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What's the Catch?

How can you make your product available at such a low price? I guess I should not be so skeptical, but I must use our resources in a way that God would be pleased.
    Your skepticism is understandable. However, our low price is for real. There are no hidden extra costs.
    We make our money from the software we sell to profit-making companies, not churches. We price CCS just high enough to cover expenses. CCS expenses are low because we have a lot of experience creating easy-to-use software, so we get very few questions from our users. Also, we use e-mail to answer the questions that we do get, which is more economical than telephone support.

Installing and Registering the Program

How do I install the program on a network?
    If you have a local area network, you can install the program and data files on your Host/Server computer so that they will be accessible from any workstation on the network (one workstation at a time).
    Then run the Workstation Installer program at each workstation that needs to access the program.
    NOTE: If two workstations try to use the program at the same time, the second one will get a message explaining that the program is already in use.

Our church computer is not connected to the internet. Is it permissible to download the trial edition to my personal computer and then save it to a disc to load on the church computer?

Chart of Accounts Setup

How do I determine the beginning balances when I start using the program?
    Determine how much money is in the bank as of the day you start using the program. Set up bank account(s) with that amount as the beginning balance. Divide that amount among the various funds so that the total beginning balances of bank accounts and funds will be equal.

We have separate bank accounts for various purposes. Should we also set up a Fund for each one?
    Many churches have multiple bank accounts simply because their accounting system doesn't provide a way to track Fund balances and Bank Accounts balances separately. Here are some examples of how CCS lets you track them separately.
    Multiple Bank Accounts with one Fund Let's say you have a General Operating fund for day-to-day operations, with the money in a checking account. One type of day-to-day expense would be payroll. If you use a payroll service that writes most payroll checks for you, you might need to have a separate payroll checking account just for payroll. However, there could be some payroll-related expenses that you need to pay from the regular checking account. CCS let's you do this without creating a separate payroll fund. Reports will show all payroll-related expenses under the payroll accounts in the General Operating fund, regardless of which checking account was used.
    Multiple Funds with one Bank Account You might also have several endowments, and need to keep running balances for each one separately. Added together, the amount of these endowments might qualify for a CD with a generous interest rate. Rather than have separate CD's just to keep the balances separate, and miss out on the high interest rate, you can assign each endowment to a separate fund, but use the same bank account. CCS automatically keeps track of the balance for each endowment, as well as the balance in the CD.
    Although neither of these examples may apply to your church, you can probably think of other reasons for keeping track of funds and bank accounts separately. As you design your chart of accounts, here are two clues that youíre not using CCS the way it was intended:
    1) The fund name includes the name of a bank or words such as "Checking" or "Savings". Instead, it should describe the purpose of the funds, not the location.
    2) The bank account name includes the word "Fund", such as "Building Fund Account". Instead, it should include the name of the bank, and if there's more than one account at that bank, the account number or other identifying information.

We canít decide when to use an Account, when to use a Fund, and when to use Notes.
    CCS allows you to track transactions in three ways.
    First, Funds are used to track balances from year to year. Each fund normally has a separate set of payment and receipt accounts. Here are some example funds:
  • a multi-year renovation project;
  • missions;
  • a bequest that stipulates how the money must be spent;
  • an endowment that cannot be spent at allóonly the interest can be spent.
    By separating the church's money into FUNDS, you are making a commitment to spend the money a certain way. The money in the GENERAL OPERATING fund is committed to day-to-day expenses. The money in the ENDOWMENT funds will be left in the bank to earn interest. The money in the BUILDING fund will eventually be spent on a new or renovated building. The money in the MISSION fund will be spent to help others. If priorities change, new funds can be created, and money can be moved from one fund to another. You always know how much money is left in each fund.
    Second, Payment and Receipt Accounts are intended to be used to track the type of expenditure or receipt (such as postage or Sunday offering) in greater detail. Each fund has its own set of accounts. Generally, there is no correlation between different funds' payment and receipt accounts. The amount that goes into or out of an account is normally accumulated for only a year at a time.
    Payment Accounts involve expectations for the coming year, as reflected in the budget. Funds involve a commitment that can continue year after year. Because the donors or the church members have stipulated that a certain amount of money is to be spent in a certain way, setting up a fund helps you insure that the commitment will eventually be met. Budgets, on the other hand, always start over at the beginning of each year.
    Third, Notes can be assigned to any transaction, regardless of fund or account. The Frequently-used Notes report will show you the net of receipts minus payments for whatever period of time you specify, even if it spans more than one fiscal year.

