This is the Christmas bumper edition for Focus and as I write I am waiting for the final documents to complete the Annual Report. There is so much that goes into this report in order for it to reflect the complete life of the church. It’s always a surprise to learn what has happened during the year, as I read the final copy before sending it off to the Independent Examiners. It’s not all finance, though this of necessity does constitute a considerable part of the report. There will be a section where we look back over the year, not just to list the events, but to see how they fit into the aims for the year. We can then assess how well we have achieved those aims. Then there is the section where we set the targets for the year we are now living in (2018/19). These need to be realistic and essentially achievable. But we also need to be able, in twelve months’ time, to ask, as we are now – have we achieved those targets? It’s not a failure if we don’t achieve a target but we need to know why. One reason is often that the target is not so relevant in the life of the church and we actually decide to set a new target with some particular work that we find later in the year to be important to achieve. I won’t be writing for two months now, so when I write in January, I will be able to let you know how the first quarter of the year has gone financially with our giving. It is always a time when I hold my breath as I check the giving quarter by quarter against the previous year. A very Happy Christmas to you all, and again, thank you for your continued support for the church over the past year.
Treasurer's Talk October 2018
The financial year closed on 31st August and once again there are many points worth noting. Giving has increased over the year and totalled £111,614. This is an increase of £881 (0.80%) on last year (£110,733) and is once again the highest ever achieved. Thank you. Recovered tax is £25,701, a small decrease of 1.39% over last year (£26,042). Two years ago 60% of available funds invested in trusts was moved to the Mixed Managed Fund (a Central Finance Board fund which takes advantage of financial market investments). As a result this has created an income of £18,570 which was £1,272 lower than last year due to the change in the money markets. Income from letting the caretaker’s flat contributed £12,745. Income from the church organisations is £28,625. This is £419 down on last year. Income from external lettings is £72,823 which is lower than last year’s figure of £74,484 (mainly due to the loss of a valuable letting). The cost of the utilities, £44,136, is over budget due to the extended cold winter. Maintenance of the premises was just £800 over the £34,000 budget. This budget has carried a large amount of work around the premises. The surplus on the General Fund is currently £670. This is extremely good news because a deficit of £11,679 had been budgeted. The cost to run the church is currently just over £5,800 per week.
A budget has been agreed at Church Council for the coming year. This is currently showing an intentional
deficit of £13,829 which indicates extra expenditure on new work during the year.
Once again, it is with gratitude to God that the church has managed to balance the books for another year. Thank you to everyone who has contributed in so many ways.
Treasurer’s Talk August 2018
It’s said the older you get, the faster time passes and I can agree with that. It’s only six weeks to the end of the church financial year and this deadline seems to arrive faster every year.
Harry Wilkinson and I spent considerable time preparing the Annual Report these past two years implementing the new financial regulations. I have been enormously grateful to him for guiding me through the wording in the many clauses relating to policy. Harry has now retired as our Independent Examiner and I will miss his advice and support greatly. We now have new independent examiners, Jacob, Cavanagh & Skeet (JCS) of Robin Hood Lane, Sutton who are experienced in the examination of charities’ accounts, particularly churches.
I look forward to receiving their comments on the Annual Report which I hope to submit during October.
The Annual Report is not just a collection of financial tables, it is a history of the past year of the church’s life and a vision into the future. The Leadership Team will be looking back over the past twelve months to identify the significant events which need to be recorded. There will also be some less prominent events needing mention and then all reported alongside the aims for 2017/18 together with comments on how well the church has done in achieving its aims. The Charity Commission requires that people can see their charitable income is being wisely spent.
The Leadership Team will also look to the future. A development plan has been drawn up to look at the future of the church over upcoming years and the areas we need to address in 2018/19 require to be put in writing. This will mean in twelve month’s time the same exercise will identify how the church has achieved growth and development.
This is something we are all involved in and it is exciting to be part of a church that is growing. My particular position is to report
on the financial side of the church’s life, however we are all involved in the growth of the church and I hope and pray that
in twelve month’s time we will be able to report continued growth.
Thank you again for being a part of a church going through an exciting time. Your giving is so important for the church to meet its financial needs and your further contribution to the life of the church is essential as we look to the future.
Treasurer's Talk July 2018
We are now nine months through the financial year and have reached another checkpoint in the church’s finances. The total giving for these nine months is £80,672.84. This is considerably down compared with the equivalent time last year when the total was £83,109.02, a decrease of £2,436.81 (2.93%). During the last quarter the giving was £25,997.12 compared with £27,715.42 last year, a decrease of 6.20%.
I am pleased to report that letters have now been sent to all those who gift aid their giving to the various church funds showing the amounts recovered during the 2016/17 tax year. Additionally, the church web site now has a link which enables you to download the church annual report.
Thank you once more for your continued support to the church.
