Operating on a tight budget is a reality for many churches in the 21st century. With weekly attendances having declined over the course of many decades, regular donations are significantly down and the role that the church plays in people's everyday lives looks to be diminished.
Nonetheless, churches are still very often the focal point of local communities, with weddings and funerals continuing to bring people across a local area together. But church groups are also prepared to spread God's word in new and imaginative ways.
Many offer their community services such as child-care and laundry facilities, with some even taking to city centre streets at weekends to offer water out to well-oiled revellers. With the changing ways in which they operate, the methods of generating an income to sustain their good work have had to evolve too.
Through fundraising initiatives like fun-days and fairs, organising sponsored events, or simply by more relevant community involvement, churches try to encourage local people to make one-off or regular donations. Keeping track of these mixed forms of income is an important part of church accounting, and must fall in line with the demands of HMRC.
Thanks to HMRC, gift aid claims are another important part of maximising incomes. If a church is recognised as a charity by HMRC, gift aid can be claimed on money raised for the church. Specially tailored software packages have been designed for churches to operate effectively on their restricted budgets, and to maximise all the avenues that could benefit them through one fully-integrated system.
With a mix of both cash and electronic payments, ensuring that all tax and auditing procedures fall in line with regulations is vital. By using accounting software specifically created with all these nuances in mind, churches can get the best deal and can continue with their positive work.
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Article By: Nick Campbell
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