If you handle money like Pastor Bob does, you may be setting yourself up for trouble.
Bob, you see, keeps his money in his right pocket and church money in his left pocket. What would he say should someone accuse him of spending church money for personal items? NOTHING he could say would be of any use. [True story: thirty years ago as a naive schoolteacher I ran a candy sale like this. Never in the history of the world were so many internal control problems present. Not only did they include the left-pocket/right-pocket problem, but unbeknownst to me, cases of candy were stored loose at the back of the classroom! We came up short, of course, and to this day I don’t know where the money went. I don’t believe I spent any of it, but there was no way to tell. So I forked over $100 of my own money to cover it – nearly $500 in today’s dollars. I kept my job and I feel I did the right thing. But it would have been better to have had stout internal controls in place…]
But if Bob were to have written policies, trained staff, and two deacons handling the cash until it gets to the bank? AND a surveillance tape? He never gets within thirty feet of the cash! AND he has the church manual, witnesses, and the videotapes to prove it. Likewise, if there are strong policies for all of the church’s other financial dealings, you are protecting the reputation of rest of your staff and volunteers as well. AND Christ’s name is not dragged into the dirt.
You might enjoy a story written by one of my worthy competitors.
The story describes two churches – one which had poor internal controls, and one with strong internal controls. Find a Kindle version on Amazon for 99 cents. This might be too much trouble to run that through the church: let me know if you want a copy and I’ll buy it for you (drop an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org). This book is a very good summary of what we’re up against.
If you go with our Gold auditing package, our best value, we will also produce a short video for use on your church website. If you give us something to work with, we will tell of your desire for financial transparency and accountability, and assure members that you’re tightening up where needed. We won’t stretch things – but we’ll try to make you look good!