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To: Pastors, Business Managers, ParishSOFT Administrators and Bookkeepers
From: Susan Shirley, Parish Systems Administrator, Office of Finance
It is time to begin planning the print and distribution of contribution statements (end of year statements for tax purposes) for your parish families.
There are several video lessons by ParishSOFT that provide helpful and easy to understand information about this process. The training videos are online and arranged by product – ConnectNOW Family Suite, ParishSOFT Desktop and ConnectNOW Accounting.
While the instructions are very accurate and complete, you may notice reference to certain procedures the Archdiocese of Atlanta has standardized that may not be standard in other dioceses. For example, the training videos will mention that it is not critical to close your batches after posting – this is correct, but not complete information. Indeed, your statement will print if the batches are not closed, but the standard procedure in our archdiocese is to close balanced batches as soon as possible to protect the integrity of the data.
It is highly recommended that you review the online information and register for upcoming webinars to help you understand this process.
Before Printing Statements:
1.Audit Funds – Ensure that all of your funds in ParishSOFT are codedcorrectly regarding tax exemption status. Please remember that fundssuch as Mass stipends, Christmas or Easter flowers, All Souls Novena,Georgia Bulletin donations, etc. ARE tax deductible. The Peter’s Pencecollection and distributed funds from a foundation, 401(k), IRA andmatching contributions are NOT tax deductible by the individual donor.
2. Audit Mailing Information – Make sure that you don’t have any missing data (addresses, mailing names, zip codes) by exporting your family list to an Excel spreadsheet and looking for any blank or improperly formatted fields. Pay close attention to the following fields as they are the ones used to fill in the address block on the mail merge that creates the statements – mailing name, primary address, city, state, and postal code. The post office is less likely to declare a piece of mail “undeliverable” if you have the proper abbreviations for street names (with no punctuation marks). For more information about properly formatted addresses, please visit www.usps.com and search under “street suffixes.”
3. Work with your pastor and/or business manager to agree to the text for the statements. This message usually includes a “thank you” to the donors for supporting the work of the church and allows for up to 1,500 characters of text.
4. Obtain a digital signature from your pastor, if you choose. We recommend that this signature not be a perfect replica of the signature they use to sign checks. For instance, instead of “Very Rev. James R. Smith, OFM,” it might just read “Fr. Jim.”
5. Determine whether your pastor wishes to sign or write individual notes on any of the statements. At some parishes, the pastor chooses to include a note on all statements or on certain top givers. His decision will determine your print order in case you need to group the statements by contribution amount.
6. Make sure that all contributions received in 2017 are completely posted to the donor’s record.
Please see the attached instructions. For any accounting questions, especially regarding employment status (1099 vs. W-2), please contact the Office of Finance.