If I’m looking for answers to the question above, I’m going one place first…for two reasons. That place is the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).
One reason is because ECFA President Dan Busby and Vice President John Van Drunen are experts on matters like this. The other reason is because I have the privilege of addressing this topic with Dan and John in an upcoming ECFA webinar.
To lay some groundwork for our webinar discussion, I emailed these two experts a couple questions related to the topic. Here’s how they responded.
Mark: What are some “worst practices” to avoid when handling church finances?
Dan and John: If you are a church treasurer, avoid:
- Counting the offerings yourself. Try to have two other people count all offerings.
- Paying or reimbursing expenses without adequate substantiation.
- Putting off reconciling the bank account. Reconcile monthly.
- Signing a blank check and giving it to someone to make a purchase for the church.
- Vesting all financial management authority in one person (if possible). This can place a volunteer in a compromising position if allegations are made, regardless of the trustworthiness of that volunteer.
Mark: If there’s a CPA or tax expert in the congregation, is it wise to tap into their expertise on these issues?
Dan and John: A tax professional will often provide needed expertise as the church treasurer or by serving on a finance committee. So yes, having a volunteer with specialized expertise is often a real bonus for a church. It is wise to have this person work with others in the congregation who can step into the role in case he or she needs to relocate suddenly. This can also prevent burning someone out in their volunteer service.
If you’d like to join Dan, John, and me for this webinar, it’s titled 5 Basic Financial Issues for the Small Church Treasurer. We’ll be presenting from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (PT) on Thursday, April 4, 2013.
For more information and to register, visit www.eccu.org/ecfa-webinar.