Creating an Accounting Policy Manual
Every church and nonprofit should have a written accounting policy manual. It will save you future problems down the road and serve as a valuable reference guide for your organization.
Even if you are a very small church, you can create a basic accounting
policy and procedure manual and then add to it as your church grows and
your accounting needs expand.
Accounting Policy Manual Forms:
To get you started...
Sandi, a frequent and valuable contributor to
this site, has graciously offered copies of some of her church's policy
documents for you to download, customize, and use.
I have compressed them in a zip file, so you will be able to open them in a word processor and customize them for your church:
Simply double click on the "Church Name" in the header to edit and customize.
Accounting Policy Manual Suggestions:
Here are some suggestions on what else you could include in your accounting policy and procedure manual:
- Staff Duties – It is a good idea to include the various positions in your
church and a brief description of the duties and responsibilities of each
position. See this page on staff
- Internal Controls – This is will cover a lot of procedures. It is in this
section where you will list your policy for:
credit card usage
account reimbursements The above list is just a small example
of what you could include in this section. See this page on internal
- Audits - Every accounting policy manual should include a section on what
kind of audits are performed and how often they are required. See this page on
- Petty Cash – If you have a petty cash fund set up, you should definitely
have a section outlining who has access to it, how often it is replenished, and
how much can be kept on hand. See this page on setting up
and maintaining a petty cash account.
- Budgets - Could include time line for budgets and procedures used to create
budgets. See this page for tips on
- Financial Reporting and Statements – Would include what type of reports
and/or financial reports need to be created and how often. See this page on understanding
nonprofit financial statements.
- Records Retention - Very important! Include how long to keep supporting
documents and records on file. See this page for a records
- Fixed Asset Management and Disposal - Should include the recording,
capitalization, and disposal of all fixed assets. See what happened to a pastor
who didn’t properly dispose of a church asset in this article: Pastor Arrested then Released
There are many more items you can include, but remember Rome wasn’t built in
a day and your accounting policy and procedure manual can be a work in progress.
Here’s a manual to get you started!
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