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There should be clear separation of duties between those responsible for handling and recording the income of the congregation and those responsible for handling the disbursements of the congregation. A strong system of internal controls safeguards the assets of the congregation and protects the character of the individuals handling cash or writing checks. The congregation should operate under the same standards and safeguards as a good business operation. This includes written policies and procedures for key responsibilities.

1. Immediately following the service, two people carry the contents of the offering plates to a secure room for counting or placing in an adequate safe for counting the following day. Church funds or offerings should never be taken to a private residence for counting.

2. The envelopes are immediately opened by at least two people. Envelopes are marked as to intent and purpose if for other than undesignated offerings.

3. Balances between envelope totals and cash and check totals are reconciled.

4. A summary report outlining the various accounts income is to be credited to must be prepared and initialed by at least two people.

5. A deposit slip is prepared and the deposit taken to the bank promptly.

6. Copies of the deposit slip and the summary report are given to the treasurer and to the financial secretary.

7. Individuals responsible for handling offerings and deposits should be rotated periodically. It is best if the treasurer and the financial secretary are not personally involved in the process.

8. The term of office served by the treasurer should be limited to a specific period of time. The successor to the treasurer should not be from individuals of the same family nor should this office be rotated between the same individuals serving as financial secretary and treasurer.

9. There should be clear segregation of duties and the people involved in handling income should not be involved in handling of expenditures.

10.Funds collected from other activities (fundraisers, special events, etc.) should be directed to those responsible for recording and making bank deposits of these funds. Copies of the deposit slip and summary report are given to the treasurer and financial secretary.

11.Members should be encouraged to make their offering by check or electronic payments, not cash.

12.Congregations should send out quarterly giving reports.

Source: ELCA
Reprinted with the permission of the ELCA
Treasurers Financial and Accounting Guide

 

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

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