Thank you for reading the Shepherd’s Staff Year-End Document! This document is not something you have to complete all at once, and in fact, the year end process usually starts a few months before the actual end of the year. However, if you didn't get started a few months before, no worries. This document will take you through all the steps to performing your year end in Shepherd's Staff, to make sure your church gets the new year started right.
Throughout this document, there will be links to other articles that will explain how to perform the task that is being described. Click on the link, and it will take you to that article to explain in more depth how you can perform that task.
If you prefer to browse year-end articles by module, feel free to visit our Year End Resources.
Start by completing these initial steps as early as October or November if you’re ready. You can do the following at any time and in any order:
Update the information from the past year, including, but not limited to:
- Addresses for members who have moved
- Birthdays for new members or children born
- Baptism dates, wedding dates, etc.
- Activity, Skills and Training
You can enter pledges for the next year at any time; however, to avoid potential issues, it's a good idea to make sure you enter pledges before entering offerings for the new year.
To enter pledges:
- Open the Contributions module
- Click Records, then Pledges
- Click Add
- Select the contributor's name
- Select the fund, amount, frequency and date range
- If you are finished adding pledges, click OK to close this pledge; if not, click Add Again to enter another pledge
Once you've entered your pledges, you can print a report of the pledges for the upcoming year:
- While still in Contributions, click Reports
- Select Pledge Listing
- Click Select
- Click the Settings tab
- Make sure all contributors is selected on the left
- Select the type of report
- Note: A Summary report does not include names; a Detail report does include them
- Choose the last day of the year for the Pledge to Date and Given to Date (e.g., 12/31/XXXX)
- Enter your active pledge range
- Select the way you want to sort
- Make sure All Funds is selected
- Click Preview
You can renumber envelopes alphabetically or by keeping your members with their current envelope numbers:
- Make a backup of your database
- Go into Contributions
- Click on Records, then Contributors (this will open your contributor grid)
- Click the Unlock button in the lower right of the grid (this will unlock the grid to allow you to make changes)
- For everyone who is not going to receive an envelope next year, check the box for them in the "Skip Renum.?" Column.
- Once this is complete, click the Lock button in the lower right corner of the grid and close this window.
- Click Utilities, then Renumber Envelopes
Now, select the option you'd like to use for renumbering:
Option A - Keep Current Numbers
Use the "Current Year" envelope number for "Next Year's" envelope number. All contributors will keep their current number except for those you've marked as "skipped" using the "Skip Renum.?" option in the contributor grid.
Option B - Renumber Alphabetically
Assign "Next Year's" envelope numbers alphabetically, except for those people you've marked as "skipped" using the "Skip Renum.?" option in the contributor grid. For example, Aames = 1, Adams = 2.
- When this process is complete, click OK
- Click Records
- Click Contributors to open the grid and you'll notice the numbers in the Next Year's Envelopes have been renumbered.
Note: Contributors marked "Skip Re-num.?" will be given a number of 10,000 or higher by the system. This is done to take them out of your currently used envelope numbers, but still leave them in the system so that their contributions are not deleted.
There is a third option for renumbering your envelopes, if you've already written out a custom list of envelopes that wouldn't be covered by any of these automated renumbering processes.
Option C - Custom Numbering System
Use a custom number system to renumber your envelopes
- Make a backup of your database
- Go to Contributions
- Click Records, then Contributors (this will bring up the contributor grid)
- Click Unlock in the lower right (this will allow you to make changes to the grid)
- For everyone who is not going to receive an envelope next year, check the box for them in the Skip Renum.? column
- Once this is complete, click the Lock button in the lower right and close this window.
- Click Utilities, then Renumber Envelopes
- Select Assign Next Year's envelope numbers alphabetically
- In the Start with box, select a number that is far outside your range of envelope numbers, but below 10,000 (for example, if your envelopes run 1-350, select 5000)
- When asked if you are sure you want to renumber, answer Yes.
- When the process is complete, click OK
- Re-open the Contributors grid by clicking on Records and then Contributors
- Click the Unlock button in the lower right corner of the grid (this will unlock the grid, allowing you to make changes)
- Start with the first person on the list and enter their custom number in next year's column
- Continue down the grid, clicking Lock once you are finished
The reason we renumber the envelopes to 5000 and up first is that this avoids any conflict in numbers. Shepherd's Staff will not allow you to assign two different giving units to the same envelope number, even if it's a temporary change while you're re-assigning envelope numbers. By assigning everyone to 5000 and up, this will let you freely change envelope numbers on people without the worry of having two different giving units being on the same number.
