Ultimate Guide To Creating Your Church Budget (+ Church Budget Template)

Creating a budget is needed for churches to reach their goal and grow as a community, but it isn’t as easy as it seems. It is a big task that requires lots of reviews, planning, and monitoring.

In this blog post, we’re going to talk through why you need a budget how to create a budget, and we’ll share a free downloadable budget guide to assist you.

Why Do You Need A Church Budget?

Here are five reasons why your church needs a budget:

It aids planning

Let’s say your church has a goal of renovation and expanding the church’s surroundings. This goal would require funding and a budget process. The budgeting process will aid planning to provide a structured strategy for funding the church’s financial goals.

It gives freedom

A church budget gives freedom to you and the church. 

  • Every church needs a plan. Without a budget, you cannot plan and ensure ministry objectives are met nor have control over how much you spend.
  • Budgets allow a layer of accountability to meet budget requirements as recommended. 
  • It takes a plan supported by budget dollars to achieve church-wide initiatives. A plan and set goals provide a structured process and help allocate resources to church priorities.  

It protects essential ministries.

Without a church budget, the church may spend money on things that aren’t important and not have enough money for essential tasks. Having a set budget for your church would help you determine the most important and least important program and church initiatives to focus on the crucial tasks before the least important ones.


Following a budget helps hold churches accountable to their congregations and allows them to follow their mission of expanding the church, reaching more people, and spreading God’s word. 

Types Of Church Budgets

There are different approaches to church budgeting. No church is the same, and budgeting is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Below is a list of budget approaches for churches:

  • Zero-based budgeting. Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is a budgeting approach that involves developing a new budget every year from zero. It involves analyzing every line item of the cash flow statement and justifying all the expenses your church will incur. Zero-based budgeting aims to avoid costs that are not essential to the church’s growth and planning for longer-term initiatives.
  • Line-item budgeting. If your church already has a budget that works, this type of budget works best. This budget takes the church’s previous year’s figures and adds or subtracts a percentage to obtain the current year’s budget.
  • Program budgeting. This budget approach is used for church projects or programs. If your church goes with this budgeting approach, you will need to define the need for each program and the expenses related to that program. 

How to Create a Church Budget 

Identify Church Goals

An effective budget starts with identifying your church’s goals. Knowing your church’s goals for the year will help plan how to create a church budget for expenses and income. Here are three steps on how to identify your church’s purpose:

Step One:

Meet with the church’s team to discuss and pray about the church’s year goals and visions. Ask questions like:

  • What is God’s plan for our church this year?
  • Where is the greatest need in our community?
  • What areas of ministry do we want to expand this year?
  • What mission(s) do we want to commit to this year?
  • What do we need to fund to prepare for our long-term goals?
  • What are our income goals? How can we encourage members to give more to the church?

Step Two:

Share your goals with the church members, then ask their opinions on what else they would love to prioritize this year. Do they want to do more outreach, invest in the community or expand the ministry? Involving the members will increase the chance of meeting the church’s goals and visions.

Step Three:

Meet with the church team again to create a plan to accomplish the vision and strategic plan. To ensure all spending decisions are made according to the church’s combined strategies and goals, costs and funding are needed to achieve your church’s goals and incorporate them into the budget.

Access Previous Data

Analyze the previous year’s financial data to find patterns in expenses and income. Here are some questions you can ask to help you analyze the church’s financial data:

  • How much does the average member give to the church?
  • Does your church have emergency funds?
  • How much is the church spending on facilities/equipment, personnel, and administration?
  • Does your church pay all expenses on time?
  • Does your church have recurring donations that you can rely on to even out fluctuations in giving and attendance?

 Review Current Expenses

After you’ve accessed your prior years’ data, the next thing you need to do is review current expenses. Learning how much money is currently being spent is the first step to establishing how money needs to be spent going forward. Reviewing your costs will also help you identify waste and unnecessary expenses.

Make Budget Cuts

Not all expenses should make the final budget. Access your data and look for areas that need to be edited and cut out of the budget. Here are some questions to help find expenses that shouldn’t make it to the final budget:

  • Are there ministries in your church that are non-essential? 
  • Are there duplicate resources across ministries in your church? If yes, you might need to cut the unnecessary expenses.
  • Is your church in money trouble? If yes, you might need to make several budget cuts.
  • Is there any way to increase income via general giving, so you don’t have to make so many budget cuts?
  • Is any of the budget cuts going to affect the church’s goal?

