Ratliff & Associates

Ratliff & Associates is a certified public accounting firm specializing in services to churches and religious organizations. R&A has been serving churches for over twenty years with clients principally in the Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth area. Located in Fort Worth, Texas, R&A has six staff auditors and two contract auditors available to serve their clients: over eighty churches located from Washington state to Pennsylvania, Maryland and Georgia. Clients have revenue bases from as little as $300,000 to over $100 million and include a seminary, televangelists, mega-churches and denominational conferences.

The firm was founded by John Ratliff, who felt called by God to serve as a church administrator. He found no vacancies in that position, but got a call from a local mega-church whose Big Eight audit firm had ceased auditing churches. They asked Ratliff if he would perform the audit, and having served as an auditor with Arthur Andersen for nine years, he was happy to oblige. While he was auditing the mega-church, other smaller churches called to inquire who their auditor was, as they too needed that service. The call from God was not to serve only one church, but to serve many churches as an auditor, advisor and consultant. Thus Ratliff & Associates was birthed.

R&A’s main service is an audit in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This is the highest and best report from an auditor. It requires testing procedures and verifying balances of assets and liabilities. An alternative service is a review, which gives the church a set of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. It is accompanied by inquiries and analysis to support the integrity of the financial statements. A lesser level of assurance is through a compilation, which is merely drafting financial statements from material provided by the client with very little additional work.

R&A offers a wide range of non-attest services. Many times they receive calls from churches stating they need an audit, but an exploration of their real needs reveals that what they really want is someone to tell them their internal procedures are sound and that they are in compliance with laws and regulations. While an audit addresses these concerns, the audit procedures are not as detailed as a system and procedure review. R&A performs system and procedure reviews and identifies weaknesses and how procedures can be strengthened in order to comply with laws and regulations. These consulting services are less expensive than an audit.

R&A staff are intimately familiar with the popular church softwares: Shelby, ACS, QuickBooks, Servant Keeper, Fellowship One, and many others. Because their staff audits churches year round, they are well acquainted with church procedures. Their clients do not have to “train the auditors” in church accounting and procedures. Another advantage is that clients can call and receive advice on many church-related issues, such as contribution receipting, housing allowances, expense documentation, and many others, without receiving a bill.

A frequent question R&A receives is “How can an accounting firm from Fort Worth be cost-effective with the travel cost to Houston?” When R&A receives an engagement, they request many documents electronically and perform much of their work in their office before the field visit. This reduces the amount of time spent in clients’ offices and concentrates field time on the examination of documents and inspections required under generally accepted audit standards. It also allows clients to respond to inquiries without interference with their daily responsibilities. R&A strives to be minimally disruptive to their clients’ daily routines.

Churches have audits because (1) it is required under a loan covenant with a bank, (2) it demonstrates good stewardship and transparency, and (3) it is a best practice for any organization.

If you are interested in discussing an audit, or you are looking to rotate auditors after using the same one for many years, please contact one of R&A’s shareholders below:

John Ratliff

Ashley Voss

Website: http://ratliffcpas.com.