Internal controls can make or break a church. One of the most important internal controls is proper segregation of duties. We’ve seen many churches miss the fact that money is going out the door instead of into the bank account due to a lack of standard procedures. To protect your church’s Sunday collection cash and donations, follow these guidelines:
Segregate the duties between individuals who collect, count, prepare the deposit slip, take the deposit to the bank and post entries to the contribution module and general ledger.
- Ask ushers to place the collected cash and checks in a sealed envelope. Two ushers should sign the envelope and not the service date and time. Put the envelope in a locked safe.
- Place a log sheet on the safe for individuals to sign their name and purpose each time money is placed or removed from the safe. (Use a drop safe for higher security, to prevent many people from having the combination or key.)
- Rotate counters (minimum of two) each week. Counters take the cash and checks to the business manager’s office and double-count the cash, recording the amounts on a count sheet. Make a copy of each check and retain with the counting tape. Counters sign the count sheet and prepare a deposit slip.
- Place cash, checks and deposit slip in a pre-numbered bank bag. A copy of the deposit slip is kept with the check copies.
- Designate who will take the deposit to the bank.
- Ask the Treasurer to review and confirm a rotation of counters to deter collusion.
- Provide a copy of the deposit slip to the business manager, who will reconcile the amount with the count sheet and note reconciliation. This can be done by adding a line to the count sheet to sign once the funds have proof of deposit.
Paying attention to a high level of detail, combined with redundant accountability, prevents fraud and the resulting trauma to your church body.