Treasurer's Talk June 2018
The gift aid letters have now been written and circulated. These show your giving to the general fund and other funds and charities associated with the church. This is so that you can let HMRC know the amount of gift aid in your tax return. Mark has written of his appreciation of the giving in the church.
Most of the letters in the pigeon holes have been collected, but if you realise you should have received one, please check your pigeon hole. I will collect up the remaining ones at the end of May and post them, so by collecting yours you will be saving the church the cost of a stamp (or my bicycle tyres if you live in the borough!).
One comment Mark makes in his letter is to ask if you will consider an increase in your giving. Though we received the very generous bequest last year, this is being used for capital improvements and to help fund the cost of Chris Shaw’s appointment and not for day-to-day expenses. I have looked at the regular giving for this year to date and we are seeing a decline in its level. Looking forward into the 2020s, it is likely that the church could be running a deficit each year as the giving declines mainly through losing donors and increased costs.
As a result of Mark’s comments on this, I have already received indications from three people who have said that they will increase their giving. For this I was most grateful. Please will you give this your consideration so that the church can be assured of a safe financial future.
The church is grateful for the continued financial support it receives and the leadership wants to thank you all for this.
Treasurer's Talk May 2018
I have just completed the latest gift aid data for the claim to HMRC. In all a total of £62,376.16 has been given over the past 7 months which will attract gift aid which totals £15,594.04. The various groups that will benefit are,
Church General Fund £14,355.54
Families’ and Children’s Worker £962.25
Organ Fund £72.50
Zimbabwe Victim Support Fund £172.50
Christmas Together £6.25
Benevolence Fund £25.00
I have written extensively of gift aided giving and I would again like to emphasise this. All of the £15,594.04 is freely given to the church by HMRC simply because we pay tax, have signed a gift aid declaration and identified our giving (using the collection envelopes or a standing order). HMRC will also be giving the church £2,000 arising from the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme where they will give gift aid on £8,000 of loose change giving. The loose change in the church collections totalled £6,501.28 in the last tax year. Along with this there was giving totalling £3,858.86 on which gift aid could not be claimed either because the donor did not wish to or they did not pay tax. From this it can be seen that gift aid could not be claimed on only £2,360.14. This is just 2.1% of the church’s total giving of £111,863.39 which means that gift aid was claimed on 97.9% of the giving. This is an amazing result and we are so grateful to everyone who can and does use gift aid.
If anyone who gives (or will give) regularly to the church and would like to gift aid their giving, please have a chat with me. Individual gifts can also be gift aided. It would be a massive milestone if we were able to recover the gift aid on all of the giving of the church.
Thank you again for your continued financial support of the church and other funds.
Treasurer's Report April 2018
We have just passed the half year point in the church’s finances. The total for our giving over the first half year is £54,670,72. This compares with £55,393.60 at the same time last year. This is a decrease of £722.88 (1.3%).
In a few weeks it will be the end of another tax year. Nearly all of those who contribute regularly to the church finances use gift aid. This means that for every £1 you give; the government gives the church a further 25p. This is a tremendous help because it does not cost anyone anything to do this except to pay enough tax. During April or soon after you will receive a letter from the church in acknowledgement for your support which will also let you know what your giving for the full tax year was. This will enable those who need to know to be able to let HMRC know what their charitable giving to the church was.
A further help the government gives is to allow £8,000 of unrecorded giving to be gift aided. Last year was the first time at this higher figure. By finding all this giving, we were able to use up all of this extra allowance. It meant that 99.5% of all the church giving was gift-aided. I am hoping that we will be able to achieve a similar figure for this tax year. By the time I write in a month’s time, I should be able to let you know.
We do thank you again for your continued support of the church in so many ways.
Treasurer's Talk February 2018
At the end of the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year (November 2017) our regular giving to the church totalled £26,983.11. This compares with £26,708.94 for the previous year and once again shows an increase, this time of £274.17 (1.03%). It is most encouraging to report a further increase.
Over Christmas, all collections were taken on behalf of Action for Children. At the Carol service it was £186.40. At the Midnight Communion service, it was £70.06. At the Christmas Day service, it was £264.17. These total £520.63. Thank you for your generosity towards this most deserving charity and thank you again for your continued support for the church and other charitable work.
This is the Christmas bumper edition of Focus and as I write, I am finalising all the loose ends for the examination of the church accounts in the preparation of the Annual Report.
It has not been easy since we are now in the new regime called FRS 102. This has a number of new requirements and I am having to determine which ones we have to use, and which ones are outside our scope.
