Although Maggie Biggs has been helping the Iowa Annual Conference with its finances in various ways for twenty years, on August 1 she took on her most significant role yet as the new Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services for the Conference.
“It’s a privilege to serve the Conference in a new way,” says Biggs, who has an accounting degree and her CPA license. She describes herself as both excited and a little scared, given the number of responsibilities that the position entails, but having served as an accountant and comptroller for the Conference, she is certainly a good match for the job. “I’ve worked in the non-profit area all of the time that I’ve been an accountant, so I do bring the non-profit piece also to the Conference,” she points out.
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“I have been here for 20 years, so I’ve been around a long time. But I haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people, which is something I’m looking forward to,” she says. “I intend to do the very best job that I can do, and I look forward to meeting lots of new people and getting lots of new experiences.”
Taking on a New Role
“The treasurer deals with all of the boards and agencies of the Annual Conference in dealing with the budget,” explains Biggs. Other duties include handling church properties (whether it’s an abandoned church or the episcopal residence) and handling the Conference’s investments. “Not only the Iowa Conference investments and cash flow reserves and such, but also dealing with the Board of Pensions and their investments and it relating to the financial side of the Board of Pensions,” she notes.
In addition to working more with the various boards (Council on Finance and Administration, Board of Trustees, etc.) to deal with the financial needs and assets of the church, Biggs’ new job as treasurer also has her interacting more with the treasurers of local churches. “Any resource that’s needed, as far as the local churches and the questions that they have, is an area that we are trying to do the best we can to get answers, or to direct them to other places where they can get resources.”
No treasurer is an island, and Biggs is fortunate to have a great team working with and around her that includes administrative assistants, fellow accountants, and information technology personnel who help keep things running smoothly. The Treasurer’s Office handles a great deal of money, including cash and checks coming in and out, so showing the utmost care of these funds is vital to maintaining the public’s trust.
“One thing our department is always dealing with is the process – how we handle funds and making sure we have good internal controls when we deal with all of these things, so we are good stewards of the monies that come into us from the Conference and the local churches,” says Biggs. “So we are very cognizant of how we process things.”
While Biggs is settling into her new role, the Conference still needs to fill her old one.
“There is a gap at the moment. We will be hiring a comptroller, but of course this will take some time. Our previous treasurer finished his duties in the end of May, so we’ve kind of been piecing together the work and dealing with a number of things here in between until we get someone hired. And of course it will take them quite awhile to become familiar with the Conference and the Conference finances, because they are unique. It’s not the regular business world where we’re dealing with just normal finances. This is non-profit accounting, so it’s kind of unique.”
Given these transitions, and what has generally been a busy summer at the Conference center, Biggs hopes that people will be patient if it takes a little bit longer than usual to reply to them. “Just understanding that it takes awhile to become accustomed to new duties and new areas of the Conference,” she explains. But more than anything, she says, “Some prayers sent this way would be appreciated.”