by Mark Jones
Values that I hold as essential have been shaped by a number of sources; parents, work, friends, church and by the Bible. But the values I live by may not be the same values that others in my organization or finance area share. So I have found it important that we externalize the shared values we hold as a group of individuals who are committed to the functioning of our finance area.
At my church, we’ve written down guidelines and values for our finance function. We have these posted on our wall and every time we add a new volunteer or staff, we go over these to ensure they are understood and embraced. So, I thought I’d share what we have put together.
Handling of funds entrusted to us by others is a stewardship responsibility ultimately to God but also to those within our community and those who watch us from outside. Thus, we desire to maintain integrity in how we hand our financial affairs.
We want to follow the principle of two (dual control) and maintain accountability to another individual by ensuring segregation of duties.
- We desire to not put any one person at risk by having two independent individuals handle or review all transactions.
- When processing revenues, we use two unrelated individuals for counting and verifying receipts. Deposits are prepared by the team with a tally sheet reconciled by a person not counting. Individuals who assist with the counting team switch periodically.
- When processing accounts payables and payroll, the individual requesting payment will have the ministry leader in charge of the area approve the expenses. When the requesting individual is the ministry leader, the individual whom they report to will approve the expenses. Check (or payment) signers/approvers will not sign/approve any payment to themselves or any related family member.
- Any potential conflict of interest should be avoided, whether for related family members or when the individual has a financial or meaningful interest in the other party.
- Reconciliations shall be done by a second individual who has not requested or approved the transactions or entered the transactions into the accounting system.
- Financial reports specific to each area shall be provided monthly to the ministry leader in charge of the area. Overall financial statements shall be provided monthly to the senior pastor, finance director and treasurer. Giving summaries will be provided to the congregation as often as deemed appropriate. Financial reporting to the congregation as least annually as determined by the Elder Board.
- We will seek to maintain our accountability to those in authority over us such as governmental entities. We will attempt to comply with all requirements and regulations placed upon us and report any issues we become aware of to the appropriate party.
Ensure confidentiality of all non-public financial and private information.
- This includes all donor records, payroll records, vendors and expense payments. Any non-public information will be disclosed on a need to know basis for church business purposes only, unless granted by the individual whose information is in question or required by a governmental entity.
- We will destroy any sensitive information on a timely basis as determined by our records retention policy.