Finance Office: Computer Filing System (part 2 of 2)


In part 1 I discussed how to set up the hardcopy or paper files of the church’s Finance Office. This post discusses how to organize computer or server-based files. My prediction is that within 5-10 years almost all finance office files will be kept on a computer. I encourage you to begin moving that way as soon as possible.

The first equipment you’ll need (after a computer) is a scanner. Most photocopiers today are also scanners. Or you can get a good quality flatbed scanner for about $200 or top line color “All In One” scanner/copier/printer for about $700. You should also invest in the latest version of Adobe which allows you to work with PDFs. I also encourage you to have an account with Dropbox and to either keep all your files on Dropbox (that’s what I do) or use it as a backup system.

Regarding the file organization itself, have:

  • A folder for every fiscal year and the following subfolders
    • For each month’s financial reports: put all regular financial reports in PDF form in the respective folder to easily access them in the future
    • Budget folder – all docs related to the current year budget
    • Memorial Letters folder – copies of all memorial acknowledgements
    • Stock Gifts and Non-Cash Gifts
    • Finance Committee meeting agendas and minutes
  • Additional folders for other major categories such as
    • Insurance
    • Contracts
    • Tax exemption docs
    • Employee Personnel Forms (tax forms, direct deposit form, etc.)
    • Finance Office Forms (all forms related to the Finance Office)
    • Building Projects & Campaigns (one folder for each one)
    • And as many other folders as necessary to group major activities and events. Caution: do not have an excessive amount of folders or you’ll spend a lot of time hunting for docs.

How you organize the folders is up to you. I organize everything by year – the budget, the monthly financial reports, the audit info, etc. are all in the folder of that fiscal year. I can find things easily if I know what fiscal year or two I’m dealing with. I can’t encourage you enough to be passionately organized about your folders – it will help you later and save loads of time.


Lead On!