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!
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 =)