PowerChurch Software Newsletter - Year End 2010
This issue of the newsletter is being delivered a couple of weeks earlier than usual, so that we can pass along some reminders and tips for a successful year-end. The Tricks of the Trade section discusses all of the many different "year-end" type processes in PowerChurch Plus; some you may be aware of, some not. This will help you make a year-end checklist for yourself or others to help standardize your processes. The Feature Focus puts the spotlight on the Quick Tasks menu, which was a new feature back in Version 10 of the program. This will explain how to create your year-end checklist, or any other processes, as a group of shortcuts on the Quick Task menu.
We will resume our normal programming next quarter, so we will talk to you all again sometime in the spring. Until then, have a great holiday season and uneventful year-end processes!
December and January are your busiest months of the year. We know this because those are our busiest months of the year! Even if your organization runs on a fiscal year, rather than following the calendar year, there is still a lot that must be done at year-end.
It is a good idea to document your year-end processes, planning what needs to be done, who's going to do it all and how to do it. Before the madness begins, you should make a checklist. Save a copy somewhere so that you can refer to it next year when, hopefully, your processes will be a little more organized. Refer to the Feature Focus section of this newsletter to find out how to create this checklist using the Quick Tasks menu in Versions 10 and higher of PowerChurch Plus.
Year-end is not just something that affects people using the Accounting system in PowerChurch Plus. Of course, you will find a lot of things to do in Accounting at year-end, but there certainly is plenty to do in other areas as well.
Below is a list of things to consider keeping up with at year-end. Some are essential processes, others will help clean up the database and make your record keeping more agile.
- Inactive Profiles report. Run this report to view a list of people that were inactive (did not attend or contribute) in the previous year. This will help free up envelope numbers from your next envelope order, remove inactive people from the attendance roles, and reclassify or remove inactive people in Membership.
- Delete Old Attendance Data. Attendance data is one of the fatter areas of the PowerChurch Plus database. While the program deals well with large data files, certain reports and your backup size will benefit from deleting some of that old information that is no longer needed. There are some customers who have over twenty years of history in their PowerChurch Plus database.
- Contribution Statements. The most common year-end task is to send your contributors' receipts at the end of the year, for their income tax purposes. These can be printed and handed out face to face, folded and mailed, or sent to the contributors as PDF file attachments in e-mails.
- Next year's pledges. PowerChurch Plus features a "Year End Pledge Processing" utility in the Contributions menu. You can use this to make an exact copy of this year's pledges for the new year. If your pledges are similar enough from one year to the next, this may save some time. Otherwise, you would manually enter the new pledges into the Maintain Pledges screen under Contributions.
- Delete Old Contributions Data. Along with Attendance data, the Contributions history is one of the areas in the PowerChurch Plus database that will grow and grow and grow over time. You might decide to only keep a certain number of years history in the system. Year-end is a great time to delete some old information, after making a backup of course!
- Print W2s & 1099-MISC forms. PowerChurch Plus allows you to print off the W2 and W3 forms from Payroll and 1099-MISC forms from Accounts Payable. Both of these features require pre-printed forms. PowerChurch Plus will fill in the amounts in each box on the forms, according to the transactions that you have recorded in the software. Each generates a screen preview that allows you to look at the amounts and other information before printing. If you need to make any changes, do so directly on the screen preview prior to printing.
- Closing the month/year. Not since Version 9 was released in 2004 has there been an option to "Close the year" in PowerChurch Plus. You are also not forced to close months as you move forward in the Accounting system. You can have up to 18 months open at a time, meaning that you wouldn't have to close the month of December 2010 until you needed to post transactions into May 2012. This means you have a full year and a half to get your year-end numbers audited and approved.
- Year-end transactions. Once you have the year-end reports in hand, there may be some balances that need to be adjusted before posting anything into the new year. PowerChurch Plus Versions 9 and higher have a "Year End Transaction" designation that you can apply to transactions posted to the last month of your fiscal year. This means that you can take these year-end balance adjustments and "set them aside" from the regular monthly activity. Of course, your year-end financial statements will need to have the Year End Transactions included.
- Enter next year's budget. Depending on how efficient your organization is, you may have already entered next year's budget, or it might possibly be a few months into the future. In either case, year-end is a good time to double check that everything is up to date and generate the Annual Budget Worksheet to give to those who are in charge of budget planning.
- Delete Old Fund Accounting Data. While the Fund Accounting transaction history doesn't take up as much hard drive space as Attendance and Contributions data, it does "lock" accounts in place. If you were to plan a major overhaul of your Chart of Accounts, posted transaction history in your current accounts would make it impossible to delete an account. If you have something in your Chart of Accounts that has not been used in years, it may be time to clear out that history, allowing you full control of the accounts. This can't be mentioned enough: Don't ever delete anything from the system without first making a backup or two!
