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Background

Park Cities Presbyterian Church (PCPC) held its first worship service in May of 1991, at Highland Park High School. Later that year, church members began worshipping as guests in the Highland Baptist Church Sanctuary and alternated worship and Sunday School classes with their new gracious hosts. After sharing and leasing the church for more than two years, PCPC purchased the property in early 1994 and later added an education building. On June 23, 1991, members voted to name this local body of Christ, Park Cities Presbyterian Church. Today, the church has more than 4,500 members, a weekly attendance of around 2,000, and an annual budget of more than $13M.

Jeff Barber, the church's Executive Director, spoke to us about their decision to outsource their accounting using AcctTwo's Managed Accounting Services and the Sage Intacct platform on which AcctTwo delivers those services. Barber has been with PCPC for more than 13 years.

The church was running on Shelby v.5, an on-premises church accounting product that PCPC adopted alongside Shelby's Arena Church Management System (ChMS). Eventually, the church would move to ShelbyNEXT - the browser-based version of Shelby's financial management system, but Barber and the rest of the church's leadership felt that they needed to make a change in order to scale with the church's growth and future plans.

The Search for a Scalable Solution

From a technology standpoint, Barber and his staff came to the realization that their legacy systems were too proprietary and wouldn't provide the integration capabilities or the flexibility of modern best-in-class solutions. "We didn't want the world to pass us by," says Barber. This led the team to look at new technology solutions for financial management, payroll, church management, and more.

"We have a significant construction project underway and are in the process of articulating a longer term vision," says Barber.  "I realized about 18 months ago that with our new vision, we did not have the resources to support the enthusiasm for everything that's coming."  Barber understood that as the church focused on adding a 68,000 sq. ft. facility and renovating the current facility of about the same size, his staff wasn't equipped to manage everything the church was going to undertake. He also understood that simply adding staff in each functional area wasn't going to be enough either. Barber decided it was time to consider a different approach and that was outsourcing.

Barber was introduced to Tammy Bunting, AcctTwo's Executive Director of Not-for-Profit Services and a former church CFO herself, by a consultant who was helping the church with their construction planning. Through Tammy, Barber learned not only about AcctTwo's Managed Accounting Services and the Sage Intacct financial management platform, but also about other technologies and services that, together, provide PCPC with a complete solution. These included outsourced payroll through APS, integrated giving with Vision2, budgeting and planning with Martus, and credit card and expense management with Nexonia. "Tammy Bunting was the primary voice that brought these other resources to the table," says Barber. "The decision to move to Sage Intacct and AcctTwo significantly informed our decision to move to these other systems as well."

The Peace of Mind of Modern Technology and Cutting-Edge Services

After implementing Sage Intacct and onboarding AcctTwo’s Managed Accounting Services, PCPC was able to build a total solution for its operational and financial management needs. The organization no longer has to rely on internal servers and databases or proprietary systems that can't integrate or adapt as the church grows. In the past, the accounting and system knowledge resided with one or two people. Losing either or both of those resources was a huge risk to the organization. With AcctTwo, PCPC can rest assured that they're supported by a whole team of specialized staff that can scale up or down with the church's needs and mitigate that risk.

Benefits of AcctTwo's Managed Accounting Services for PCPC:

  • Increased redundancy and reliability
  • Ability to integrate the financial management system with other technologies via open API
  • Mitigated risk
  • No need to manage data and technology internally
  • Specialization
  • Scalable technology and scalable staff

Additionally, the church's Finance Director has been able to redefine his role. He's now able to focus on managing a $50M capital campaign, paying more attention to the church's giving data and giving patterns, and helping Barber focus on strategy and the church's long-term vision.

Advice to Anyone Considering Outsourced Accounting as a Solution

“Outsourcing isn’t for every church, but I'm 100% confident that it is the right solution for us. With AcctTwo's accounting resources, we get access to a whole team of people with specialized skills, rather than trying to hire one or two people internally to do a bunch of different things. I would advise other churches not to look at this as a cost-saving measure, but instead as a means to increased value in services provided, access to more skilled staff, and at its heart, peace of mind." - Jeff Barber, Executive Director, Park Cities Presbyterian Church.

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"With AcctTwo's accounting resources, we get access to a whole team of people with specialized skills, rather than trying to hire one or two people internally to do a bunch of different things. I would advise other churches not to look at this as a cost-saving measure, but instead as a means to increased value in services provided, access to more skilled staff, and at its heart, peace of mind."

- Jeff Barber, Executive Director, Park Cities Presbyterian Church