There are two problems in moving to a new regime. One is the format of the information they require. For this I am beholden to the Methodist gurus who have only just prepared a document to follow. I am grateful that it is at last available. But that leads to the second problem. It requires a new set of categories for the main accounts. This may seem straightforward, but the item headings are not as specific as one would like to see and I am having to decide under which heading each of the various figures should reside. I think I am nearly there, but it will mean a conversation with Harry, our accounts examiner, to be sure we have got it correct. However, the one joy is that once we have agreed it for this year, it should be the same for many years to come.
I hope that the finalised Annual Report will be going forward to the January meeting of the Church Council. If it gets approval, it will then be available on the Charity Commission website for anyone to examine.
A very Happy Christmas to you all, and again, thank you for your continued support for the church over the past year. In February I will be able to let you know how the first quarter in the financial year has gone.
Treasurer's Talk NOVEMBER 2017
We have recently had the envelope collection for All We Can (originally the Methodist Relief & Development Fund). To date £440.15 has been given of which £250 is gift aided, adding a further £62.50. This brings the total to £502.65 for which I know the AWC team will be most grateful.
Now I am again preparing the annual report. I have all the figures and am studying and implementing the differences between FRSSE (Financial Reporting Standards for Small Enterprises) from last year and FRS 102 (Financial Reporting Standards) for this and subsequent years. My aim is to have it ready for signature at the January meeting of the Church Council.
The Leadership Team is planning projects for future work around the church. Last month I said that we are budgeting for a deficit of £11,679 and this could occur if we implement the work around the church that is becoming necessary.
We recently had a meeting of the Resources Committee which covers finance and property. It is an important meeting in the life of the church because every project gets an airing and many decisions are made or passed onto the Church Council for approval where required. At the meeting it was agreed that Andrew Jennings would put together an article on handling the recent surpluses on the General Fund and how they would be used to further the life of the church both in its ministry and buildings. Please see the earlier article in Focus.
After all that, I do hope you find refreshment and reward in the activities in the church as the year moves on and I thank you again for your continued financial support in the life of the church.
Treasurer's August 2017 Update
This time last year, I was sitting at my PC on almost the same day thinking about the end of the financial year.. We have just had the Civic Service which was a superb time of celebration and we wish Liz Frost all the very best. The church collection did not suffer from the collection for the Mayor’s charities being at the same time. Over £500, including gift aid, was raised for Liz’s charities, the Sunnybank Trust, Citizens Advice Bureau and the Lower Mole Countryside Trust.
Already £62,818 has been received from external organisations using the premises. This is set against an original budget of £60,000 and a projection of £68,000. It is a valuable source of income for the church and enables so much more to be planned. We are very grateful to Sue Massingham for the care she takes over the room bookings and all the paperwork that is required. To give you an idea of how many organisations use the premises, I co-signed the agreements the other day as a church trustee and there were twenty eight of them. Sue had prepared these and they were all different in some aspect together with a significant number of pages.
We are always keeping a watchful eye on expenditure. The second biggest figure (the biggest is the circuit assessment which is set for the year so won’t vary) is for utilities (gas, electricity, water, cleaning and insurance). Having negotiated an improved gas contract last year, we are seeing the benefits over the past twelve months and we expect to be well under budget.
I spoke about the legacy left to the church by Ms Eileen Wilks last year. We have now received £330,000 of the legacy. The sale of her house has completed and the solicitors are currently sorting out the final payments. This extra funding has enabled the church to employ Chris Shaw as an assistant minister for three years and we are all looking forward to his starting with us on 1st September.
I now get a two month break from writing to you so when I next hit the keyboard it will be around 10th September and I will know the draft results for the year (which closes on 31st August). I hope I will be able to let you know some more good news.
Thank you again for your continued support for the church. We are ministering in exciting times, and we pray for wise use of the resources made available to us.
Treasurer's July 2017 update
We are now nine months through the financial year, so we reach another checkpoint in our finances. The total giving for these months is £83,109.02. This is considerably up compared with the equivalent time last year when the total was £80,902.18, an increase of £2,206.84 (2.73%). If this trend continues, the total for the year should be towards £109,000. I am pleased that we have now sent out the letters to those who gift aid their giving with the total that you have given over the 2016/17 tax year and where relevant the other funds that you have given to as well as the general fund. I went on to the church website the other day and am pleased to see that the church annual report has a link to download so you will be able to read it in its entirety if you have or can obtain access to a PC with internet access. Thank you for your continued giving which enables me to tell of all the good news financially.
Treasurer's June 2017 update
Over the past few months I have been keeping you updated on how the annual report has been progressing. I am delighted to let you know that it has now been completed with the last document arriving from the bank recently. A copy has been placed on the Charity Commission website (see the link on this page). The charity registration number for the church is 1127787. The annual reports for the last five years are then available at the bottom of the screen.
The Easter Offering has been taking place over the past few weeks and £773.23 has been given. Of this £317.70 has been gift aided which will attract a further £79.42, bring the total to £852.65.
Thank you again for your continued financial support of the church and other funds.