Finance: The Audit

The church audit can feel like testing the ice to see if it’s thick enough to hold your weight. “You want me to test the church finances to see if they’re sound? Not me. Find someone else.” It’s just a scary thing to take on…especially when there seems like a lot of down side if things go wrong. Guess what, avoiding the audit is what should really make you scared.

You don’t have to be a CPA to do a church audit. You don’t have to have a balanced check book to do a church audit. The main thing is that you love your church, you’re willing to ask good questions, and you have the curiosity to be able to verify the answers. In the video I explain the process. Below in the links there is an Audit Checklist. I’ve used this a number of times with churches to make this a super easy process that really does benefit the church by building trust and pushing for improvement.

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How should my church count the offering?

I hope and believe that most churches have this down pat. They are a fine tuned machine for getting money from the offering plate to the counters to the bank. But, if you are unsure or if you are starting a new church, this will be a good reminder. Here’s the keys:

  • Never do it alone: Anytime there is unsecured and uncounted money, it should never be handled alone. At least two people are bringing the offering to a safe location. At least two people are counting it. At least two people are making sure it’s locked up after counting.
  • Make a report: The counters should have a report of the amount deposited for the treasurer that they sign off on as well as a report of who gave what for the financial secretary.
  • Double check: In the counting process, make sure everything is counted twice. When the deposit doesn’t agree with the count, that erodes so much trust and puts people in compromising situations.

Check out the video below:

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How to win as a Finance Committee

This was from a training that I did in the Fall of 2019 for United Methodist churches in Southeastern South Dakota. While most finance committees focus on reviewing reports and looking at cutting expenses, some are making a huge impact in helping their churches succeed. They are growing the church’s income, improving operations/decision making, and much more.

How are they making such an impact? The gist is, they staff the finance committee with the right people and set goals. It’s not that complex. I also give some ideas on how to fix the income problem, reporting, auditing, and budgeting. Enjoy!

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