Help Keep Your Board Out of the Weeds with "Dashboard" Financial Reports

Part of The Congregational Handbook

By Renee Ruchotzke

a calculator, pen and spreadsheet

Boards have the fiduciary responsibility to make sure the overall finances of the congregation are in order and the budget is on track. But the line-item spreadsheets given to board often have too much detail and don't give related information that helps the board make sense of the information. Dashboard reports are a tool that enable the board to see -- at a glance -- if the congregation's income and expenditures are on track compared to recent history, and how the overall financial health compares historically based on the ebb and flow of spending and giving patterns over the course of a church year.

Board are more interested in trends, not details, unless things are off track. At that point they might want to dive into the details of a detailed line-item spreadsheet.

Elements of a Monthly Financial Dashboard Report

Trend Analysis

A trend analysis shows the overall year-to-date revenue and expenses compared to the budget and to three or more previous years' year-to-date numbers.

Income Analysis

Since congregations are funded primarily by the financial gifts of members, friends and visitors, tracking these numbers enables the board to notice if there is a drop or increase in giving.

Ratio of Assets to Liabilities

Some debt is healthy in a congregation, but too much debt, or an unexplained increase in debt can be a warning sign.


There may be other considerations, trends or patterns that don't show up in the numbers that can be explained in the notes.

 Download this sample template (Word).

About the Author

Renee Ruchotzke

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) is a Congregational Life Consultant and program manager for Leadership Development.

For more information contact .