    Example of Frequently-used Notes:
    Some churches have different committees or divisions in charge of certain expenditures. For example, the Music Committee may be responsible for what is spent to purchase music as well as the choir directorís salary. CCS helps you keep track of such multiple-account categories using transaction Notes.
    In the above example you would probably set up the Choir Director account under a category called Payroll. Obviously, music purchases would not be part of this category. But then how would you see the total music-related expenditures? Thatís where Notes can be used. If you enter Music Committee in the Notes column of any music-related transactions, youíll be able to see how much was spent for music-related activities.
    Notes donít have to be used for committees. They can be used for projects, programs, or anything else that doesnít warrant a separate Fund or Account. However, if you need to carry the balance over from year to year, you should set up a Fund instead.

Account Type: Fund Notes Accounts
Can have sub-accounts Yes No Yes
Balance carried from year to year Yes No No
Totals can span multiple years No Yes No

Can I continue to use my old numbering system? Iíve gotten used to the code numbers.
    Let's say your current chart of accounts is based on a three-digit numbering system like this:
411 Pledge Income 
412 Loose Offerings 
413 Miscellaneous Offerings
421 Interest
422 Weddings
423 Facilities Rental
    You have probably been typing 412 when entering Loose Offerings, and 421 when entering Interest. When you set up the CCS Receipts accounts, put your old numbers as the first part of the description, as follows:
Code  Description
----- -----------
30    41-OFFERINGS 
30 25 1-Pledge Income
30 50 2-Loose Offerings
30 75 3-Miscellaneous Offerings 
60    42-OTHER INCOME 
60 25 1-Interest 
60 50 2-Weddings 
60 75 3-Facilities Rental
    Now, for Loose Offerings, when you get to the Category column, enter "41", and when you get to the Account column enter "2".

Can I set up additional current assets, such as pre-paid expenses?
    No. Although large corporations need to know about expenses that are paid in advance, keeping track of them in a small church is more trouble than its worth. Itís more important to keep track of when payments are due and whether theyíre within budget.
    Letís say you pay $300 at the beginning of each quarter for insurance. Current Assets on the January Balance Sheet will reflect the $300 that was paid out, but it won't indicate that $200 was actually an advance payment for February and March. The fact that insurance companies usually bill quarterly, while churches usually produce a balance sheet monthly, means the budget needs to reflect that. Instead of budgeting $100 for insurance every month, budget $300 every three months.

Our pre-school records are kept on a school-year basis, but our church records are kept on a calendar-year basis. Is it possible to have a separate fund for the school, and close it out based on the fiscal year?
    No. The balance sheet produced by CCS is not fund-specific, so all funds must have the same fiscal year. However, you can install the program more than once on the same computer (if you purchased a registration code for the computer). Then you can use one program for the church and the other for the school.

When I make a correction to a transaction in a prior year, why donít the current yearís beginning balances get changed automatically?
    The program keeps each year separate so that you can change the chart of accounts each year as needed. While most General Operating accounts wonít change from year to year, funds will probably be added and removed from time to time. If you change something in a prior year that affects a fund which doesnít exist in the current year, the program would have no way of knowing which fund to change in the current year.
    Any time you make a change to the prior year you should print new end-of-year activity reports and adjust this yearís beginning balances accordingly. If you had already distributed reports created before the change, make sure everyone gets updated copies.

