The job of the treasurer is very demanding.
Bills to pay, records to keep, income and expenses to record in an accounting system, reports to produce, budgets to create and review, payroll to process, meetings to attend and many more. This goes on every week of every month of every year.
On top of all this, the treasurer is responsible to ensure that your church complies with all Audit, ATO, workplace regulations, worker’s compensation, other insurance and other legal & regulatory bodies including ASIC & ACNC as well as your church synod, diocese or other head office reporting and regulatory requirements.
All these tasks are essential, regardless of the size of your church.
This is a huge job with huge responsibilities. The treasurer needs to have enough time and have adequate training and experience to perform all these tasks correctly.
The risk to your church can be huge if these tasks are not performed properly.
Finding a treasurer is increasingly difficult
Occasionally a church can find a person with the skills and time available to perform all the tasks adequately, however this is becoming increasingly difficult. The demands are greater and often church member do not have the skills.
Often the role of the treasurer is undervalued by the church members as they do not:
- Understand the amount of time and skill required to maintain and manage the church finances correctly
- Understand the importance of good financial management for the stability and growth of their church
- Believe that the church should not divert resources to managing finances. Historically, churches, have relied on volunteers to perform these duties.
It is becoming increasingly unreasonable to expect that the job of managing the finances should be provided completely by volunteers.
It is also becoming increasingly irresponsible of church leadership to ignore the risk of poorly managed finances and regulatory compliance.
What can you do about it?
1. Reduce the time required by the treasurer to perform the role will greatly assist the treasurer and the church. This can be done by:
a. Spreading the workload internally
Much of the work can be performed by others so that the treasurer can focus on the tasks that only they must do. One option is that the church administrators also take on the role of bookkeeper. This will include processing all the transactions in the accounting system and organising for bills and reimbursements to be paid. The administrator is often already involved, to some degree, in the managing of Petty Cash and organising church hall hires, rental properties, weddings and events. This works well when the administrator is willing and capable of doing the work. They will need training and support which will need to be provided by the treasurer or can be provided by external bookkeepers/accountants. The administrator will need to be trained each time the administrator leaves and is replaced. Other arrangements will also need to be organised when they are on leave.
b. Engage external bookkeepers
Engaging external bookkeepers and accountants can not only save the time required but also:
Provides a wide range of skills needed not often available within one person or within your available church members
Reduces the need to train new people when there has been turnover of staff or volunteers
External bookkeepers and accountants, and especially those with extensive church experience, bring a wealth of previous experience and knowledge about the church accounting environment
2. Ensure that the most efficient tools are used
We recommend Xero as it has many timesaving functions. These include:
- No time wasting installation and upgrade of software, no rollovers & backups required
- It is available anywhere there is internet access. Therefore, all those involved with the management of finances in your church can work on the accounts and search for information wherever and whenever they want.
- Lots of time saving functions that speed up data entry and reconciling transactions
- Very flexible reporting
- Documents & tax invoices can be attached to every transaction
3. Ensure that people involved in the financial management are well trained
Get the job done properly the first time. The initial investment in quality training will be well worth the investment.
4. Ensure that the function of Financial Management is valued
You will more likely find a suitable treasurer if the role that they will perform is valued by the leadership of the church.
A strong foundation of good Financial management is essential for the growth of a church. It is as important as any other ministry.
A church will not grow, people will not want to trust their tithes and offerings to a church that does not value good financial management.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss the financial management of your church or NFP at [email protected] or 1300 138 627
© Benkorp Management Services Pty Ltd 2019