of Eastern Michigan
DO AN AUDIT?
SOME BASICS EVERY CHURCH SHOULD KNOW
Annual audits are equivalent to annual “check-ups” with
your medical doctor. Audits
should be part of a preventative “financial” health plan for every
church, regardless of how big or small the church’s budget is.
Just as a physician would not be apt to give him or her self
a thorough, objective physical examination, individuals responsible for
receiving or disbursing funds (and their relatives) should not be
the persons who conduct the annual audits.
It is appropriate to include a financially knowledgeable
Episcopalian from another church on the Audit Committee.
If you like, the diocesan office can help you find someone from
another church to help conduct the audit.
An outside viewpoint can be enlightening and refreshing.
Audits cannot prevent a financial scandal, but they can help
assure that financial common sense has prevailed.
Minor problems can be identified and corrected before they become
The annual financial audit and financial statements,
together with monthly financial reports covering all the
congregation’s funds, should be readily accessible to the members of the
congregation. There is no
room for secrets in a healthy financial system.
Healthy financial systems and reporting support good
decision making when difficult choices must be made, because those
responsible for making the decisions are freed up to focus on the choices.
Separation of duties, rotation of duties, and adequate
checks and balances are your friends in preventing and discouraging
mishandling of funds. An
annual audit can assure your church that these and other important
safeguards are all in place.
Thorough audits protect the Treasurer and give peace of mind
to the wardens, vestry or bishop’s committee, and church members.
· Annual audits are required by national canons and as part of the “Basic Standards of Congregations” adopted by the 1997 annual convention of the diocese.
Please put the
annual audit on the top of your list of things to do!
Adapted from Checkpoint, Nov. 1992