A local church recently found out that an estimated $600,000 was stolen from their Church.” The church who reported the theft said the theft included cash, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information. Many churches believe they are protected from these types of incidents as they trust their church family who are counting money each week. While the size of this theft is very large the dollar amount should not be the focus.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers recommend that churches develop a policy and then make sure they institute the plan for how and where the church offering is safeguarded to prevent internal and external theft. Most churches have a policy in place however many churches over time only follow part of the plan or don’t follow the plan at all. Many times as churches grow and shrink major changes happen and the new church members are not aware a plan exist.
Each church may have a different way that works best for them which is important, however the most important thing is to ensure the plan is being followed at all times. Not every plan is perfect but having a plan is better then not having one at all.
A few questions worth asking when evaluating your church’s policy on handling money:
- Do we count and record offerings immediately after they are received?
- Are offerings always stored in a secure or well-supervised area?
- If the offering is kept is a locked location is the combination limited to a couple of church members or Sr. Leadership?
- Do we make sure that offerings are never handled by only one person before they are counted and recorded?
- Is the person making the deposit different from the person who counted the offering?
- Does the church provide its’ members with an annual receipts for giving?
- Do all church accounts fall under the general accounting and auditing structure of the church?
- Are all persons authorized and able to write checks against church funds held responsible through an accounting-auditing system?
- Does the church require two signature for all checks?
- Do we make sure the same person is not involved in more than one of the financial procedures of the church (collecting the funds, counting them, recording the giving, authorizing expenditures, writing the checks, auditing the accounts)?
- Do we provide the bank with annual updates of persons authorized to sign checks against any account associated with the church?
- Is check signing authority limited to no more than four members of the church?
These are just a few safeguards your church should have in place. As a church you may find it important to add additional items to this list to ensure the protection of your church offering. Some churches will assign off-duty police officers to also accompany the funds until they are deposited. This off-duty office may be armed or un-armed.
If you would like to know more about what your can do to safeguard your church offering please give us a call and we would be more then happy to help.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, Inc.