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Expense Guides

The next few paragraphs provide general guidelines and a framework for the good management of expenses within an institution. Ultimately your financial decisions are between you, God and the leader. I do, however, pray these few notes will help you. 

 

Word of caution, please refer to the Tax liabilities rules and regulations which are available from your local Tax authority for your locality. Also Seek advice before changing your rules and regulations especially from your local Tax authority.

When dealing with finances within a church or any institution please take note that you are handling other people's money which they have given in good faith. They have provided you with this finance, which they can ill afford, and they expect the best from you, please be a good steward.

 

Expenses

Expenses provided by a church should not be seen as another form of income from those who claim it; shame on you if you do. Those who need to make a claim should never be out of pocket and they should be encouraged to make that claim. Those who are full of pride say they do not require re-imbursement this forces others who can ill afford the cost to do the same and this then causes anyone making a claim to feel guilty. This has major consequences for the management of finances. If you do not offer to pay for items and expenses how can you discover how much it costs to run your organization? Those who cannot afford the cost of ministry then walk away from the activity and this causes ministry within the church to stutter and falter. Those who do not want re-imbursement can always give the money back in the offertory and no one needs to know.

Fuel Expenses

When traveling short distances it makes sense to have a mileage allowance. The Baptist Union for example publishes a detailed set of regulations and provide a maximum figure that can be used before incurring Tax. This is a maximum figure and it should never be automatically assumed that this figure should be used. A generous two thirds should be considered as a subsidy.

 

When traveling long distances to a conference or an event which is over 80/100 miles/kilometres away, then the hiring of a vehicle and the purchase of fuel rather than a mileage allowance is much more financially sustainable behaviour and this does not incur any Tax liabilities on those who claim. Negotiate with your local car dealer to get the best return.

If you have invited someone who has to travel some distance to get to you, across country for instance, it may be more cost effective to provide a hire car and the purchase of fuel rather than the mileage allowance, or why not pick them up or arrange some other form of transport. Other forms of travel should be investigated such as train or air travel, and the cost differences considered.

Accommodation

If you have visiting speakers and they require accommodation negotiate with your local hotel for the best deal that you can and ensure that the speaker is provided for this includes food and drink as required (breakfast, lunch and evening meals). Be generous for they are visiting on behalf of the Lord and deserve your hospitality.

Fees for Speaking

How much do you value the Lord's word? Do you value those who are speaking on His behalf and do they bring that which is of value? Poor speaking may not be worth a fee and you should tell those who speak poorly if they are worth their hire, you can offer expenses instead - being nice does nothing for the souls who are under your leadership. Excellence is our goal and not mediocrity, we can, however, be generous to those who are beginning their ministry and encourage them to strive to do better. The fee is set by you and please ensure you visit it each year so you can maintain its value, Never differentiate between those who are ordained and those who are lay.

 

To help you calculate the cost of speaking:

On average it takes 10 hours per exposition of God word to prepare.

The average length of the service

Minimum wage

Fee given = (10 hours preparation time + length of service) * minimum wage

** 2020/2021 - Average cost of speaker for a service £100 plus expenses **

Computers and Printing

A church today requires a computer and internet access. Those who perform many hours of work at a computer, the pastor, youth worker, treasurer and secretary are in need of a desktop PC and most likely a laptop or tablet as well. Those who require access to computer technology should not be expected to provide and use their own resources:-

1. Following the purchase of a computer (which can be a desktop, laptop and a tablet) you should expect to budget to replace a desktop every 5 years, laptops every 4 and a tablet 3 years.

2. Printers: for small print runs you can use an inkjet, if it is mainly black and white output a small laser will be far more cost effective. Laser printers for larger print runs or heavy duty printing, if you have a photocopier; print then photocopy

3. Make sure you standardized on one make and model so consumables are interchangeable and this means you can buy items in bulk which will be more cost effective

4. Stationery supplies: a church should have a central repository of stationery, ink and toner cartridges, batteries and paper, purchasing in bulk has many advantages. Discourage the purchase of one offs if you can, unless it is an emergency

5. Those who prefer to use their own resources should seek to purchase items at the lowest cost available - Staples and Viking Direct are good suppliers do not use local supermarkets or newsagents as they are rarely cost effective.

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