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Noel D.Tallon, CPA, PC

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Here is how the numbers work 1 - 1 = 0.  It is that simple.

Let's suppose for the sake of argument that the Elders set your budget at $25,000 per week.  Your members step up and contribute exactly that much.  That is $1,300,000 for the year.

Let's also assume that your Elders budget to spend exactly that $1,300,000.

Now also assume that your A/C has a major breakdown that costs $25,000.  Where will that money come from?  Some might say that they will go back to the congregation and ask for help.  Or you might have budgeted some for just such an event.  Or go back to the Deacons and tell them everyone is being cut 2%.

It has been my experience that these kinds of things happen pretty often and you can't continuously go back asking for more money.  See the answer to this dilemma below.

Budget Limitations
Rule number 1 is no one can exceed their budget line item under any circumstances. No exceptions.  

AND budgets do not carryover to subsequent years.    We start every year new.

Rule number 2 is if some major special need comes up and you just have to exceed your budget refer to rule number 1.

If you think this is unfair and the world is coming to an end go to your Elder and have him bring it up before the Eldership for approval and they can treat it like the A/C breakdown but even then this should be a rare situation.  The real answer to this is to plan ahead and make sure your expenses are going to be covered with what you request.

How does this create a cash surplus?
My favorite college football coach used to say, "There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass and only one of them is good."

Well there are three things that can happen with a budget and I think only one of them is good.  You can be over.  You can be directly on.  Or you can be under.

If you eliminate over as I have suggested above, that leaves the other 2.  How often do you think someone is going to be directly on their budget.  Some will but most will be at least some under.

At Mayfair, we have roughly 100 budget areas.  Suppose they average being only $100 under for the year each.  That is 100 x $100 = $10,000.  Voila a surplus.

Congregational Support
This is only conjecture on my part but I think that if you manage the money well and the congregation knows it, they will support you.  Regardless of political beliefs, pretty much everyone would say that our economy has been in shambles for the last few years.  At Mayfair we have exceeded our budget in all of the last four.  This is in spite of a number of special contributions ranging from $25,000-145,000.

I would like to say here that rule number 1 is there aren't any.  But we do have to be fair.

What is a carryover?  A carryover is a situation where we do allow a deacon to carryover an amount to be used in a subsequent year.

There are only two kinds of carryovers we allow.

We have a hard and fast rule that if you have an activity for which you solicit donations or participant reimbursement (like a mission trip), you spend the collected money first.  Let me emphasize that.  You spend the collected money first.  The only way you can carryover funds to a future year from this is if you collected more than you spent (without regard to budget).

The one other situation in which we allow a carryover is when a donor or activity participant specifies the amount paid as applying to something that will occur in the future.  We have to respect the donor's wishes.