Do you think Youth Ministry should be a separate Fund?
    Youth Ministry may or may not need its own fund. If money is donated specifically for Youth Ministry, and all of it won't be spent in the current fiscal year, then having a separate fund is a good way to keep track of the balance from year to year. On the other hand, if the finance committee decides how much should be spent in the coming year, regardless of what might not have been spent last year, then you can use the budgeting feature. The Operating Statement will always show you how much is available in the budget.

Weíre collecting donations to repair the steeple, but we will also need to use some money from the regular offerings. How should we track it?
    This is a good example of something that should have its own fund. This will allow you to easily track how much has been donated and how much has been spent without having to open a separate bank account. You may need only one Receipt category, perhaps with two accounts: Donations and Transfers (to record what you transfer from the General Operating Fund). If you hold some special fund-raising activities, you can create additional accounts. For Payments, the number of accounts will depend on the amount of detail shown on the bills you will be paying. If things like labor and supplies will be paid separately to various people, you'll want more accounts than if you will simply be paying a flat fee to the contractor.

Payments and Receipts

Why do I sometimes need to enter the decimal point and other times not?
    When entering contribution or pledge amounts, which are usually whole dollars, you donít need to enter the decimal point unless cents are involved. For other transactions, just enter the amount including the cents (even if itís 00). It wonít hurt to enter the decimal point, but itís not necessary.

How should reimbursements be handled?
    Sometimes employees or members use their own money to purchase church supplies and then get reimbursed. Other times, someone may use church-owned supplies for personal use and then reimburse the church.
    If the church is being reimbursed, you can either enter a Receipt or a negative Payment. The reason you might do the latter is to get a truer picture of church-related expenses. For example, if people reimburse the church for personal use of the photocopy machine, you can enter those reimbursements as negative payments under Copier Expenses rather than create and track a Receipts account called Copier Reimbursements.
    If desired, you can have the program remind you that reimbursement is expected by entering Accounts Payable or Accounts Receivable transactions.

We just bought and paid for some new furniture. Should we enter a Payment or an Asset?
    If you print Balance Sheets, you should enter a Fixed Asset as well as a Payment. In the Fixed Asset window, enter the amount you paid minus any shipping costs as the Original Value. Enter the same amount as the Current Value unless you think itís worth more or less than you paid. In the Payment window, enter the total amount you paid. You can also fill in the A or L Category and Account columns so that transaction lists and detail reports will show that information. Donít enter anything in the Principle column.

I have some people who purchase/pay for goods or services for the church, obtain receipts and want to donate that amount to the church. How do I set up non-cash contributions so that the member is given credit at the end of the year, but my cash reports are not over-reporting the contributions?
    Let's say someone purchased Sunday School supplies. If you record this transaction as both a purchase and a donation, your cash reports will be in balance. You won't be over-reporting contributions since this was indeed a contribution. You'll also have a more accurate record of Sunday School expenses.
    But what bank account do you use, since no money was actually deposited? We recommend that you set up a special "bank account" for this purpose. If you already have a Petty Cash account you can use that.
    Keep in mind that this only applies to things that were purchased on behalf of the church. If members purchase things for themselves and later decide to donate them, they're considered non-cash contributions. You can give them a receipt, but it should not include any dollar value.

Is there a way to split a transaction among different accounts. For example if I enter a check for $100, is there way to split it so $50 goes to one and the other $50 goes to another.
    Yes, you can have a check that consists of multiple transactions. In your example, you would enter two $50 transactions with the same date, bank, payee and check number. (The easiest way to do this is to enter the first transaction, click the REPLICATE button, and then change the account of the second transaction.)
    Now, when you click the CHECK button (Payments) or the PAY button (Accounts Payable), both transactions will be listed. Whenever you have multiple transactions with the same date, bank, payee and check number, they will be combined into a single check for printing and reconciling the bank statement.


