Top 10 Things No One Told Me About Being the Finance Chair!

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BY REV. KEITH E. LAWDER, GUMF PRESIDENT/CEO

Have you ever said yes to serving your church and then discovered there is not a job description for what you are being asked to do? I often hear this from frustrated church finance chairs after something has gone wrong. So here are 10 things you might want to know.

1) The list of finance committee chair duties is in section #258 of “The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.”

2) Loads of useful information, forms and checklists can be found on your Conference website.

3) The roles of finance chair, church treasurer, and financial secretary are meant to be distinct and separate. Consolidating these three roles is not only asking a lot of one individual, but it can also create big problems if something goes wrong.

4) Having two unrelated people both count the offering and complete the deposit slips each week protects the church and the individuals who serve in this way.

5) Supervising the person who writes the checks and keeping close track of expenses protects the church from fraud. Nearly one in five churches experiences some form of financial fraud each year.

6) File complete and accurate financial reports on a timely basis. It is not only sound practice, but it also helps to validate your pastor’s stewardship of church resources.

7) Proper documentation leaves a track record of who did what when. Regularly review your loan documents as well as the people authorized to sign and provide approval. The goal is to reduce the possibility that document deficiencies will slow a transaction. This practice also guards against allowing someone who is no longer a signer to authorize a transaction.

8) Reports are important. It is worse than embarrassing to discover that your church is in financial trouble, and no one saw it coming.

 9) Pastors should not be signers on church checks!

10)  The church finance chair is responsible for maintaining adequate records and insurance, and for ensuring that the treasurer makes all tax and payroll transactions on a timely basis.

Yes, being the finance chair is a big job! But it is also a wonderfully rewarding way to serve your church.