Tip: When you are ready to activate your envelope numbers, do so by choosing Utilities, then Start Using Next Year's Envelope Numbers. Please note that as soon as you click Yes, the new envelope numbers will be activated. Therefore, this part of the renumbering process should not be completed until you have entered all contributions for your previous year and printed contribution statements. Please be sure to make a backup of your database and print a current listing of envelopes before you run this utility.
At the end of the year, if you'd like to have hard copies of any reports to file away for your church, the year end is the right time to do this. Typically, to make sure you get a full year's worth of information, you would want to run these reports after the calendar year has closed, and you've entered all the data for that year. (Added and removed all people who have joined/left your church for the year, post all attendance and contribution batches, and entered all transactions for 2019.) Adjust this list as needed for your church, so if your church doesn't record pledges, you don't need to run off a report with pledge information on it.
- Final Denominational Reports (You only need to run the report(s) that are relevant to your denomination)
- Congregation Annual Report (LCMS)
- Congregation Annual Report (ELCA)
- Congregation Statistics Report (WELS)
- United Methodist Tables I, II & III Report
- United Methodist Officers Report
- Presbyterian Statistical Report—PCA
- Presbyterian Statistical Report—PC(USA)
- Annual Church Profile Report
- Annual Church Ministries Report
- Youth List (LCMS)
- Parochial Report
- Church Statistics
- Attendance by Event for the year
- Attendance by Person/Week (Formerly known as the weekly attendance pattern report)
- Contributions by Week
- Fund Summary for the Year
- Contributions by Contributor/Fund/Household (w/Pledge Summary)
- Recurring Offering Templates (Distribute to contributors, if needed)
- Pledge Listing Report (Summary by Fund)
Verify that you reports and account figures are correct. If not, make any necessary changes, and reprint the relevant reports. Repeat this process until your data is accurate.
Rebuild & Backup Your Database
Running a database rebuild and backing up your database are key parts of your year end process. The database rebuild is regular maintenance that you run on your Shepherd's Staff database that keeps it running smoothly, and making a backup at the year end ensures you have a snapshot of your church's data at the end of the year, in case you ever need to reference the data that your church had at that particular point in the future.
Go to Utilities on the main screen of Shepherd's Staff and click "Rebuild and optimize this database."
Note: Make sure that everyone has logged out of Shepherd's Staff prior to running the Rebuild and Optimize database utility.
Go to Utilities on the main screen of Shepherd's Staff and click on Database Backup and Restore. At the next screen, you'll have a few options for where you can make your backup. If you want to select the location directly, use the button that says "A location I will choose after clicking "Start backup". This will let you choose the exact location where you want your backup. The option for "The Last Location used" will place the backup in the same location you saved your last backup you made on the computer you're using. The last option, "A previous location" will show you a drop list of locations you've saved to in the past, and you can select one of those spots to save to again.
Also, down at the bottom of the page, if you're a registered Shepherd's Staff customer with an active support contract, you'll have the option to send a copy of your backup to CTS. By doing checking this box, when you make your backup, it will send a copy of that backup to Concordia Technology Solutions, and in the case of a catastrophic loss of data, we can send you a backup of your data.
Once you've made your choice of how you'd like to save your backup, choose "Start Backup" and this will create your backup. If you chose the "A location I will choose after clicking "Start Backup"" you will then need to select where you want to make your backup to. It is important that you do not change the name of the backup file, as your backup will not save properly if the name is changed. Once you've selected the location you want to save to, click the "Save" button in the bottom right hand corner of the window. This will save your backup. If you're using the "Last Location I used" option, after you click "Start backup" your back up will be made immediately. If you use the "A previous location" option, select the location you want to back up to from the drop list, and then click start backup, and your backup will be made immediately.
Tip: We suggest storing at least one backup on-site and another off-site for safe keeping.
Check Information & Run Utilities
Shepherd's Staff no longer requires running a year-end utility in the Contributions module to advance to the next fiscal year.
At the end of the year, it's best practice to ensure you have, in order:
- Entered and Posted all batches for the year
- Printed and distributed contribution statements
- Made any necessary changes for statements
- Renumbered Envelopes
To print your Contribution Statements for the year, in the contributions module, go into reports, and choose "Statements and Mailing Labels". From here, in the who section, you'll select who you're running the report for. Generally, at the end of the year, you'll want to run the report for all contributors, as this will generate a report for anyone who gave during the year. In the "What" section, set your "Offerings from" dates to reflect the date range you want to run the statements for. You have the option of including contributors who didn't give during the date range by checking the box for "Include those who did not give during the date range" and you can use an active alternate address on the statements by checking the box for "Alternate address if active". This will use the alternate mailing address for a person if it's currently being used.
