Cash is one of the most liquid assets in organizations. Due to its tempting status, proper internal control procedures should be implemented. This will protect those who are involved in cash transactions and the organization itself. The control measures for cash involve; cash receipts, recording, safety, payment and deposit procedures.
The church cash system has many weaknesses, which poses risks to both the church and the people involved. There is the need to make changes, to reduce the risks involved. These changes will be implemented in the duties and functions of the people involved; this will affect ushers, head ushers, financial secretary and financial committee on which I would make various suggestions.
The ushers volunteer for a whole month and they are involved in collecting offerings for the duration. Ushers should not be volunteers, they should be appointed and prepared by duty roster and pinned on the notice board and announced in the church, on every worshipping meeting. This can reduce the chances of unfaithful volunteers’, who can be taking some cash. The ushers should also serve for only one week then another group takes over. This will reduce the chances of ushers stealing cash from collections, and in case of great deviant in the weeks it would be easy to make follow up. The ushers should also collect and settle in the church, and move together to the basement under supervision. In this case they will have no chances to pocket some cash in the process.
It is very risky to leave the head usher alone to count cash and record the collections. He can take any amount of money and no one will ever know because, no one knows the actual collections and everyone is at the service at this time. I would suggest that a member of the audit committee, a church elder a member of financial committee and financial secretary should be present during the counting and recording of cash collected. This will reduce the temptation of on the head usher, it also reduces risk of false accusations, and that the financial secretary will be aware and will confirm the amount available.
The following day, the financial secretary will not count the cash again, as it was counted and confirmed in his presence, but he can open the safe in presence of another authorized person. He also estimates the weekly expenditure and sets aside the cash; the estimates should be very detailed, the actual expenditure receipts should be maintained and any cash balance at the end of the week, should be taken back to church kitty. Financial secretary should not be involved in the reconciliation of bank statement. He should produce deposit slips and a different person should perform the reconciliation and recording. He or she also should not serve for such a long time of fifteen years without any audit been done. He should be appointed on contract bases and his contract should be renewed based on performance.
Financial committee is the most powerful wing in the financial matters of the church. This committee has to monitor the recordkeeping to ensure they are complete and properly maintained. At least one of the members of this committee should be involved in collection and counting of weekly offering collections. It is very important to ensure that cash in the safe is actually saved and hence, one member of the financial committee should be the custodian of the key to the safe. The committee should also at the end of the year, compare the budget and the actual outcome of the year to establish the main causes of differences and propose improvements. The committee must facilitate annual audit to ensure proper book of records are maintained and the prepared financial reports are true and fair. The audited report should be read to the members of church in an annual general meeting.
Internal control procedures are very important to secure organization’s assets and attainment of organizational objectives. The church is not an exemption and members of the church would like to see their contributions guarded against theft or misuse. Some people may have good motives, but if given a chance they get tempted and might take some cash. Due to these reasons I recommend the changes mentioned above in the church financial and procedure controls.