How do I move money between bank accounts or between funds?
    It's important to realize that CCS Funds and Bank Accounts are two different ways of keeping track of the same money. You can have a fund's money in more than one bank account, and the money in a bank account can include all or part of one or more funds.
    If you transfer money between funds that are in the same bank account, you should create a Fund Transfer. If you transfer a single Fund's money between two bank accounts, you should create a Bank Transfer. However, if you transfer money from Fund 'A' in Bank 'X' to Fund 'B' in Bank 'Y', you must create a Fund Transfer and a Bank Transfer. This might seem like double work, but we think it's worth it because you're able to track funds and bank accounts separately.

Does the CCS program comply with GAAP?
    There are no Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) specifically for churches. However, those for non-profit organizations require that restricted donations be tracked separately in order to insure that they are used as the donor intended. You should set up appropriate Funds to keep track of these donations.

How do I track depreciation?
    Businesses that pay income tax deduct the amount that their assets depreciate each year as depreciation expense, using formulas approved by the government. These formulas only provide an approximation of what an asset is actually worth at any given timeóand they donít account for assets that appreciate, such as land. Because you donít pay income tax, you donít have to use government-approved formulas. You can periodically determine the current value of your assets and enter the amounts in the Fixed Assets setup window. Otherwise, the Balance Sheet will not give a true picture of the churchís financial health.

Why does the Operating Statement include the principle portion of loan payments and the purchase price of assets? Those arenít really expenses, are they?
    No, thatís why we call them payments rather than expenses. Businesses pay income tax on profit (income minus expenses), so they need an Operating Statement that only includes expenses. Our Operating Statement is geared to church members who want to see where the money came from and where it went. Those who are interested in the church's net worth can see it on the Balance Sheet.

Whatís the difference between cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting?
    Cash-basis accounting means that you only enter transactions as money is spent or received. Letís say today the plumber submitted a bill for $500. for work he has completed, but you wonít be paying it until next month. If youíre on a cash basis, you wonít enter a transaction until you pay the bill next month.
    Accrual-basis accounting means you keep track of future obligations. You would enter the $500. plumbing bill today as an Accounts Payable transaction, so that it will be included as part of the short-term liabilities on this monthís Balance Sheet. When you pay the bill next month you would post it to Payments.
    Most small churches prefer cash-basis accounting because it is less complicated. If you donít have significant obligations that span more than one month, you probably donít need to use the accrual method. If you have a major obligation (such as a mortgage), you can track it as a liability--but still treat other obligations on a cash basis.
    If you decide to use the accrual method, keep in mind that not all money you expect to spend or receive is an obligation. For example, pledges are expectations but not obligations, so they donít go in Accounts Receivable. If you plan to have the boiler repaired, itís not an obligation until the work is actually done and the bill is submitted. Expectations can be still be tracked, but via budgeting rather than Payables or Receivables.
    If you use the cash method, you can still use the Accounts Payable journal (to keep track of bills so that the program will remind you to pay them). When printing the Balance Sheet, un-check the box that says Include payables and receivables.

Does the Balance Sheet show the short-term portion of long-term liabilities as Current Liabilities?
    If you enter at least the next twelve months of payments due on a long-term liability into the Accounts Payable journal, twelve months of interest will be included on the Balance Sheet (as Accounts Payable under Current Liabilities). The principle portion will be shown in the Summary of Payables and Receivables that is printed with the Balance Sheet. Donít forget to specify the principle amount when entering transactions.

Does the program print W-2 forms?
    No. However, it produces a report with the information you need to fill out W-2 forms. If you have fewer than 20 employees on your payroll, you can print W-2 forms from the Social Security website.

Does the program include payroll withholding tax tables?
    No. You need to look up the withholding amounts for each employee. However, it calculates the amount of employer match and how much tax to pay.

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