Plan For How Church Growth May Impact The Budget

Church growth is inevitable, so you need to consider growth while creating your budget. What happens when your church outgrows its original budget? You need to prepare for how your budget will change if your church grows. Here are some questions to help with the preparation:

  • Does your church want to invest in church technologies (live streaming tools, church website, and custom mobile app) to help make worship easier for you and the members?
  • If your church got 100 new members, will space be enough, or would you need to expand or relocate to a bigger building?
  • Will your church need to hire extra staff or pastors soon?
  • Can there be any improvements to how donations are accepted to make it easier and faster for the members?

Hire An Accountant

Hire an accountant to help keep the church accountable and monitor the budget while ensuring your financial records are accurate. They can provide your current budget that reflects your current situation so you can allocate limited resources to needed programs and initiatives. Creating a budget is one thing; it’s another to watch the budget and stay accountable. Make it a routine to have regular financial conversions with your accountant and the team so you can identify parts of the budget that need adjustment throughout the year.

 Share Your Finished Budget With The Church

Share the final budget with your church members. Financial transparency will show the members that the church leaders can handle the resources entrusted to them.

Monitor The Church Budget Performance 

It doesn’t just end at creating a budget and sharing it with the church – the budget has to be monitored to ensure your income and expenses align with your projections. You don’t have to check the budget every day – dedicate a period where you’ll check in on the budget’s performance, then create meeting times and calendar reminders for the task.

Free Church Budget Guide

Ready to get started with your church budget? Download for free:

  • Church budget templates
  • Mistakes to avoid when creating a church budget
  • Budgeting tips from professionals, and so much more!

How To Avoid A Tax Audit: A Guide For Business Owners

A tax audit is a review of a taxpayer’s accounts and financial information to ensure the information is reported correctly according to tax laws. Tax audits are usually triggered by deductions of income listed on a tax return, but taxpayers can also be selected at random for a tax audit.

All tax audits are not equal, and some are more daunting than others. Depending on the information you gave the IRS, you might receive a notice that an IRS agent wants to audit your records. Here are the types of IRS audits that you could receive:

Correspondence Audit 

Correspondence audits are the most common type of IRS audits, and they involve the IRS sending a letter in the mail asking for more information about a certain part of your tax return. If the information you provided in your tax return doesn’t correspond to what the IRS has on record, you could get a letter from them.

If you have prepared your tax return correctly, and you have the necessary information to back up the items on your return, you should be able to resolve the audit. If you are missing some information or documentation, you need to hire a professional to assist you.

Office Audit

If the issues with your tax return are too complex for a correspondence audit, you will get a letter requesting that you go to an IRS office for an audit. Office audits surround issues about business profits/losses, rental income/expenses, or itemized deductions.

The office audit involves an interview that consists of questions related to the issue on the record. There might also be generalized questions about lifestyle, financial position, and employment.

Auditors are well-trained tax professionals who can fish out incriminating information from interviews. So it’s best to seek advice from a professional before an office audit. A typical office audit only lasts a day. If the IRS wants more information, they will give you time to provide the necessary information.

Field Audit

A field audit involves an IRS agent visiting the taxpayer’s home or office to examine records.

When an IRS agent visits an office, they might ask to see financial records, seek interviews with employees, and ask for a tour of the office. This audit will be used to find out the internal controls, management structure, and accounting procedures. When an agent visits a home, they would only ask to see financial records and hold an interview with the taxpayer. This audit could last anywhere from a day to a week, depending on the account.

If you’ve been selected for a field audit, it’s best to hire a tax attorney who would be present at the time of the audit because what you say can be used against you. Your tax attorney would communicate with the auditor on your behalf to ensure the scope of the audit is not expanded.

How to Avoid An IRS Tax Audit 

Statistics have shown that taxpayers with high income are more prone to being audited by the IRS because of the complexity of their returns. But, limiting how much you earn isn’t the solution to avoid a tax audit – we all want to earn more.

