News for Church Treasurers and Financial People
May 2012 Newsletter from Financial Services, UCA Presbytery and Synod of SA
Dear Friends Recently Paul Barnett (Manager, UC Invest), Diane Hughes (Assistant Manager, Financial Services Team) and I travelled to Queensland for a meeting with others performing similar functions in Uniting Church Synods across Australia. The theme of the conference was ‘collaborate, communicate, inspire’. It was an opportunity to network, share and to re-discover that we are not alone. Although this group has not met for many years we discovered that we are facing many of the same problems even though each Synod is unique and has its own special challenges.
Peter Battersby Deputy General Manager, Resources/Manager, Financial Services Team
One of the benefits of networking (collaboration) is that we can share and increase our knowledge base. For example, in Queensland we were further briefed on changes in the law regarding charities. (See the brief article in this issue.) You too can, as a church finance person, benefit from collaboration. Already some of the attendees at our recent Spirited Generosity workshops have been networking (communicating), presumably discussing implementation strategies and bouncing ideas off each other. Later this year we will be holding some more of our popular Treasurers’ workshops which are a great opportunity to learn, sharpen skills and to make contacts – another opportunity to network (inspire) by sharing experiences and making acquaintances. Let us Collaborate, Communicate and Inspire. Please make contact with us, if you would like to share ideas or seek advice as we are always considering how we can best communicate with each other, and hopefully we can inspire one another as we serve in our varying roles. All the best. Peter Battersby
Meeting the team - Peter Battersby Peter Battersby has been serving in the Synod office for nearly 5 years. Peter is the Manager, Financial Services Team and the Deputy General Manager, Resources which involves oversight of the Information Technology and Telecommunications Unit (IT&T) and Uniting Venues SA. His innovative leadership style has resulted in many positive changes to departments, given his various roles. Peter is a member of a various committees including the Stipends Committee and is Secretary of the Human Resources Remuneration Committee (HRCC). Peter keeps busy outside of work, both as a husband and as father to three young children. He enjoys playing basketball and he has been leading his congregation’s basketball club for nearly 25 years. He also chairs his church’s leadership team. Peter has strengthened the Synod’s internal management, helped by his professional qualifications and work experience. He graduated with a BA in Accountancy, has a Diploma in Management (HR) and completed the CPA course. Recently he completed a Graduate Certificate in Counselling. Beginning his career by working for a petroleum distributor for five years he then moved onwards and upwards by holding several senior roles in the Asia Pacific Head Office of an international software company based in Adelaide, before seeing the light. Hopefully he will be with us for many years to come.
Our Mission and Service Fund at work Mission and Service Fund So what is the Mission and Service Fund? It is something that most congregations ‘see’ when they approve their annual budget as a line-item. But the Mission and Service Fund is more than that. It is the way we are church together and engage in mission beyond ourselves.
Treasurers Do you know what the fastest form of philanthropy is? It is giving via sending a text message. In the world of ‘instant’, you can also give that way. It is as easy as downloading an app or an iTune song. ‘But that wouldn’t work in my church’ you may say, and it could be true, unless you have a church full of under 30 year olds. You see people have also tended to give in the way they receive. Visit a nearby developing country with a primarily agricultural society like Papua New Guinea and the offering will be chooks and eggs and produce. The offering envelope and the planned giving program weren’t invented until we started to be paid regularly, by cash in envelopes. We developed a system for people to give in the same way as they were receiving their income. People of what is called the builder generations (born before World War II) found this pattern of giving helpful. They were paid regularly, they gave regularly. They were paid in cash, they gave in cash. They planned their lives ahead with budgets and ledger books; they planned their giving ahead in this process.
The UCA is constituted as a series of inter-related groups, called councils, which all have different roles and support each other in achieving their purposes. •
The Congregation is the people of God, worshipping, witnessing and serving in their communities.
The Presbytery and Synod supports congregations in this mission and ministry and oversees the life of the church throughout South Australia. Some of this is undertaken through the various networks and some through the Presbytery and Synod staff team. This includes the Pastoral Relations and the Mission Resourcing SA teams who manage the placement of ministers and offer resources and support to congregations in achieving their mission. Representatives from congregations meet in the Synod and Presbytery to discuss and determine the mission of God through the UCA in SA. The offices of the Moderator, General Secretary and Resources Board/Team offer leadership in administration and finance. The Synod also has a College for training people in ministry – both lay and ordained.
The Assembly undertakes global mission through Uniting World and mission in remote areas through Frontier Services. It also determines and manages matters for which a national approach is helpful. Things like standards for theological formation, liturgies to be used by the whole church, professional standards and codes of ethics for ministers and how we will shape and express ministry as members of the Uniting Church and as those set aside and called for accredited ministries such as Minister of the Word, Deacon and Pastor.
