Parish support day focused on finance


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Nearly 60 bookkeepers, secretaries and volunteers from parishes across the diocese gathered April 28 at diocesan headquarters for a finance support day.

Anne Marie Amacher
Parish bookkeepers, secretaries and volunteers listen to a presentation during a support day at the St. Vincent Center in Davenport on April 28.

Nikki Gartner, chief financial officer for the Diocese of Davenport, welcomed guests who filled the third-floor conference room. She introduced the finance staff and Andy Gaertner, director of development.

He spoke about the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA), covering how parish goals are calculated, revenue and liabilities. He offered suggestions on meeting parish ADA goals and discussed best practices, donor intention and campaign and offertory resources.


Nancy Karn, accounting coordinator, and Gartner spoke about internal controls. Topics covered cash receipts for the offertory, receiving and recording financial information, finance council, computer safeguards and payroll. Tiara Hatfield, accountant, and Colleen Darland, administrative assistant, addressed sales and use tax at the parish level. They addressed several topics, including purchasing, services, and sales and gambling tax. Lyndsay Maloney, administrative assistant, and Gartner then addressed corporate resolutions, subcontractor agreements, project proposals and bids, certificate of insurance and contact information.

Brent Hinders and Hugh Cain of Hopkins and Huebner, P.C., discussed human resources guidelines ranging from job applications and interview questions to employment records and job descriptions. They also explained the difference between 1099 and W2 tax forms.
Kori Schmidtendorff and staff with Interlogic Outsourcing Inc. (IOI) talked about payroll challenges, advantages of outsourcing payroll, proper form documentation, taxable benefits and tips and tricks.

Following lunch, Scott VanVooren, a lawyer with Lane and Waterman, spoke about the Kenedy Directory, nonprofit incorporation, the role of the bishop and more. Jim Nepple of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Davenport board discussed the filing of 990s for parish organizations.

The day concluded with a session on the advantages of online giving through Vanco.

“I think it is important for the bookkeepers, priests, business managers and finance council members to come to these support days for several reasons,” Karn told The Catholic Messenger. “They get to meet others in the same jobs and find out how they do some of the jobs. If they are new, they definitely learn a lot, and we had a lot of new bookkeepers since the last time we had had one of these. Several of the bookkeepers asked me last year about having another (support day) – they really liked them. I actually got to meet a couple of bookkeepers that I had not met and also a new priest from Georgetown.”

Gartner said continuing education benefits everyone. “We offered this to help people keep up with changes. Human resources is a constantly changing and evolving area. Entities have to have the tools for their jobs. The event also gives the opportunity to network and build collaboration.”

Keeping parishes updated on requirements and expectations is good preparation in the event of an audit. “We can be a resource for the parishes and work to get them the answers they need as soon as possible,” Gartner said.

Curt Barkalow, bookkeeper at St. Peter Parish in Cosgrove, said he had never attended a finance support day in his 15 years with the parish.

“I came to meet Nikki and her staff,” he said. Although some topics didn’t pertain to his parish, he said it was interesting to hear the information offered.

Julie Howe, secretary at St. Patrick Parish in Melrose, chose to attend because she is new to the position. She found the online giving session the most interesting. Timetable handouts should be a big help in her new position, she thinks.

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