So how do you avoid a tax audit? There is no guaranteed way to avoid an audit, but luckily, there are some tips that can reduce your chances of being audited.

  • Record All Income

Underreporting your income can put you at risk for a tax audit. Don’t omit any income in your tax report, no matter how little the amount. Report all the income you’ve earned during the tax year, including any assets you sold. Failure to report your true income, including the extra money you received throughout the year, such as the sale of an asset, can result in a tax audit.

  • Review your details

It seems like a no-brainer, but a common reason the IRS may pull your filing is that you forgot to sign your tax return. Forgetting to sign your tax return isn’t the only mistake you can make. The mistakes vary from failing to date the return to using the wrong postage or calculating wrong deductions. While these mistakes seem common, the IRS lists them as issues. Be sure to carefully review every page on your file – check for details such as the spelling of your name, social security number, and other errors.

  • Claim Only Legitimate Tax Deductions

Tax deductions are great, but certain tax deductions are often closely scrutinized. Home office deductions, meals, travel, and charitable donations are red flags. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take this deduction, but make sure you comply with the requirements. If you qualify for a deduction that is abnormal for your business type or size, make sure you have clear records to show the IRS in case of a tax audit.

  • Be Careful with Schedule Cs

As a self-employed taxpayer, you should be familiar with Schedule C. If you aren’t familiar with Schedule C, it is used to report how much money you made or lost in your business. Unfortunately, the IRS heavily scrutinizes Schedule Cs. This means you have to be extra careful when preparing yours. Consider hiring a tax professional or an accountant to prepare your form correctly.

  • Don’t Leave Any Question Blank

Make sure you answer every question on the tax form, even if it seems irrelevant. An unintentional oversight could get your file attention you don’t want. If you are a small business, your odds of an audit are small, so don’t give the IRS a reason to pay closer attention to your file because you left some questions blank.

  • Hire An Accountant

If you want to avoid a tax audit, the best thing to do is hire an accountant or tax professional to file your taxes. Not only will this reduce your chances of a tax audit, but you also stand a better chance of maximizing your tax deductions.

Should you ever find yourself facing a tax audit, do not panic. Stay organized, hire a tax professional, and you should easily be able to defend yourself to the IRS in an audit. But hopefully, these six tips will help you avoid a tax audit. Let us know if you found these tips helpful.


7 Profitability Secrets Every Home Health Care Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Home Health Care Profitability Secrets

The home health care industry is growing. Grandview Research predicts a 7.9% growth rate through 2027 due to factors including an aging population, the prevalence of chronic diseases, and increasing adoption of aging in place principles. While a lot is unknown about COVID-19 and its impact, there is reason to believe the long-term impact of the disease may also increase home health care needs.

So how can in-home care providers take advantage of this incredible growth? Tackling some of the major obstacles, and capitalizing on opportunities is key.

SECRET #1 – Hire & Retain Qualified Staff
Hiring and retaining staff is a top concern of home health care agencies. Even with rising unemployment, finding staff with the right skills and retaining them is a high priority. Losing employees affects morale and productivity and may cost your business from one half to two times the employee’s annual salary. According to AFLAC, 47% of employees will look for a new job in the next 12 months due to confusion or dissatisfaction with benefits.

What Can You Do?
Take time with the onboarding process and be sure explain benefits when a new person joins the team. Create an onboarding checklist to make sure you cover topics that are important to the business and the employee. Offering ongoing training and development opportunities is another great way to support your team but it can’t be random. Have each employee create a development plan and help them get the resources and schedule the time needed to fulfill it.

SECRET #2 – Navigate PGDM & Other Regulations
With the implementation of the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PGDM) in 2020, some organizations have seen a reduction in the number of visits allowed, and a need for increased follow-ups to get the right billing codes from physicians.

What Can You Do?
As regulations change or new programs are implemented, ramp up your training and create videos so staff can access operational information easily. Create a one-page summary with the important facts and procedures so the process is clear.

SECRET #3 – Implement Technology
The fast pace of technological change in the health care industry is something every health care business is grappling with. Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) is not new, but ensuring that records are entered accurately, and exceptions are addressed is essential for timely payment and compliance.

