Seacoast Church is a 15,000-member church with a mission to help people find God, grow their faith, discover their purpose and make a difference. To accomplish that mission, its ministries go beyond the weekend experience to programs that impact the church, local communities and the world.
As a growing multisite church, Seacoast Church needed a more modern church accounting solution.
After nearly 20 years on Shelby for their legacy church management and accounting software, Seacoast decided to upgrade to a modern cloud-based solution that could better handle the needs of an expanding multicampus church.
When I first started in church accounting 25 years ago, our job was basically to cut checks. Despite the church growing larger and more complex over the years, our systems have helped finance get a seat at the table.Glenn Wood, Pastor of Church Administration, Seacoast Church
Glenn Wood, the pastor of church administration at Seacoast, shared, “Our chart of accounts got very complex and as we added more locations, we faced a number of data management challenges with our old system.” He continued, “We did an extensive evaluation of our options and had a lot of conversations with other churches. Although we considered Blackbaud, the name Baker Tilly Digital kept surfacing again and again. Other churches would share long, flowing descriptions about how great Baker Tilly Digital was and how flexible their reporting was, all of which has been reinforced by the company’s deep commitment to the nonprofit segment.”
Having this kind of flexible and robust reporting helps us be more productive, while making sure all our data ties together correctly.Glenn Wood, Pastor of Church Administration, Seacoast Church
Seacoast relied on the award-winning finance and accounting consultants at Baker Tilly Digital. After Baker Tilly Digital’s implementation of Sage Intacct, Seacoast quickly saw huge improvements across all financial processes. They shortened their financial close by over 40 hours per month while adding a new campus.
One of the biggest changes was related to Seacoast’s complex financial report preparation, which used to take days of combining and manipulating data in Excel and was sometimes error prone.
The report writer eliminated these issues by handling all the necessary calculations right within Sage Intacct, which saves at least 15 hours each month. This delivers major efficiency gains, for example, the finance team produces 50-60 income and expense statements every month for different campuses and ministries.
It’s now easier to support the church’s finances and report them effectively, giving Seacoast’s donors and auditors confidence that the organization is managing its finances well.
“Because of the way it was designed, our old system couldn’t create a financial report that had all of the data we needed in one place, so we ended up having to build a number of reports manually,” said Wood. “Now with Sage Intacct, we can generate a single report with a one-page recap of our financials, a second page for campus-level consolidations, and then additional pages for individual campus or ministry reports. Having this kind of flexible and robust reporting helps us be more productive, while making sure all our data ties together correctly.”
Seacoast now has greater operational visibility than ever before thanks to the dimension structure in their chart of accounts, which captures the context of each transaction, along with its ability to track nonfinancial church metrics and ratios. These powerful capabilities—from easily including graphs with financial statements, to integrating statistical data on church attendance and displaying all this key performance information together via intuitive dashboards, allows the organization’s leaders to manage church funds in a better way.
The role of the finance department at Seacoast Church has transformed to focus less on church bookkeeping and more on strategic decision support. Wood shared, “When I first started in church accounting 25 years ago, our job was basically to cut checks. Despite the church growing larger and more complex over the years, our systems have helped finance get a seat at the table.” He added, “We have a phenomenal leadership team, but they’re people and ministry-oriented. Our job is to help them understand ‘What would happen if…?’ With Baker Tilly Digital, we’re able to look at various scenarios and know what the impact of certain decisions would be.”
By enabling Seacoast to slice and dice its data by individual campuses, ministries, vendors, employees and more, they now have valuable decision-making insights into what the cost of building a new sanctuary would be, its likely attendance, potential finances, and how long it would take to pay off any debt related to that investment.