Next, in the options section, for year end statements, you'll want the statements to be itemized, to show each offering a person gave. Check the box for "Itemize offerings" and if you want these offerings to be sorted by fund, check the "Group by fund" option, and all of the offerings will be split into their appropriate funds. Also, if you want to show the pledge information, you'll need to check the "Group by pledge within fund". You have to check the "Group by fund" box for the "Group by pledge within fund" to be active. You can also show the special descriptions that were added to offerings throughout the year by checking the "Include special description" box. Finally, if you do not want to show the year to date total on the offering statement, check the box to say "Do not show YTD total".
You can also choose if you want your statements to print out in Envelope Number, Alphabetical order or by zip code by choosing Sort by Envelope, Name or Zip/Postal Code respectively. The "Message" box allows you to include an additional message on your statements, typically this is used for tax purposes, but you can include any type of message you want. To add a message to this list, click the "Message" button down at the bottom of the window, and click the Add button. From here, in the "Message Name" box, fill in the name of the message, which is what will appear in the message drop list. Then, fill in what you want to appear in the message that will appear on the statement in the "Message" box. When you're finished, click OK, and then you can select the message you created from the list.
Lastly, you can set your Pledge terminology. If you want to use a term other than Pledge (if you're using pledges), you can select the option you want from the drop list, or use your own term by selecting the "(user defined term)" option from the drop list, and filling in the term you want to use in the "User-defined term" box to the right of the drop list. Then, in the "Ahead (Behind)" box, you can choose how you want to show if someone is ahead or behind on their pledge. Once you've finished all this, you can preview your statements by clicking "Preview". From here, you can review your statements, and when finished, you can click print to print your statements out.
If you want to permanently delete old information from Contributions, you can run the Clean-up Utility at this time. This is not a mandatory step of the year-end process. Please make a backup prior to running this utility, as it cannot otherwise be undone. To run the clean up utility, open the Contributions module, and close all windows within the contribution module. Then, click on Utilities at the top of the window and choose 'Clean-up". You will be asked if you've made a backup. Confirm that you have made a backup, and then, you'll be presented a window with a single checkbox to delete all Pledges and offerings prior to 1/1/20XX (XX being 10 years prior to the current year). Click OK, and all offerings and pledges that are older than 10 years old will be permanently deleted from your database.
Once you've added and posted all batches, ran the envelope renumbering utility, and printed out your contribution statements for your givers, and you're ready to record the first offerings of the new year, you will need to run the Start Using Next Year's Envelope Numbers utility. You cannot have any unposted contribution batches when you run this utility. Please make backup prior to running this utility, as it cannot otherwise be undone. To run this utility, open the contributions module, and close all open windows within the contributions module. Then, at the top of the window, click "Utilities" and choose "Start using Next Year's Envelope numbers. You'll then be asked if you want to activate your "Next Year's" envelope numbers. Click yes, and this will make your next year's envelope numbers active and they will become your current envelope numbers.
Shepherd's Staff no longer requires running a year-end utility in the Attendance module to advance to the next fiscal year.
If you want to permanently delete old information from Attendance, you can choose to run the Clean-up Utility at this time. This is not a mandatory step of the year-end process. Please make a backup prior to running this utility, as it cannot otherwise be undone.
Shepherd's Staff no longer requires running a year-end utility in the Membership module to advance to the next fiscal year.
While there is no formal process at the end of the year, you will want to make sure the following have been completed:
- All Membership Data for the year has been entered
- Print Congregational Reports
- Print Church Statistics Report
If you want to remove old information from Membership, you can run the Clean-up utility at this time. Or, you can simply move on to the next module. If you choose to run utility, the Shepherd's Staff support team suggests keeping at least five (5) years of historical membership data in the system. Please make a backup prior to running this utility, as it cannot otherwise be undone.
Shepherd's Staff no longer requires running a year-end utility in the Scheduler module to advance to the next fiscal year.
If you want to permanently delete old information from Scheduler, you can run the Clean-up utility at this time. Or, you can simply move on to the next module.
If you wish to delete old events, follow these steps:
Finance is the only module that requires running a year-end utility to advance the fiscal year. Before you run the year end utility, make sure you've done the following:
- Reconcile bank accounts (All previous year transactions do not have to be cleared, but you want to make sure you've finished your reconciliation for the last month of your fiscal year.)
- Verify all Checks, Deposits, and Journal Entries for the year have been entered
- Print Reports
- Verify your reports and account figures are correct; if not, make any necessary changes then reprint reports, repeating this process until your data is accurate
Performing the Year-End Process in Finance
- Create a Backup
- In finance, run a rebalance
- Run the Finance Year-End Utility.