What Can You Do?
Most people struggle with change, so create a plan for technology changes with a clear timeline and involve the team in the process. Consider getting help with technology implementation and with time-consuming tasks that take you away from your customers. To reduce billing errors, some home health care agencies are outsourcing the coding of their charts to improve accuracy. Many organizations are moving to cloud-based accounting tools and outsourcing their bookkeeping and payroll to improve payment cycles and keep their team focused on service delivery.

SECRET #4 – Grow Your Referral Sources
Home health services continue to grow in acceptance within the healthcare system, so expect more referrals from doctors, hospitals, and other providers. Greater awareness of the benefits and options for home care means opportunities to collaborate on patient care, education, community engagement, and more.

What Can You Do?
Consider ways to partner and expand your referral sources with hospitals, doctors, senior living communities, and other health professionals. Get your team out networking in the community to grow referrals and create a development opportunity. Build a partner email list and map out some partner-specific communications. Connect with partners on social media pages and groups to maximize your reach.

SECRET #5 – Make Your Website Research Friendly
Studies show 70-80% of people research services online before they contact a company to learn more or purchase. This means your website needs to have all the important information providers, patients, and families need to understand your services and take the next step to contact you.

What Can You Do?
To make sure your website performs well in search results, create compelling website content that answers the top questions providers and consumers ask. Make sure your website clearly defines what makes your home care service unique from the others. A chart listing features is a great visual to highlight your strengths. Pictures and videos of the team help potential customers get to know you. Ask for feedback to make sure your website is easy to read and navigate.

SECRET #6 – Prepare for COVID-19 Patients

Some patients with COVID-19 experience lengthy hospital stays, and others are feeling the effects of the virus for months, which means home care services will be needed for a broad range of health issues. Growing healthcare needs during a pandemic is both a challenge and an opportunity.

What Can You Do?
If you don’t already have a strong pipeline of potential staff this is a great time to strengthen your recruitment plans. Where have you found the best employees in the past? How can your networking efforts boost referrals and staff? Develop the training, resources, and education needed to support patients recovering from COVID-19.

SECRET #7 – Adopt the Right Tools
Outfitting your team with the right tools can improve service delivery, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Tools might include documentation like a procedure manual, and forms, as well as supplies needed for care visits, phones, tablets, and other technology. Some home health care agencies are deploying small portable printers to enable providers to print medication lists, therapy instructions, and more.

What Can You Do?
Whether you are considering new manuals, forms, hardware or software, do a quick cost/benefit analysis before investing in new tools by estimating the actual or opportunity costs and the benefit in time saved or increased visits. For example, if you ask one of your senior care providers to update procedure documentation, the cost associated is revenue not realized while he or she is working on the project. If you are purchasing printers, the expense affects your cash, or credit position. When implementing new tools consider a phased approach to test the product, the workflow, and engage the team in the process.

Which of these is most important for your business?  Take the next step and schedule a free 30 minute consultation.


Working with TWA has been such a pleasure. The staff is friendly and extremely knowledgeable about various tax needs and services. Our transition to TWA from our previous CPA could not have gone more smoothly. I would highly recommend making them part of your business team.      Joanna

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Build Your Small Business Team

small business team

As a small business owner, you wear many hats and you need a supportive small business team to help you achieve your goals.

Consider adding these  resources to your team and get the advice and assistance you need to succeed.

Find a Financial Planner
According to Investopedia.com, only 40% of small businesses currently use a financial planner. Before you take your financial future in your hands, consider how a financial planner can help:

-Provide expert advice
-Support your financial goals
-Reduce taxes
-Connect you with other experts, i.e. legal, insurance, banking

Consider finding an expert who:

-Understands your industry
-Has a history of working with small business owners
-Is a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) with a clear fee structure, i.e., fee-only advisor
-Has a list of referrals with good reviews
-Offers a personalized experience that is specific to you

Join an Industry Association
Consider joining an industry association and attending events in order to expand your knowledge, learn tips and trends, and network with others to help expand your business’ reach. Belonging to an industry association also helps establish credibility for yourself and your business so don’t forget to update your website and Linked In profile with your membership. If you have an opportunity to be part of an industry directory, this may provide a valuable link to your website and improve your website authority.

Pick a consistent way to stay connected whether though monthly meetings, networking events, or education. Look for opportunities to contribute, for example, write a blog post or an article for the newsletter.

