Finance the focus of staff support day

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — More than 50 parish staff members from throughout the Diocese of Davenport gathered May 2 at St. Vincent Center for a support day that focused on finance topics.

Anne Marie Amacher
Staff members from parishes and schools throughout the diocese attended a support day May 2 on the topic of finances at St. Vincent Center in Davenport.

Nancy Karn, accounting coordinator for the diocese, said the day gave bookkeepers, priests, principals and business managers the opportunity to meet each other, hear how others do things and see all of the people they deal with in finance. “This year I had revised the chart of accounts and also the internal control questionnaire and we went over the changes, discussed and gave reasons for the changes.”
Some of those changes came about after Virginia Trujillo, diocesan safe environment coordinator, completed audits at all parishes and school.

The support day was not offered via webinar because the finance staff thought it would be more effective to do in person. The event was recorded for participants who want to view it again or for people who were unable to attend. Some of the topics addressed changes in insurance, the IOI pay system, the internal control questionnaire, chart of accounts, 401k, sales tax and benefits.

Terri Eilers, parish secretary/bookkeeper for St. Mary Parish in Williamsburg, said she attended the support day last year, found it very informative and wanted to attend again to learn even more. “It was a good day and I feel that I came away with a lot of useful information.”
Highlights of this year’s event for her were a presentation by Molyneaux Insurance and an updated chart of accounts. “It was good to renew acquaintances; when you interact with people over email and the telephone it is good to meet face to face occasionally if only to be reminded that there are real people behind all of the electronic communications,” she said. “I do think it is important to update parish employees with the support day. Many of us come from small parishes with limited resources and sometimes it is good to be reminded that there are resources and people to help work through the questions and issues that we encounter,” Eilers said.

Deb Williams, accountant at St. Anthony Parish in Davenport, wanted to learn about diocesan procedures and policies for parishes. She said the event provided a lot of information “crammed into one short day.” Much information was offered about IOI, a payroll and human resources management program that Williams wants to look into. “It might save me hours,” she noted. And as more entities join the program, it can possibly save on the cost as well. A presentation on insurance through the diocese was of particular interest to her.

Williams appreciated the support day. “When I started, I had no idea that everything is reported to the diocese.” After attending the support day, she thinks every bookkeeper should train with the diocese, which has Quick Books data and can go over the chart of accounts. Being able to put a face with names of diocesan staff members she communicates with was a nice bonus.

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