- Delete Old Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Payroll Data. We're starting to sound like a broken record, here, but there are also Delete Old Data utilities in Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Payroll! This is, again, not so much about saving storage space on the hard drive, as making reports run more quickly and "freeing up" those old, inactive vendors and customers.
- Update Tax Tables. The Payroll system in PowerChurch Plus does not automatically update the tax tables as changes are published. The tax tables are user-maintained. Just make a to-do item as part of your year-end process to get the latest state and federal tax documents and check to make sure everything is up to date. The PowerChurch web site has a walk-through document for each Federal and state tax table at www.powerchurch.com/support/pr/.
- Social Security changes for 2011. The IRS has changed the employee rate of Social Security for 2011 to 4.2%, while the employer rate stays at 6.2%. This means that for the first time in PowerChurch Plus, you will need two separate tax tables for Social Security; one for the employer liability at 6.2% and one for the employee deduction at 4.2%.
- Reschedule recurring events. When scheduling recurring events, the system asks how many iterations of the event you are wanting to schedule, or simply an ending date for the recurring event. Year-end is a great time to check up on next year's Event Calendar to make sure everything is up to date.
- Delete Old Events Data. We will spare you the repeated explanation here and just mention that there is a utility in Events to delete old data.
The Quick Tasks menu was added in Version 10 and is a customizable shortcut menu located along the left side of the PowerChurch Plus workspace. You can use this to create groups of shortcuts to things you do most frequently in the program. This article will walk you through the basics of customizing your Quick Tasks menu, and use the Year-End Checklist as an example of a new group of shortcuts to use.
If your Quick Tasks menu is in view, simply click the Customize button at the bottom to get started. If you don't see the Quick Tasks menu, go to Window > Quick Tasks, then click the Customize button at the bottom.
At the top left is a check box labeled "Start Quick Tasks when PowerChurch Plus starts". If this box is checked, then the Quick Tasks menu will automatically be opened and displayed when you start PowerChurch Plus.
Along the right side of this window, there are two list boxes. At the top is a list of "groups" and the one below shows the shortcuts that have been saved in the selected group. You can reorder the groups and shortcuts within the groups by clicking and dragging the gray boxes to the left of the list items.
To the left of the list of groups, you will find the Add, Delete and Edit buttons. These buttons are used to customize the list of defined task groups. To the left of the list of task shortcuts are Add and Delete buttons used to customize the list of task shortcuts in the selected group.
To add a new group, in this example the "Year End Tasks" group, click the Add New Task Group button. Enter "Year End Tasks" in the Description field, then click OK. You will see the new group at the bottom of the list of groups. To add a new task item to this group, we will need to examine the controls at the far left of the screen. In the Available Modules drop-down list, select which module your task is in. For this example, we will choose Contributions. In the Available Items box, choose Reports. This will change the list below to show a list of Contributions reports. Here, choose All Contribution Statements, then click the Add Item button. You will see the new item appear in the Tasks For Above Group list to the right. Repeat this process through each of the items on your checklist.
Below is a video on our YouTube page walking through the basic operation of the Quick Tasks menu:
It's tax season again! To help answer some of your tax form questions, our preferred forms provider, Dynamic Systems, has put together an informative two minute video explaining how to order your tax forms. Their web site makes ordering these forms quick and easy. Plus, use the discount code TAX2010 when ordering before January 7, 2011 and you will receive 10% off the 2010 tax forms!
To watch the video and place your 2010 Tax Form order, visit the Dynamic Systems web site. There you can purchase not only tax forms but other business forms as well, such as computer checks, bank deposit slips and more!
The Support Forum on our web site is a very active online community of our users and Tech Support staff members. There you can browse through thousands of questions and answers, or post your own. Below are some recent examples.
Q. The new Personal Profile report, Birthdays and Anniversaries includes the anniversary of members joining the church. Is this a problem for anyone else?
A. There is a setting on the File > Preferences > Personal Profile Setup screen on the Dates tab to define which of your date fields holds the Anniversary date.
Q. As a new PC+ user, I cannot find a way to accomplish this: After entering the name, date, check number (or cash), and total amount, there is usually a grid below them where you can enter what PC+ calls the fund number.
A. This type of entry can be done using the Check Reader entry screen. If you're not using a check reader, you can check the Manual box to enter this by hand.
Q. The tax liability for FICA in PowerChurch Plus does not agree with the 941 calculation. What am I doing wrong?
A. I just did some checking and found that in some cases rounding errors are inevitable. According to the following article on the IRS.gov web site, 7a is for "Current quarter's adjustment for fraction of cents":
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Making a year end checklist, Quick Tasks menu, Dynamic Systems
Last updated: 04/24/2015