Churches with a facility know the complexity of tracking assets like HVAC systems, asphalt slurry, carpet, lighting, etc. Even churches without a facility have assets like computers, printers, copiers, appliances, etc. But often, churches wonder what assets they should track, to what level, how they can track them, and why.
Why Track Assets
An asset is anything of value the church owns, like property, buildings, computers, audio and video equipment, etc. The Statement of Financial Position report shows the value of the assets. While financial transparency remains a primary reason to track the church’s assets, there are other considerations, like:
- Maintenance: Large assets like HVAC units require routine maintenance to prolong the life and efficiency of these expensive units. Tracking assets allows the church to keep accurate records of the maintenance performed and repair recommendations. A complete maintenance history of the units, regardless of the vendor(s) used, can help identify a failing unit.
- Ownership/Location: Occasionally, churches need to reassign laptops, tablets, and even desktop computers as people or events come and go. Tracking assets provides the church with accurate information regarding the ownership and location of the devices.
- Insurance: What happens when equipment is lost or stolen, or worse, an event happens that destroys part or all of the facility? Tracking the assets provides the church with essential information about the equipment vital for insurance claims or police reports.
How to Track Assets
As someone who loves numbers, spreadsheets have been a faithful and trusted tool. I’ve often joked that if necessary, I could land a plane just using Excel. It seemed like a natural fit when I started my role in full-time ministry; each time I discovered a need, I created a spreadsheet to solve it, like tracking the church’s assets. After a few years, I realized that the process of tracking assets was more important than the tool. Here are a few tips:
Define the Asset Types: Churches need to spend the time to define general categories like IT Equipment, Audio/Visual Equipment, Mechanical, Building, etc., and then develop appropriate sub-categories like laptop, desktop, or tablet for IT Equipment. Establishing the right categories and developing sub-categories allows the church to find and track assets easily.
Determine the Asset Value: It doesn’t make sense for the church to track everything it purchases as an asset. The church should designate a dollar amount and only track items at or above the designated amount. For example, don’t inventory and track keyboards, mice, etc.
Establish Tracking Requirements: Any item that meets the dollar amount criteria needs an asset tag that identifies the item. Once tagged, include the following information for each item:
- Date of purchase
- Purchase Price
- Make, model, and description
- Serial number
Track Assignment, Reassignment, and Removal: When the asset is assigned, reassigned, or removed from inventory, updating the asset tracking tool is essential to maintain accurate records. A strong policy that enforces the ownership of assets helps maintain the data’s integrity.
Management: I can’t remember where I heard this, but the fastest way to starve a dog is to assign several people to feed it. Assign someone to own the processes of asset management. This person doesn’t need to do the data entry but needs to own the process.
Whether it’s to track the maintenance of mechanical equipment or to determine who currently has the laptop, managing church assets is a necessity that requires forethought and diligence. Churches should take the time to establish processes and procedures to keep track of their assets; it’s good stewardship.short url: