AcctTwo recently interviewed Monty Carpenter about Gateway Church’s use of Intacct and their experience with AcctTwo. Monty is the lead director of business administration at Dallas-Fort Worth based Gateway Church. Over the last 16 years, Gateway Church has grown to more than 30,000 people in attendance each weekend plus an additional 12,000 each weekend that watch online.
AcctTwo: Monty, can you please share a little bit about Gateway Church?
Monty Carpenter: At Gateway Church we are all about people and we are not all about accounting. So we're really happy to bring Intacct to the table because our leadership is very passionate about focusing on the ministry aspect and not having the administration and the rules govern what we do.
AcctTwo: How did you come to find out about Intacct and AcctTwo?
Monty Carpenter: When we were searching for accounting software I did a lot of research talking to other nonprofits, for-profit organizations, and churches in our community. The word “Intacct” kept coming up and I did research and I liked everything I saw about it.
Then I was introduced to the wonderful people at AcctTwo. And as soon as we met with that staff and realized that they were like-minded as far as working with nonprofits and they had that church experience to bring to the table, we were convinced that they were the right partner.
AcctTwo: And what attracted you to Intacct and AcctTwo?
Monty Carpenter: Our IT department urged us to look to a more secure cloud-based environment where we would have the redundancy and the data integrity that was not being shown in our server-based system. During that research we noticed that Intacct had the AICPA endorsement. With several CPAs on staff in our accounting department at Gateway Church, that spoke volumes to us.
So when partnering with AcctTwo and their church experience, and that AICPA endorsement to Intacct and the security of the cloud, it really drove our decision quickly.
AcctTwo: Prior to Intacct, what were you using as your accounting system?
Monty Carpenter: Gateway Church had a legacy accounting system that was server-based before we went to Intacct. We had gotten to the point where the report module was not functional. The reports that we would generate would come off, have to be dumped into Excel and then hours spent crunching those into usable financial statements. Also the systems were heavy with paper: accounts payable, journal entry support, expense reimbursements, credit card receipts… all paper. We’d spend hours doing approvals to finish the accounting and disbursement processes. With Intacct we've been able to streamline operations and accelerate the entire process.
AcctTwo: What are some of the benefits you’ve seen with Intacct?
Monty Carpenter: Intacct provides flexibility so we can streamline operations; for example, going paperless in the accounts payable world and expense report world, has been phenomenal for us. It's relieved a lot of burden off the pastors, freeing them to do their ministry. And it speeds the whole accounting process and allows us to get those funds back to the pastors quicker for ministry work.
Intacct has also provided the visibility through the dashboard function to where we could set up a new employee-user quickly with the ease of administration and in no time show the new pastor the ease of using the system. Many pastors are generally not gifted in the financial area and so this would alleviate their fears and concerns early on and help bond that relationship with accounting early.
Intacct is an accounting system that helps our accounting staff but it helps the ministry staff and their support staff get the information they need to expand their ministries and run their ministries quickly, efficiently. And we really look at Intacct as more of a ministry tool than an accounting tool.
AcctTwo: How are you using Intacct within the church’s daily operations?
Monty Carpenter: Intacct has enabled us to be sure that the funds the church receives go to the ministries that they're intended for. We're using one of the dimensions in Intacct as our fund accounting system now to where when a donor makes a restriction on a donation, for example the single parent benevolence fund, we have the mechanism in the accounting system to track those funds both as they're coming in and as they're going out. We have a fund balance report bill that we can put on their dashboard. With the click of a button they can see their incoming funds and then their outgoing funds and see what balance remains for their ministry.
At Gateway Church we are using the statistical account feature inside Intacct and that's been a real plus over our other accounting system. We do track weekly attendance by both children and adult and then of course the total. We also track our web attendance which is running at about 12,000 viewers per weekend. We use the statistical journal entry feature to load that data each week and then we run those metrics against the dollars to generate the giving per adult attendee. Those are the key financial drivers that set the foundation of our budget and we do this through the location dimension so that we can track by campus.
AcctTwo: Can you chat a little bit about the implementation process?
Monty Carpenter: The software implementation of Intacct at Gateway Church went very well. I had been involved in several software implementations at the church before Intacct, including a payroll system conversion, a credit card expense management system, and a budgeting and forecasting system.
The team from AcctTwo was phenomenal. They sold us from day one on their expertise and the fact that they really cared and would partner with us to make this a successful transition. Their experience in other churches showed from day one. And in our early conversations they would ask questions that convinced me they had already walked that road and knew the pitfalls that we would encounter and helped steer us around those.
AcctTwo: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Monty Carpenter: My life today on Intacct makes me smile compared to where I was over a year ago. We've had serious growth pains over the years and had just spent endless hours with old systems and Excel trying to generate the reports that management needed in a growing ministry environment.
It's a joy to log in every day to Intacct and it really does make life better in accounting because we know we are supporting our ministry and taking that administrative burden off the pastors and providing them what they need quickly and in a functional, safe environment that we know is secure.
I would also advise other churches to strongly consider a product like Intacct because of the scalability. Intacct can be very affordable for any size church and it's a very reasonably priced product for a church our size.
We love the product, and Intacct and AcctTwo are both a joy to work with.
To learn more about AcctTwo, please visit their website.