Reimbursing Volunteers with QuickBooks Online

Most churches or nonprofits have a volunteer or very part-time treasurer/bookkeeper. One of the challenges I found when I first became a church treasurer (working just 4 hours/week) is that, when I was in the office and working, few others were. If I had a question or if someone needed a reimbursement, the chances were slim that we’d both be in the office at the same time. It also seemed inappropriate to try to get this work done on Sunday mornings.

In the video, I walk you through some ways that QuickBooks Online can make it easier to reimburse people online. In the video, I struggled with the Google Drive link to QuickBooks. I tried several times. I would recommend just uploading to from your computer. You can use Dropbox or the like for folks to share files. Below are some habits/principles that helped me and the people I served:

Set Your Hours

The best time for me to work was Saturday mornings. It was quiet, and I was fresh and focused. Then I would get requests to come to the church and cut “emergency” checks. I made it clear, “I cut checks on Saturday mornings.” Did I still sometimes cut “emergency” checks? Yes, but the definition of Emergency changed. It was no longer, “I didn’t plan ahead.” It was, “I couldn’t plan for this.” It also helped that I kept my hours. I didn’t just hope to cut checks on Saturday mornings. Checks were almost always cut every Saturday morning so that folks knew that by noon on Saturday, their check would be ready.

Look for the Win-Win

As a treasurer, it’s tempting to be super rigid and make people always work around my system. It’s also tempting to try to please everyone and always break our own rules. Usually there is a happy medium…a win-win where each side gives a little. An example is my rule about only cutting checks on Saturday mornings. At the same time, we began issuing Church Credit Cards. Church Credit Cards have their own problems, but this allowed staff to pay for stuff and not have to wait for a personal reimbursement.

Digitize Everything

In the video, I show about using Google Drive to help volunteers and staff. QuickBooks Online partners with and Melio to make it super cheap to electronically pay people. QuickBooks’ payroll system will run and report everything automatically for your. It’s also pretty easy to reimburse employees right through payroll. People can still come to the church office, fill out an Expense Voucher, and attach a receipt, but, by adding the electronic option, you now make it much less painful for busy people to be reimbursed.

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