Security Procedures

by Darlene
(Mount Dora, FL)

As the Bookkeeper,I do enter the accounting data, write the checks, and reconcile the monthly bank statements for a church thrift store that is a start-up.

We are all new to this and it is generating a decent income that supports other worthy causes.

My question is: Is this not the way it should be done? Nobody seems to have a problem with it and the pastor oversees the reconciliation in Aplos accounting software.

"Tip! The individual reconciling your books should NOT be the same individual that enters the accounting data and should definitely NOT be the same person that writes the checks or controls the monies."

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Oct 29, 2019
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Debit Card and Checks
by: Anonymous

Hi, the manager buys all of the supplies and anything else needed for the store using a debit card. As the bookkeeper, I check her receipts and enter them into Aplos.

As the bookkeeper, I also only write checks for bills. Nothing else. About 7 of them monthly. They are all made out ahead and signed by two people.

Question: should we look for another person to write the checks in this situation? I still balance the books and reconcile.

It seems that we pretty much have it covered for theft prevention or could we still improve it?


Oct 25, 2019
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Theft Deterrents
by: Anonymous

All checks have to be initialed by two people besides the one writing the checks. This is the way we do it and it seems to be a pretty secure way of avoiding any appearance of evil and theft prevention. What are your thoughts on this system?

Oct 21, 2019
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Many hands make not only light work, but honest and correct work. NEW
by: Anonymous

Since this is a church thrift store, we can assume that there will be cash receipts.

1) Cash deposits should always be counted by two different individuals. Not just for moral accountability, but also to prevent math errors (the odds of 2 people making the exact same math error is slim).

2) The amount of the deposit should be immediately emailed to the relevant church officials (while my church doesn't have a thrift store, for the Sunday morning offering - the amount of the deposit would immediately be sent via email to the pastor, the elders, the deacons, and the church treasurer).

3) The person writing the checks should not be the one balancing the books.

4) Ideally, the person making the deposit should not be writing the checks either.

This means that you need a minimum of 3 people.

1 person to assist with the deposit (in a church, this task can be spread around to multiple individuals)
1 person to balance the books (I have no problem with this person also doing the deposit since they are not performing that task alone - they always have someone else with them counting/recording the deposit also)
1 person to write the checks

Oct 19, 2019
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Setting up Internal Controls
by: Vickey

Many start up nonprofits and churches have to start with someone "wearing most of the hats" ... BUT you should be working toward setting up internal controls to avoid even the "appearance of evil" and to safeguard the assets of that organization.

Churches and nonprofits can unknowingly make it very easy for the devil to tempt an individual that is writing checks AND recording those checks in the accounting file AND reconciling that account.

You stated you have the Pastor reconciling Aplos and that is a great internal control to put in place (although I would work on getting someone else beside the busy Pastor to do that chore as you grow =) ...but you need to set up another control as soon as you have the staff to do it.

I know it would not even cross your mind to write a check for a personal item and then assign it to church expense or write a check for $20 more and get some cash back..so when the person reconciling the account does not think twice about those transactions.

BUT ...what if you unexpectedly become ill and someone had to take your place. That person may be going thru some personal financial struggles that no one knows about and you have unwillingly made it easy for someone to be tempted to "borrow" money.

When someone else is entering the data AND requires receipts ...then that person would catch it ... if someone received cash back when they picked up supplies for the church. The person writing the checks knows someone will be looking at every receipt when they enter the data, so that particular temptation is taken away.

Sadly embezzlement happens even when you set up really strict internal controls...but you never want to make it easy for the devil =(

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