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!