- Run the rebalance utility again
Note: If you wish to delete old Finance information, use the Clean-up utility in the Finance module. This utility gives you the option to permanently delete transactions, inactive accounts, inactive vendors, account summaries and purchase orders. This utility also allows you to renew recurrent transactions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I really need to make a backup before completing the year-end process?
A: Definitely. The best way to protect against any accidental data loss is to make a backup. A backup is your only method of recovery in case something goes awry. Consider backing up to a USB flash drive.
Note: It is important to make two (2) backups and store one of the backups off site.
Q: I have renumbered envelopes in the Contributions module but the new envelope numbers did not take effect. Why did my envelope numbers not update properly?
A: There is a utility in Contributions named "Start Using Next Year's Envelope Numbers" that you will need to run in order for the envelope numbers to take effect.
Remember, you can renumber envelopes at any time during the year, but the new numbers will not take effect until you run the Start Using Next Year's Envelope Numbers utility. Before you run this utility, ensure that all batches are posted and print giving statements so the current year's envelope numbers appear on the statement.
Q: Can I post offering batches for the New year if I have not finished everything for the prior year?
A: Yes, you can, if you are using the same envelope numbers in the new year that you used in the previous one. Shepherd's Staff will recognize the date of the posted batch and show the offerings accurately based on date.
Q: Will the current version of Shepherd's Staff allow me to enter pledges into the system for the upcoming year prior to this year ending?
A: Yes, pledges for the upcoming year can be entered into Shepherd's Staff prior to the start of the new year. We recommend doing so. It is important that the pledges are entered before offering batches are posted for that pledge period. If the pledges are entered after the related offerings are posted, please run the Recalculate Pledges utility located under the Utilities menu in the Contributions module. When entering your pledges, do not make the mistake of editing an existing pledge for the current year and changing the date range. This will cause your future statement reports to have incorrect given-to-date totals. Whenever you receive a new pledge card, a new pledge should be created in Shepherd's Staff.
Q: Is it necessary to delete removed persons from my database, removing their records from Membership, Attendance and Contributions?
A: Whether or not to delete data at Year End in Membership is ultimately a question left up to each church. In some cases, it is convenient for a church to delete data related to all the people who have left the church. For other churches, it is just as important to keep records of those who are no longer active members at the church. Shepherd's Staff is flexible enough to work either way.
Q: My church has opted to not delete removed persons from our data. Now, when reports are run, the remove people keep showing up on my reports. How do I keep them off those reports?
A: It depends a little bit on the report being generated. On some reports, like the church directory or mailing labels report, there is a checkbox under Settings for the report labeled No Removed Persons. Marking that will keep all removed persons off the report. Some reports do not have this checkbox, but you can use a subgroup to keep removed people from appearing. Typically, this involves adding the criteria to a dynamic subgroup of Removed by is blank. which ensures that no one matching on the subgroup is marked as removed. If you need assistance creating or editing a dynamic subgroup to exclude removed persons, please contact Shepherd's Staff support. We'd be happy to help!
Q: I am trying to print some of my monthly financial reports for the new year and they are not showing the correct balances. What is causing the balances to show incorrectly?
A: If the year-end process for the prior year has not been completed in the Finance module, users will not see any totals for the new year on the balance sheet report, dedicated accounts report, or the statement of income and expense report.
Q: The treasurer has not closed the Finance module for the previous year. Can I still enter checks, deposits, and journal entries for the new year?
A: Yes, you can. Enter these transactions for the new year will not affect your balances for the previous year. The transactions will also show accurately on any reports for the new year once the year-end process is completed.
October-December 20xx (when ready)
- Update Membership information
- Renumber next year's envelopes
- Enter Pledges for next year
After January 1, 20xx (preliminary year-end steps)
- Enter and post all Contribution offering batches for the year
- Enter and post all Attendance records/batches
- Ensure all transactions in Finance have been entered/voided/etc.
- Reconcile bank accounts
- Print all necessary reports
Year-End Process in Finance
- Run Database Rebuild
- Create two (2) backups
- Run Rebalance
- Run Finance Year-End
- Run Rebalance Again
- Run Clean-up utility, if desired.
Year-End Process in Contributions
- Create two (2) backups
- Print Contribution Statements
- Run the "Start Using Next Year's Envelopes" utility
- Run Clean-up utility, if desired.
Year-End Process in Membership
- Create two (2) backups
- Run Annual Report and Church Statistics
- Run Clean-up utility, if desired
Year-End Process in Attendance
- Create two (2) backups
- Run any desired attendance reports
- Run Clean-up utility, if desired