Be Active in Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Joining a chamber of commerce is a great networking, marketing, credibility, and money saving opportunity for small businesses. Your chamber of commerce most likely provides classes and partnership opportunities, and may provide leads groups and other connection options. Find a regular way to connect so you can get to know people. Some chambers are having zoom networking and education sessions.

In addition to networking, chamber membership adds weight to your name and makes customers more likely to purchase from your business because you are involved in a credible association. Look into opportunities to market your business through social media, events, or advertising. And consider offering a member discount to other businesses in the organization. Building local relationships is a great way to increase awareness and referrals in the community, and tap into experts you may want to add to your small business team.

Utilize the Small Business Administration
Most likely, you have heard of the Small Business Administration, however, have you taken full advantage of their services and resources? The SBA provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise and is a helpful go-to resource for small businesses. Connect with your local office for answers to questions and guidance on SBA programs and resources.

Checkout the SBA website to find financial program information on Corona Virus relief, the status of the PPP program, disaster relief, and more. In addition, the SBA website has a business planning section and courses to help you plan and grow your small business.

Find a Lawyer Before You Need One
If you are just setting up your business, you may want a lawyer to consult on business formation, contracts, leases, or other agreements. And, depending on the kind of work you do, you may want to identify a lawyer with experience in your industry, for example, construction projects, or healthcare.

A lawyer can help you:

-Protect your business from litigation
-Incorporate your business
-Sell your business
-Create partnership agreements
-Advise you on human resource situations

While many business owners find template legal agreements and opinions online, don’t risk your business. Find a lawyer before you need one, so you’ll have expert help when you need it.

Get Assistance from an Accountant

An accountant will not only help support your business goals but can also help reduce errors, improve planning, and reduce financial management expense. Get assistance from an accountant with critical aspects of your finances, including:

-Tax Planning
-Statement Preparation

Make sure your finances are in order so you can have an accurate financial picture, make sound decisions, and have peace of mind.

T. Williams and Associates is devoted to helping small businesses experience financial success by providing friendly, professional support at reasonable rates. If you have accounting questions, or would like to learn more about our accounting services, contact us for a free consultation, we’d love to be on your small business team.

Budget Guide for Starting Your Business

budget guide

For all stages of business growth, it’s important to track income and expenses and maintain a budget to accurately track the amount of cash on hand. But we often hear from new business owners that they don’t know how to set up a budget or create projections for their business.  In this guide, we will explain some common budgeting terms, highlight a few tips for planning budget and income projections, and explain some tools that can help you achieve your goals.

Track All  Income Sources – Most businesses have multiple streams of income. For example, your income may include, online sales, monthly contracts, and one-time projects. Or you may sell products through wholesale and retail channels. As an owner, it’s important to understand which products and services are making money.

Organizing services/sectors of a business in terms of revenue will help you understand the big revenue picture and dig into trends by product or service type, and year-over-year performance. For example, a landscaping service might have current year revenue growth, but flat or decreasing revenue in their most profitable service.

By looking at income details, you’ll also see the areas of the business that are experiencing growth so you can ramp up in that area. Once you have a good current year picture, estimate income based on projected growth for future years. Next let’s consider fixed costs.

Plan Fixed Costs – Not all expenses will fit into the same category. Fixed costs are expenses that do not change with an increase or decrease in the amount of goods/services produced or sold. Some examples of fixed costs may include: rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, internet, work/cell phones, and accounting services. Reviewing past bank statements is a good way to create an initial list of fixed costs.

Consider whether fixed costs increase at some point due to product/service growth. For example, will you need to hire another person? And, don’t forget to create a fixed cost category to build an emergency fund. Once you have estimated fixed costs, the next step is to predict your variable costs.

Predict Variable costs– Variable costs are expenses that increase or decrease depending on the amount or goods or services sold. Some examples of variable expenses include, raw materials, direct labor costs, marketing costs, and transportation. Reviewing the costs needed for your business to sell a product or service, is a good way to start estimating variable costs for your budget.

Use your variable cost information to project expenses for the future based on your income growth projections. Consider whether some unit costs, e.g., raw materials, may decrease with greater volume due to purchase discounts.

