Church Accounting: 5 Key Features of an Expense Management Platform


When it comes to expense management, it is extremely important for church leaders to balance necessary financial logistics with responsibilities to their members.


While it’s essential to enable employees and volunteers to make purchases for church functions and events, church leaders also need to maintain accountability and control over how funds are used. To make tight budgets work, those in charge need to carefully plan and manage expenses through accurate expense reporting. But the process of dealing with reimbursements, petty cash transactions and lost receipts can be time-consuming, and a church leader’s time is at a premium.


Some churches rely on petty cash for routine transactions, but this can be hard to keep track of, and is impractical for larger purposes. Credit cards may seem like an effective solution, but they introduce the possibility of over-limit fees or missed payments – and you may not want all employees and volunteers to have access to your line of credit.


Expense management platforms make it possible to streamline the reporting process, control spending and focus on building your church’s community. Prepaid cards require no credit approval process and offer straightforward, predictable pricing. You can immediately disburse funds without having to handle lots of cash or stress about your credit limit, and the church’s credit is protected, so you can issue funds with confidence. 


Below are a few key tools and benefits to look for as you evaluate which platform best fits the needs and goals of your church.


1. Anytime, anywhere access. 

Whichever expense management platform you choose should be able to keep up with on-the-fly purchases, from mission trips to unexpected event needs. Look for cloud-based reporting tools that allow you to access and manage funds 24/7, wherever you are – making it easier to track travel expenses and quickly adapt to the needs of your employees and volunteers.


2. The Benefits of Prepaid Cards.

Prepaid cards are flexible, as you can easily add or remove funds from cards. Some platforms allow you to adjust balances in real-time or approve unforeseen expenses via text message. You can also select an automatic refill for each month for more routine transactions, such as picking up refreshments between services. Make sure you select a prepaid card that’s commonly accepted by vendors and merchants.


3. Spending amounts and categories limits.

Clear, established limits on spending amounts and categories allow you to oversee expenses without micromanaging every purchase. Expense management platforms allow you to control where employees and volunteers can use your funds. The process is as simple as checking “yes” on gas and “no” on retail. The extra layer of accountability for your staff prevents spend abuse and fraud, without preventing them from doing their jobs.


Cloud-based tools with real-time tracking offer transparency, so your employees and volunteers have a better idea of what they’re spending and can self-regulate their purchases. This leads to better expense report accuracy, which can help you develop a stronger budget to advance your church. If you want to connect expenses to specific projects and events, some platforms allow users to make digital notes on each of their purchases.


4. Reimbursements are a thing of the past.

The reimbursement process can be complicated and inefficient. Asking volunteers to use their own money upfront puts an unnecessary strain on their finances, especially when the reimbursement process can take several weeks.


Prepaid cards with set limits provide a convenient way to transfer funds. Volunteers can serve the church wholeheartedly without worrying about stretching their finances, and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of reimbursement forms and lost receipts. 


5. Simplicity.

Any tools you add should make your job easier, not more complicated. The platform should be simple to navigate and should integrate with any existing financial software for seamless data entry.


Expense management platforms should offer a straightforward process for submitting and approving expense reports. You can then sort reports by individuals and departments to compare actual spending patterns to your budget, as well as look for discrepancies. 


PEX is a convenient expense management solution that combines all of the above capabilities. Our platform easily integrates with most accounting software, giving organizations the ability to enable employee and volunteer spending – all while having control in ways never before possible. With a next-generation platform like PEX, leaders can manage expenses efficiently and devote more time to building their church’s community.


Learn more about how PEX can help support your financial needs so you can focus on your mission.

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank (“Bank”).  Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

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