The vibrant hub of life and Catholic community of Saint Rose of Lima has been a presence in their Houston, Texas, community since 1946. “The small side of medium,” by Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston standards, their parish core of 2,500 families is rapidly growing both larger and younger!
Saint Rose’s vital ministries revolve around the community’s parish, school, and early childhood center (ECC). Each is full to capacity, with a 600-person waitlist for the ECC. The beautiful gift of being in high demand led the community to recently undertake a parish and school expansion. Says Chuck Pearce, Business Administrator, “We take the lead from the community and try to follow God’s call.”
Standardized Church Management and Accounting
One component of answering God’s call has been the mindful stewardship of technology, provider and staff expertise, and collaborative standard processes to support the work of the parish. Having worked in the corporate sector and at the Chancery Office of the Archdiocese prior to joining Saint Rose’s staff, Pearce gained extensive networking and organizational experience that primed him to help in the implementation of the Archdiocese’s first standardized system of church management and accounting software for their roughly 200 parishes and schools, back in 2007-2008.
That initial software search led the Archdiocese to LOGOS, a full suite of church management and accounting desktop products that would later be brought under the ParishSOFT umbrella. Changing parish and archdiocesan needs, combined with the availability of new technology, led the Archdiocese to research new software again in 2015. They chose to stay with ParishSOFT as the provider of web-based Family Suite and Accounting products for their parishes and schools. The decision marked a renewed commitment among the teams at parishes, the Archdiocese, and ParishSOFT to continue working together toward the mission of Catholic ministry.
Conversion to ParishSOFT Family Suite and Accounting
Saint Rose of Lima helped lead the way, converting several months ahead of the rest of the Archdiocese as proof of concept” in the design and operation of the new web-based ParishSOFT system. The experience also tapped into and built upon the strong, established partnerships among the parish, the Archdiocese, and ParishSOFT – three communities of people, all working toward a common goal of supporting Catholic ministry with Catholic technology. Pearce notes of Saint Rose’s proof-of-concept conversion, “I have nothing but good things to say about our experience with the ParishSOFT Implementation Team.
The Saint Rose community transitioned onto the ParishSOFT Family Suite in February 2016, and then to ParishSOFT Accounting in August 2016. Their staff converted successfully without training (which we do not recommend!), and they ruefully comment that their success speaks to the strength of the ParishSOFT Support Team and an easy-to use system.
Learning a new system and implementing changes is an important part of any transition process. While the transition was not completely seamless for Saint Rose, improvements in operations were immediately felt. According to Pearce, “Multi-step processes have become a single step, and the programs are much more feature rich.” Staff also liked the attentive service and guidance from ParishSOFT, which helped instill confidence as the rest of the Archdiocese prepared to transition.
With Saint Rose successfully converted, Pearce and his staff continued to assist the Archdiocese’s other parishes. Online, remote access and enhanced ParishSOFT system permissions granted by the Archdiocese enabled Pearce to help parishes as they came onboard by offering both technical and application support. Partnering with the ParishSOFT Implementation Team and the Archdiocese, it was not uncommon to be working with 10 to 15 parishes per week in various stages of their conversion and implementation process. Quoting Pearce, “I can’t say enough good things about Joe [Joe Slomiany, ParishSOFT Project Manager] and the whole Implementation Team. It was a wonderful experience.
The collaborative relationship was a big advantage. As a community, we felt that support before and throughout data conversion. After our transition, we’ve continued to benefit from good customer service and product enhancements.”
Time Savings and Best Practices
For Saint Rose, the time savings and convenience of their new system have impacted parish, school and ECC functions in a positive way. For example, parents typically make school and ECC tuition payments online through Saint Rose’s tuition program. As payments come in, batch totals matching bank reconciliations are efficiently and accurately imported into the ParishSOFT system – accounting for every penny.
Staff appreciatively notes, “Under LOGOS we did a lot of keying, with ParishSOFT we do a lot of importing.”
Saint Rose of Lima parish uses their ParishSOFT system as a tool to smooth administrative processes, help staff adhere to consistent best practices for donation tracking and accounting, and, ultimately, to be good stewards of the funds intended for ministry.
In addition to appreciating online access and reduced keying, staff members are especially thankful for the flexibility of ParishSOFT Accounting to assist with budgeting. Saint Rose parish, school and ECC operate on a zero-based budget, where expenses must be justified for each new period. With this budgeting system, although each year’s budget technically stands alone, it is more effective when informed by the previous year.
ParishSOFT Accounting enables staff to export financial data out of the system down to the detail level. Once exported, it can be imported into a program of choice (Saint Rose staff use Microsoft Office Professional Plus) for additional manipulation and analysis. Once a new budget has been established, it can be re-imported into ParishSOFT Accounting. Says staff, “ParishSOFT Accounting makes this extremely easy.”
Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Community has a rich history of dedicated, faithful service to their parish, local community and the Archdiocese. By God’s grace, upheld through organizational excellence and professional aptitude, they continue to live their mission to make still more room for all to encounter the love of Christ through the witness of Catholic community. ParishSOFT is honored to be able to serve the people of Saint Rose as your technology partner!