Consider One-Time Purchases – Every business will have to allocate funds for purchases that aren’t fixed or variable. These are considered one-time purchases and planning these expenses can make or break a business. One-time purchases include items such as computers, software, and equipment. Businesses can plan these expenses by tracking equipment and other major purchases and predicting the timeframe for upgrades and new items the business will need as it expands. Constantly evaluating this category of expenses will help you build a budget that minimizes surprise expenses.

Building income and expense projections enables you to better track and manage your finances. There are also a variety of tools and apps that can help business owners create projections and track their budget for free.

Budgeting Tools

–Score’s Projection Spreadsheet will help you forecast income and expenses in an excel spreadsheet.

–Personal Capital is an app that provides a view of your financial accounts while also making suggestions for users. These suggestions include nudging investors into saving for long-term subsidiaries such as 401ks and college saving plans.

–Mint is another app that can be useful for business owners. Mint focuses on monthly budgets, evaluates spending and evaluates credit card debt. These features allow owners to stick to their budgets and allows owners to constantly evaluate spending habits.

— Credit Karma offers access to credit reports and also offers an explanation about your credit score and gives examples of how your credit score can affect loans, credit cards and other services.

These are just a few free tools that owners can use to improve their results and stay on top of their budgets. Wherever you are in your income and expense planning, we are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation.

How to Plan a Marketing Campaign without a Marketing Team

Small Business Marketing

Whether you are launching a new product or service, or simply looking to  revamp your brand image, it is important to have well planned marketing campaign strategy. Without a background in marketing or an expert on your team, it may seem intimidating to create a marketing campaign. However, we have created a short list of steps for you to start your journey to developing a successful marketing campaign.

Determine Your Goals
When developing a plan, use the S.M.A.R.T acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) to determine how to measure your marketing campaign. Are you looking to gain a following? Maybe you want to promote your product and create brand awareness, or increase sales and revenue?

Whatever your end goal, document the goal, the timeframe, and how you’ll measure success; i.e., leads, website traffic, followers. Validate the goals and get input from team members who are involved in planning or executing the next steps.

Select a Target Audience
Most likely, your business already has a target audience that resonates with your brand. Your target audience is defined by demographics such as age, location, gender, education, employment, hobbies, and other characteristics including behavior, and purchase history.

Are you targeting loyal customers, new customers, or those who haven’t purchased in a while? Consider breaking your larger audience into segments so you can make unique offers for each audience segment.

Develop a clear message
Maybe you are launching a new service, product, or aiming to highlight what your business already offers. Make sure your campaign messages address the unique problems your demographic may face. When planning your campaign, develop content that resonates with the stage your audience is in. If you are creating brand awareness, create content that is clear and introduces who you are. If you are connecting with current consumers, make sure they are aware of why they should upgrade to your new product or service. Regardless of what your S.M.A.R.T goals are, it is imperative that your campaign conveys a cohesive call to action and guides the customer to a response.

Pick Channels & Determine Campaign Budget
When deciding on how to reach an intended audience, take a moment to consider your goals and marketing campaign budget. If you are working on a tight budget, consider an online campaign.

Take time to research digital campaign options which might include, display ads, reaching out to influencers, promoting your blog, or implementing other digital methods to spread your message. Depending on your audience and budget, it may be beneficial to include traditional print, mail, television, radio, or local advertising.

Monitor and Modify
Based on campaign goals, establish ways to monitor results. For instance, you may measure your success based on organic websites visits, the number of sales you obtain, or simply the number of email addresses you collect. Regardless of what your method of defining success is, make sure to watch these metrics throughout the duration of your campaign. If you are not receiving the results you desire, consider adjusting the messaging, delivery, or offers in your marketing campaign.

The Key to a Great Marketing Plan is to Be Consistent
Similar to exercising, you will not be able to clearly see results immediately. Once your campaign has run its course, take the time to analyze your results and apply what worked to your next campaign. In order to see the full benefits of your marketing, continue to create marketing materials and measure their success. Marketing is all about learning and connecting with individuals, so remember to be consistent and intentional with your campaigns.

T. Williams & Associates is devoted to helping small business experience financial success by providing friendly, professional support at reasonable rates. Let us know how we can help.