Handle Church Money with Intentional Care

Handling church money often requires a substantial amount of record-keeping—tracking how much comes in, who it comes from, what it’s used for, and how much each individual gives during a year.

It also involves an effective internal control structure to ensure that the information is accurate and protected. Here are some procedures that can help your ministry strengthen control of cash receipts and disbursements.

Cash Receipts

  • For offerings, assign teams of money counters who aren’t related and don’t work at the same place during the week. Rotate teams periodically.
  • Have at least two counters empty the offering plates and be ready to count and bag offerings on church premises.
  • Designate a counter to record the money. Ask someone else to review and initial the record.
  • On a regular basis, have someone other than the counters reconcile the bank account and money received to the bank deposit, donor records, and general ledger.
  • Immediately stamp all checks “for deposit only” and place the money received in a lockable canvas cash bag with only two keys—one you keep at the church, the other at the bank.
  • Deposit cash daily. Never keep cash on the premises unless you use a safe or lock box.
  • Send periodic statements to donors detailing the dates and gift amounts received.

Cash Disbursements

  • Make all disbursements, except those from petty cash, by check or draft.
  • Require two signatures on all checks over a stated dollar amount.
  • Prepare cash disbursements only when someone has approved and documented the payment.
  • Mark supporting documents “paid” to prevent resubmission.
  • Lock up all blank checks.
  • On a regular basis, have someone other than the individual preparing disbursements reconcile check registers to the bank statements.

Safeguard All Documentation

Regardless of how you keep your records and process financial information, you need to safeguard your data. Take special care with computer data by saving information frequently and protecting programs from being erased, or worse yet, hacked. Also, because of the sensitive information like donor giving history, restrict computer access to only certain people.