Parish/School Bookkeeping Basics

close up photo of ledger s list

All bookkeeping must be completed on a Modified Cash Basis:

  • Receipts are recorded when the deposit is made to the bank, All deposits are recorded to Receipt Accts (3000). Deposits are not recorded to expense accounts (4000).
  • Expenses are recorded when the disbursement is made or the invoice is paid, All disbursements/paid invoices are recorded to Expense accounts (4000). Disbursements/paid invoices are not recorded to Receipt accounts (3000).
  • Some exceptions:
    • Tuition and fees (school/faith formation) paid in advance of the fiscal year should be recorded to liability account(s).
    • Funds Held in Trust: assets retained in the assets, but for a specific purpose, these will be paid out eventually. (i.e.: special collections, UTR), established as a liability account.
    • Expenses and reimbursements between Parishes in the family.
  • Do NOT include:
    • Prepaid expenses
    • Accounts Receivable
    • Accounts Payable
    • Accruals/Reserves

Use of Liabilities for Funds Held in Trust:

UTR: Funds are received over a period of time from UTR for the Parish’s share. These are being held until enough funds are received in order to do a project. In this case, deposits are recorded to the UTR Liability account (2000s), using the cash receipt process in PDS Ledger.

When the funds are used, the disbursements/paid invoices process are used in PDS Ledger. This transaction is posted/distributed to an expense account(s) (4000s).

An Adjusting Journal Entry (AJE) is posted to reduce the liability and recognize the receipt. The AJE would be for the same amount(s) as the disbursement/paid invoice transaction(s).

In this example the AJE would be:

  • Debit: #2000 UTR Liability $XXXXX
  • Credit: # 3000 Approved Capital Campaign $XXXXX

Processing the activity in this manner, moves the activity through the income statement, recognizing both the receipt and the expense, with a net effect on overall surplus (deficit) of $0.

Special collections: Deposits made to the bank account from offertory for a specific required special collection are posted to the special collection liability account. When the disbursement is made to remit the funds, the special collection liability account balance should be remitted. Generating the paid invoice, the amount of the check is distributed to the applicable liability account.

If the Parish wants to round up or donate additional funds for this special collection, the additional donation is considered a parish expense, and the distribution would include the additional donation posted to an expense account (4000s).

In this example, the parish collected $57 for Peter Pence. The parish wants to round up the remittance to a total of $100. The invoice would be entered as:

  • Payee: Diocese of Buffalo, Amount: $100
  • Distribution:
    • Liability account- #2300 Peter’s Pence $57.00
    • Expense account – #4479.10 Donations $43.00

This distribution brings the liability balance to $0 and expenses the donation, recording this in the income statement.

Month-End Close Procedures

  • All Parishes should close the month in PDS Ledger after all the bank reconciliations have been completed for the month.
  • The Month-End Close Checklist and Review Procedures (dated 8/2021) should be used.
  • This process should be completed within 2-3 weeks after month end.
  • After the close process is completed, all Parishes MUST sync their PDS Ledger program with the Diocese.

Phase two parishes examine issues and solutions in family meetings

The middle of Chautauqua County used to have six independent parishes spread out along the lake. Due to the shortage of priests the six worship sites still stand, but now as part of three parishes having only two pastors. Each site can only have one Sunday Mass. 

This is an example of the need for the Road for Renewal plan.

Family 5 includes St. Mary of Lourdes Parish in Bemus Point and Mayville; Christ our Hope in Sherman and Clymer; and St. Dominic in Westfield and Brocton Parishes.

Those three parishes will become one family as part of Phase 2 of the Road to Renewal. Jim Wehrfritz is one of two Renewal representatives for St. Mary of Lourdes Parish. He represents the Bemus Point worship site, while Ann Akin reps for the Mayville site. They are the lay representatives that bring information about the Renewal into the parish through meetings and parish bulletin announcements.

They also led the Disciple Maker Survey earlier this year, which received a high level of participation in the parish.

“That was very successful. We got over 130 people to participate in the survey and we got some really good, I think, statistically valid results. We completed the analysis of that for our parish,” Wehrfritz said.

The family will take part in the Catholic Leadership Institute “to see what the similarities and differences are coming out of the survey.” The CLI program provides bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay persons with pastoral leadership formation and consulting services that strengthen their confidence and competence in ministry, enabling them to articulate a vision for their local church.

As a 35-year employee for ExxonMobil, Wehrfritz has had experience in reorganizing and learning from pilot programs. He also sees a need for it, especially in his area of the diocese.

When the parish family members first met, they found that some of the ministries, such as Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus, are in only one parish in the family, and now will be accessible to everyone in the family.

“(The Renewal is) really a good thing,” Wehrfritz said. “As we come together as a family, I think our parishioners are going to have more opportunities to participate in more ways.”

They are examining ways to work around the obstacles the new family format may bring. One issue that concerns them is travel between parishes. Some elderly parishioners may not be able to drive 20 miles in the snow to attend an event or meeting in a far-off church. The survey showed that most parishioners tend to be seniors. “That’s a specific challenge that we’ll have to figure out, but it’s fixable,” said Wehrfritz.

Wehrfritz admits there is some skepticism in his parish about what the final changes will be. He was not living in Western New York during the Journey of Faith and Grace, when St. Mary’s worship sites merged into one parish, but has heard some stories from people unhappy with the results.

“There are some questions relative to what’s this really going to mean. Because I think there were some hard feelings about how some of that was done or how it came down. So, there is a little bit of skepticism and concern,” he said.

Wehrfritz, himself, is happy with the information he receives from the diocese. Although he admits it can be slow coming, but he has spoken with Sarah Osmanski and Deacon Greg Moran, and feels he could call Father Bryan Zielenieski in the Renewal office if necessary.

“All the information is not always flowing out as quickly as some of the questions that are raised in my mind, but I’ve always been able to get what I needed one way or another,” Wehrfritz said.

Barb Weingart, the parish representative from St. Dominic’s in Westfield and Brocton, sees a need for change in the parish structure.

 “I think we’re all OK with the concept,” she said. “We need to work together. We need to be a team. We need not to be selfish, and put our own needs first.”

The area recently lost Father Todd Remick when he moved to Jamestown after the death of Father Dennis Mende. Father David Tourville and Father Romulo Montero now cover six churches.

“They’ve had to adjust the Mass schedule. The guys are over worked but it’s gone well,” Weingart said.

Father Tourville has been pro-active and has talked about it. Barb and her husband, Don, have given a presentation regarding the Disciple Makers Index Survey.

“We have to be fair and we have to think of the priests. They can only do so much,” she said. “I think we all need to work together. We all need to give. We need to not be selfish with our needs. We need to think of other people. We need to be fair to other people.”