Religious institutions face unique - and also common - challenges when it comes to finances and managing expenses. Over the past decade-plus, we’ve helped a variety of religious institutions automate their expense processes and focus on the mission that they love.
Recently, Webexpenses went on-site to a local Austin church for the last phase of their Implementation, the user training. They had turned to our expense app to improve budget visibility and efficacy of their non-profit resources. Here’s how it went:
To start automating church expenses
The Implementation process began by configuring the system to address the challenges that prevented the church from operating efficiently.
For example, their current process required them to use paper forms and receipts to submit their expenses for reimbursement. The finance team then saved that paper trail in boxes. Webexpenses was about to automate this and store everything in the cloud.
For this team, ease-of-use was a priority. Their users encompass all ages and technological backgrounds. To prepare, their dedicated account manager spoke with the church’s finance team to ensure the system setup would be straight-forward and intuitive for all users.
For example, familiar general ledger (GL) codes and clear naming conventions for drop-downs were created.
Addressing unique financial challenges
In addition to eliminating boxes of receipts, the church had a number of tasks they were looking to improve such as budgeting, spend visibility, lost receipts, expense tracking and reimbursements for both staff and non-staff.
As a large religious institution, a specific challenge for this church was the method of information delivery. Expense reports were being sent by dozens of users via a variety of sources. With Webexpenses, approvers and accounting teams can access everything - including expenses awaiting approval - in one place, with a single account.
Another specific financial challenge, which tends to target not-for-profits, involves the abundance of volunteer work. With that in mind, there are a number of benefits that Webexpenses provides when it comes to non-staff.
So, what are they?
At the onset, volunteers can use the app to submit expenses rather than learning policies and processes that are specific to that institution. It includes custom policy compliance built into the system, which can be automatically enforced.
This simplified the experience for both staff and non-staff.
Secondly, tracking the spending of volunteers who work for short periods of time throughout the year can be complicated - and sometimes inaccurate. For the finance team, our expense management software provides an easy way for them to keep a close eye on volunteer reimbursements and different spend categories. In turn, it provides better control, visibility, and forecasting.
When it comes to volunteers, Webexpenses pricing structure is also beneficial. Clients are only charged for active users. So what does this mean for volunteers?
It means that non-staff who work only during summer months can stay inactive in the system for free. Then, all of the user information will remain in the system, but the organization will not be charged for that user until said user becomes active again the following summer.
As an added pricing bonus, Webexpenses provides a not-for-profit discount.
Hands-on, in-house user training
With all of these pieces in place, the church was ready for Webexpenses’ user training. Now, since this particular church was close to our downtown Austin (TX) office, their implementation process went hands-on.
Two members from the Webexpenses team made arrangements to provide a face-to-face learning experience for the church staff. The training was provided for Administrators and Users independently. Each training session lasted approximately an hour. It was a walk-thru of tasks specific to their use cases. Plus, intermittent questions and a closing Q&A.
To wrap up the training, attendees were reminded that Webexpenses support is available 24-hours a day to administrators, users, and volunteers. So even once our team left the grounds, we were still there to help!
Overall, automated expenses will benefit the church by replacing manual efforts, and thus giving back time and valuable non-profit resources to spend on their community.