you facing today? What’s going on at the church right now?
“We started last week in preparation. I’m using technology (Microsoft Office products) to work virtually so that I can continue to have face-to-face conversations, have checklists, and have projects so that the team is still engaged and still able to have business as usual. We can do so much from our home, but we don’t want to lose our face-to-face communications.”
We are so appreciative for our Partnership with Tammy, and truly value her insight. I encourage you to listen to our full Q&A with Tammy – we highlighted our interview with her in the clip below.
About AcctTwo’s Faith-Based Finance Collaborative:
The goal in organizing the Faith-Based Finance Collaborative is for faith-based finance leaders to enjoy fellowship with peers, learn from experts in the field, and experience the joy of collaboration. Connecting with peers and other leaders in the church and faith-based finance and accounting space is important to growing a fellowship.
About Tammy Bunting:
Tammy has more than 25 years of experience in accounting, business administration, operations, and management. This includes work in both the secular and non-profit Christian environments. She’s been responsible for providing the controllership functions of all business environments at a multi-ministry church enterprise and been a partner in a thriving Sage Intacct value-added reseller business. Tammy is currently the CFO at Concord Church and was raised and educated in the Christian church. She has a unique perspective into the world of non-profit and faith-based business administration, accounting and church accounting software.
About Allison Webb:
Allison is a highly regarded CPA with over 20 years of audit and advisory services at both national and regional public accounting firms. Prior to joining AcctTwo, she spent 16 years at Capin Crouse LLP and 4 years at Aprio LLP (formerly HA&W). As a Partner at Capin Crouse LLP, Allison worked with churches, foundations, universities, international mission organizations, private schools, and relief and development organizations.
In addition to her CPA work, Allison is a frequent speaker at nonprofit conferences and seminars. You might recognize Allison from her speaking engagements at AcctTwo's Faith-Based Finance Collaborative and Sage Intacct Advantage.