When we think of Christian entrepreneurs going forth and achieving great things for God's Kingdom, bookkeeping is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, it doesn't take long for a leader to discover how important it is to have reliable, accurate financial information to be a good steward of what God has provided.
As you navigate your vision and mission, good financial books are the roadmap that shows where you have been, where you are now, and where you want to be at a future date by budgeting and cash flow forecasting. In Luke 14:28, Jesus mentioned the importance of bookkeeping and budgeting when he said, "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?" If that tower is your start-up, then you need to know what financial resources you have and what you will need in the future to succeed in meeting your goals. As the saying goes, "If you fail to plan then you plan to fail."
It was actually a Christian monk named Luca Pacioli, a friend of Leonardo DaVinci, who in the Fifteenth Century invented our modern system of double-entry bookkeeping for accounting. In a sense, the accounting methods we practice today is a product of the Christian Church, so it is not a foreign concept for a Christian entrepreneur to make good accounting a priority in his or her ministry or Gospel-oriented business. In several ways, non-profit accounting is more complex than for-profit accounting, because it often involves fund accounting for unrestricted and restricted funds. For 501(c)(3) non-profits, the Federal government requires the annual filing of Form 990, which calls for your expenses to be broken out into functional expenses consisting of administrative expenses, fundraising expenses, and program related expenses. The more complex your organization becomes, the more vital it is to have a good grasp of where you stand for each fund and have the information correct for Federal compliance reporting.
Investing in your start-up's bookkeeping is part of being a good steward of the resources that God has provided for you to carry out His work. Find and outsource to a trusted bookkeeping professional who can give you accurate and reliable information about the state of your finances. Make sure that person or firm has a passion for serving our Lord by serving those who have answered the call to spread the Gospel in a world that needs to hear and know it. I am privileged to serve a number of Christian ministries and businesses by providing affordable, outsourced bookkeeping. I am particularly blessed to have FiveTwo Network as a client and to see the exciting work it is doing to help Christian start-ups bring positive change to people's lives by introducing people to the loving grace of Jesus Christ.
Mifflin Dove Jr. is the managing member of Dove Bookkeeping LLC in Katy, Texas, a Christian bookkeeping practice that serves both nonprofit organizations and businesses using state-of-the-art, cloud-based bookkeeping tools.