While many industries have their own accounting nuances, churches utilize entirely different principles and practices. As a result, their financial needs are far more complex than many other similarly sized organizations.
Churches and businesses view revenue generation differently, use revenue differently, and report revenue differently. Churches need money to operate; however, unlike businesses, their primary goal is not to generate revenue. Instead, they collect money to pay for operational expenses, fund campaigns, and support their ministries. Furthermore, a church does not have shareholders, so any excess income is not paid out – it is reinvested to advance its mission. This is reported on a “statement of activities” instead of an income statement like a traditional business.
Accounting is a necessary evil for most business owners – they understand that optimal cash flow requires accurate accounting, but they are often unsure of their own abilities when it comes to keeping their books. Even business owners that outsource their bookkeeping and accounting functions still need to understand accounting principles and practices to oversee the work that is being done on their behalf.
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