Taking accounting to church with Greg Daley from Parable

  • Greg Daley, Chief Visionary of Parable, shares how his team best serves his niche clientele: churches.

  • Parable helps churches become more efficient with their money, allowing them to drive more funding toward their missions and better serve their communities.

  • Greg plans to expand Parable’s reach from its current 230 clients to 1,000 clients in the next 10 years. He aims to employ a mix of online marketing and in-person networking with church founders.

Not everyone is cut out to work with their spouse. But for Greg Daley and his wife, Jessica, their work as leaders of their accounting firm, Parable, is harmonious.

Jessica founded Parable in 2011 as a way to make income as a stay-at-home mom. With her accounting and business background, she found that a bookkeeping business accommodated the demands of motherhood. And after Greg joined the company in 2015, Parable became a full-fledged family business. How have they kept the peace in the business?

“Our relationship is unique in the sense that we don't really cross over on our skill sets that much. We don't step on each other's toes. We both have just complementary things, and we kind of stay in our lanes,” Greg explains.

Now, Parable is in a place where he and Jessica have been able to step back. They’re currently taking a sabbatical while their three oldest children finish high school. But instead of a sabbatical, they describe the experience as being ‘down the hall’. For Greg and Jessica, that means being available as needed, but mostly checking in on a quarterly basis to weigh in on big issues.

Before Greg joined Parable, he was a pastor, and he and Jessica were—and still are—members of the church community. It’s fitting that Parable’s focus is helping churches place every dollar on their mission, so they can do what they do best.

Karbon CEO and host Stuart McLeod chats with Greg on episode 54 of the Accounting Leaders Podcast, where they cover how Parable serves its clients, Greg’s plans for growing the firm from 230 to 1,000 clients, and the incredible impact he sees when churches work their money right. 

Taking clients on a journey

Greg’s found many cases where Parable’s work saves a church so much money that they’re able to put more into their mission.

Beyond saving clients money, Greg also wants to delight clients throughout the process. This means addressing the church’s growth strategy and how Parable can help them achieve their goals. 

“We look at it as a journey,” Greg explains. “We ask ‘What does success look like for the next year of working together so that there's continuous improvement?’” 

Our next phase is scaling strategic services. I'm not interested in offering it to only a couple of our clients. I would ideally like everyone to be able to access it.
Greg Daley, Parable

Spreading the word

The growth strategies that have moved Parable from a single client to 230 include:

  • Client referrals

  • Accounting firm acquisition

Just in the last year, Parable acquired a smaller accounting practice that serves churches. But Greg wasn’t overly fond of that experience and isn’t eager to acquire other small practices.

With their sights set on 1,000 churches in the next 10 years, Parable plans to get more aggressive about finding clients. That involves understanding the types of churches that are a good fit for their model. Greg breaks Parable’s clients down into three different categories:

  • Church startups: They want to do things right from the beginning and typically collect less than $2 million in revenue.

  • More than $2 million in revenue: This is an inflection point of restructuring, where systems need to change to accommodate the increased revenue.

  • Older, established churches: These churches use antiquated paper systems. Their main concern is using new technology for more efficient accounting. 

With over 380,000 churches in the US, there’s no shortage of a market for Parable’s services. Greg plans to capture them by adding a few new tactics and ideas to his toolbox:

  • Online marketing campaigns to draw in new clients

  • Networking within the church community at church-based conferences, as well as the accounting community

  • Potentially releasing a book on accounting for churches

Recommended reading: How we turned a cancellation call into improved customer service

Virtual, but together

Parable guides itself on a handful of carefully selected values, one of which is remote work. But Parable’s history with remote work long predates COVID. 

In 2016, one of Parable’s key employees (and now COO) relocated to another state. Rather than lose her to her physical move, the whole company went virtual. 

“Having one remote worker and everyone else meeting in person just doesn't really work. We adopted Zoom before it was cool,” Greg shares of the company’s transition. 

For about half of Parable’s 11-year history, the company has been remote. Because of that, they made it part of their values.

One of our values is virtual, but together. Even with our clients.
Greg Daley, Parable

Having that sense of fellowship with Parable’s clients is important, particularly when there are clients in 42 states. 

Another way Parable fosters that sense of community is by worshiping together. When Parable employees travel for fun, they often stop in to worship at some of their clients’ churches, further building connections both internally and externally.

The snowball effect

Every dollar that Parable is able to save means a church can take another step toward its mission.

Greg shares a story of one church that used its newfound funds to create a comprehensive program for people experiencing homelessness. They remodeled their food bank distribution center to create a luxury grocery shopping experience. The church was even able to add showers and clothing distribution. 

“Your role in that is pivotal,” Stuart tells Greg on the podcast. “Without your passion and your mission-driven organization, they're not able to help as many people and create these beautiful spaces.”

Greg agrees, adding that with each of the 230 churches Parable serves, there’s a whole community that feels the impact of those redirected dollars.

“If I can help churches be more sustainable in their growth, that creates a life-giving community wherever they are,” Greg reflects.

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