Budgets and Projections in QuickBooks

For some reason QuickBooks just doesn’t seem to value budgets. There’s like ten different Profit & Loss reports, four different Balance Sheets, and only one Budget to Actuals Report. The budget tool itself is barely usable. This kind of ticks me off. The reason I’m complaining so much is that the budget can be one of the most tangibly transformative tools in a church leader’s arsenal. You’ve likely heard it said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This is not just descriptive. It’s a promise. So…it’s likely true that I can tell what’s important to your church by looking at your budget and spending. By changing your budget, you can change what your church sees as important.

Enough soapbox. In the video I show you where QuickBooks hides their budget tool. One of the things I’ve found important in my own life and in some of the committees I’ve served is making mid-year projections on how the year will likely end. Many churches set their budget in the fourth quarter of the previous year. The Finance Committee does this with the best information they have at the time. By mid-year, they have even better information. Take this year for example. Most of my churches in the Dakotas are way underbudget for snow removal and mowing but are overbudget on utilities. Giving may be up or down. Many had unexpected income from either the government or the denomination or bequests. That’s a lot of moving parts to keep track of. Making a projection is like being able to update the budget with all the current data.

What I prefer to do is update my projections quarterly. This gives leaders enough data than to lead more confidently. If we project finances are doing poorly, we can look into reducing expenses. If we project that finances are doing great, we can be more open to spending money on unexpected opportunities…or even just putting it into savings.

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