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:

Creating an Accounting Policy Manual

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 financial responsibilities.

  • Internal Controls – This is will cover a lot of procedures. It is in this section where you will list your policy for: counting offerings check writing deposits credit card usage bank reconciliations account reimbursements The above list is just a small example of what you could include in this section. See this page on internal controls.

  • 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 external and internal audits.

  • 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 creating budgets.

  • 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 retention schedule.

  • 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!

If you want to DIY your payroll, I highly recommend you look at using Gusto! It is very user friendly and their support is awesome! Plus they know how to set up and maintain payrolls for churches and nonprofit organizations.

Note: I am a "partner" of Gusto, but as I have told you before ... I never recommend anything that we or our clients have not tried and love =)

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