It’s a crazy time of the year in the church office (and all around the church) getting ready for the year-end and new year festivities, preparations, reports, decorations, and events. So instead of some long-winded paragraphs that require focus, we’ve decided to compile a list of not-exactly “our favorite things” but of some useful pointers for protecting the church’s money.
It’s never a fun subject, we don’t like to think about it, and we certainly don’t want to think about it happening at “our church”, but the importance of proper cash-handling procedures and appropriate checks and balances cannot be understated. So here are our quick-read receipts, disbursements, and general pointers.
- Division of Duties – In the handling of cash, no individual or couple is to have complete control in the handling of cash. Specifically, there is to be a separation of duties in the actual handling of money, recording the transactions, and reconciling the bank accounts. Employees or volunteers handling cash are to be assigned duties that are complementary to or checked by another employee or volunteer.
- Incoming cash is to be made a matter of record as soon as possible.
- Mail is to be opened by two persons. Remittances by mail are to be listed in duplicate at the time the mail is opened – the listing to be made by someone other than the one opening the mail.
- Amounts of currency contained in each item are to be verified and stamped with the date.
- A secure area for the processing and safeguarding of cash received is to be provided with restricted access.
- Cash is to be protected by the use of registers, safes, or locks and kept in areas of limited access.
- The cash receiving function is to be centralized to the extent possible.
- A balance and summary of all receipts is to be prepared, any shortages or overages to be carefully investigated and corrected.
- Receipts are to be deposited daily or as soon as feasible.
- A person other than the cashier or receivable bookkeeper is to make the bank deposit.
- Cash receipts retained on the premises overnight are to be minimized and locked up in a secure place, such as a safe.
- Cashiers are prohibited from cashing personal checks from proceeds.
- Written procedures are to be maintained.
- The disbursement responsibility is to be clearly documented.
- Disbursements are to be handled to ensure that the correct funds are charged.
- Controls are to be established to assure that all payments are made on a timely basis.
- Original invoices are to be attached to each voucher before payment.
- The person disbursing the money should not be the same person who handles incoming monies.
- Each disbursement is to be approved by the proper authority.
- Counter signatures on checks are to be considered.
- Blank checks are to be stored in a secure location.
- W-2s are to be distributed by personnel other than the employees connected with the preparation of payroll.
- Detailed records of hours worked are to be maintained and approved.
- Payroll charges including fringe benefits should be recorded and distributed accurately and promptly.
- Written procedures should be established regarding sick leave, vacations, holidays, overtime, compensatory time, and stand-by time.
- Accounting records are to be neat and in proper order.
- Accounting records are to be kept current.
- Employees are to take periodic vacations and their work is then to be performed by another employee.
- Internal audits are to be performed regularly.
It is truly our hope that consideration of the tips above can help prevent the unthinkable for your church.
On a much happier note, your Friends at Church Windows Software wish your congregation and your family the merriest of Christmases. We’ll talk with you in 2015!