So this is an overview of what the Mission and Service Fund is and supports. It is not just a line on a budget but a dynamic and living connection of people seeking to do God’s mission in God’s world. Congregations contribute to this fund to enable us to do everything from responding to disasters in overseas countries to shifting ministers from one placement to another. Thank you for being part of enabling all this to happen through your generosity.
But the world has become more and more instant and younger generations are more spontaneous and directive in their giving. They will respond generously and quickly when a need is presented to them. They want to be part of the doing as well as the giving. They like projects where there is a clear outcome that has short and clear time lines. They don’t plan ahead like their parents and grandparents. Beware of judging this instant generation as being irresponsible in their spontaneity. After all, when Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John to follow him, at once they left everything and followed him.
ATO Compliance: New Pay As You Go (PAYG) Withholding Reporting Requirements effective 1 January 2012 During the first week of April, information was sent to Treasurers of congregations that have lay employees who are paid through the Synod Payroll Bureau. This letter set out instructions for completing your quarterly Business Activity Statement (BAS) or Instalment Activity Statement (IAS) including PAYG amounts. The January to March 2012 statement is the first one to be completed under the new requirements. It is essential that congregations report this information correctly in order to avoid potential heavy penalties from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you did not receive this letter, or require further information or explanation please contact the Congregational Bookkeeping Unit on 08 8236 4215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as a matter of urgency. If you receive correspondence from the ATO informing you of a PAYG debt, DO NOT pay it. Please contact the Congregational Bookkeeping Unit immediately. These amounts have already been paid through the Synod office.
Service Letter from the ATO entitled ‘Proposed changes for charities’ You may have received a letter from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) entitled ‘Proposed changes for charities’. The Government is proposing a new national regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC). This ATO letter is an opportunity for your congregation to ensure the details currently held by them are correct. You will need to respond to the ATO by 3rd May 2012 if, •
your Treasurer has changed
your congregation has merged with another
your congregation has changed names or has ceased to operate.
Please read the section headed ‘Updating your details’ on the ATO letter as this advises of the different ways that changes can be notified to the ATO e.g. by phone, or by paper (using the form enclosed with the ATO letter). The name on the ATO letter is the registered business name, however you can check this at the Australian Business Register – www.abr.gov.au - simply by entering in your ABN.
If you are sure that your congregation’s details are correct you don’t have to do anything. Further information: The Uniting Church has been working nationally with the ACNC task force to highlight issues that this proposed legislation poses for the Church. The legislation is yet to be approved by the Government and we will continue to work with the ACNC task group to minimise the impact, including compliance costs on congregations. The current charities legislation considers religious bodies as charities. As such the Uniting Church is exempt from paying income tax, payroll tax and receives the Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) rebate where FBT is payable. When further information regarding these proposed changes is received, either from the ATO or Uniting Church National Assembly, we will communicate this to you as speedily as possible. For further information there are websites listed on the reverse of the ATO letter or phone 1300 650 129. Should you have any other queries relating to this, please contact: Diane Hughes 08 8236 4219 Marie-Ann Ellis 08 8236 4215
MYOB and the CBU Are you aware that we can help congregations meet their financial reporting needs with a FREE copy of Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) software? Installation and implementation training (4 hours – or two 2 hour sessions) are available for $60.00 (excluding GST). All software remains the property of Uniting Church SA and will be installed on a Uniting Church (congregation owned) computer. In addition, the Congregational Bookkeeping Unit (CBU) provides FREE support to treasurers including: general enquiries; helpdesk (Tier 1) support (i.e. general support query which takes no longer than 30 minutes to resolve); periodic workshops; and UCSA website information. The CBU also provides consultancy services to further assist congregations and treasurers. Consultancy services can include: more complex queries with resolution taking longer than 30 minutes; report writing; data recovery; and reimplementation of MYOB. Consultancy Services are charged at the current CBU rate of $30 per hour (exclusive of GST). For further information or to obtain a MYOB application form, please contact the Congregational Bookkeeping Unit on 08 8236 4215 or email email@example.com
Financial Services Team - Contacts Finance: Phone: (08) 8236 4200 Country Callers Number: 1300 766 956 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (08) 8236 4280 Congregational Book-keeping Unit: Phone: (08) 8236 4215 Email: email@example.com Payroll: Phone: (08) 8236 4241 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (08) 8236 4286
Resources Department web site resources.sa.uca.org.au On the left hand side ‘Resources Menu’ simply click ‘Finance’ for more information about the Financial Services Department and its services.