These policies and procedures supplement the by-laws of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent and govern the financial operations of the Church, the Financial Council and its substructures, and the Treasurer, Financial Secretary(s), Bookkeeper, and all assistants.
Governing Policy and Procedures
The Church’s fiscal year shall be July 1 to June 30.
The CASH method of accounting shall be used. The types of accounts authorized are General Operating, Savings, Capital, Endowment, Minister’s Discretionary Fund, Restricted, and Designated. Each will be established with a bank, brokerage firm, or other established financial institution.
The Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Bookkeeper, and Minister shall be signatories on the General Operating, Savings, and Restricted accounts. Two signatures shall be required on disbursements from the General Operating checking account. The Treasurer and Bookkeeper shall also be signatories on all Designated accounts along with Committee Chair and Committee Treasurer.
Funds may be maintained either in a pooled account with separate tracking, in a separate bank account, or in a brokerage account. To qualify for a separate bank or brokerage account, a group within the Church must submit a plan that defines the financial processes for that account and have received approval from the Finance Committee and the Board of Trustees. Separate, interest-bearing accounts shall be maintained for Capital and Endowment Funds.
Financial records shall be kept and maintained for seven years. Audits of financial accounts shall be performed and reported to the Board of Trustees.
Insurance shall be carried to cover property and liability and additional risk categories as business needs arise. The Finance Committee shall review the coverage at least every three years to assure adequate coverage is carried. The Finance Committee may change insurance carriers or coverage within the confines of budget limitations.
Committees Dealing With Financial Matters
Standing Church committees dealing with financial matters are the Finance, the Stewardship, the Fundraising, and the Endowment Committees. The Legacy Committee is included as a sub-committee of Endowment. An ad hoc committee or action team such as a Capital Campaign committee may exist to handle specific financial matters.
Policies and procedures relevant to each committee, if in place, are included as appendices to this document.
The Finance Committee and the Treasurer shall develop a draft line-item budget of the General Operating Account for each fiscal year. The Finance Committee shall solicit input and budgetary requests from the Board, staff, committee chairs, and program coordinators at least six weeks prior to the drafting; said input will be submitted within thirty days of request.
The draft budget shall include actual figures for the previous two fiscal years and projections for the current and upcoming fiscal year.
The draft budget shall include adequate breakdown of personnel and non-personnel expenses to facilitate easy tracking and reporting (a line-item budget).
The Personnel Committee and/or the Ministerial Executive Team shall review current UUA Fair Compensation guidelines and recommend staff salaries, benefits, and minister’s housing allowance to the Finance Committee.
The draft budget shall be planned to be in balance, or “break-even”; that is, it shall include no planned deficit.
The Board approved draft budget shall be completed at least thirty days before the start of the annual Stewardship Campaign and given to the Stewardship Committee as a realistic goal for the campaign.
The line-item draft budget shall be transformed into a program budget reflecting planned and hoped-for program objectives and activities for the purpose of congregational education.
Upon completion of the annual Stewardship Campaign, the Finance Committee shall review and revise the draft line-item and program budgets as needed and present them to the Board of Trustees for review and acceptance.
The Board shall present a balanced program budget to the congregation for approval at the annual congregational meeting.
A separate statement identifying the portion of the minister’s compensation for housing must be adopted annually by the Board in a separate action to comply with IRS regulations. This shall be completed no later than 60 days after the congregational vote to approve the budget.
At any time during a fiscal year, the Board may make interim budget adjustments. The Board must submit for approval at a congregational meeting any proposed new expenditure over five percent of the total congregation-approved budget.
Policy: The “separation of duties” standard of internal control procedures states that different individuals should perform the daily financial duties. The following guidelines are intended to achieve this desired result.
- Receipts: Collecting and depositing money.
- Sunday collection: After each service, two people (ushers selected by the Membership Committee) shall count and record the cash and the number of pledge envelopes and checks. They shall date the report and sign it and place it in the locked collection box along with the cash, envelopes, and checks.
- Fund-raisers or other cash-generating events: Two people approved by the event coordinator or chair shall count and record the cash and the number of checks. They will put the cash, checks and report into an envelope, date and sign it, and place it in the locked collection box.
- Money received for Capital, Endowment, or Designated accounts will be given to the Treasurer or Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper to be deposited. A Financial Secretary shall record and report any amounts received and report to the Treasurer or Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper.
- A Financial Secretary shall retrieve, make copies of checks and contribution envelopes, post all monies from the collection box or Financial Secretary’s mailbox (located in the Church Office), attribute contributions to the donors, and deposit those for General Operating and Restricted accounts at least once a week. The collection report(s) and bank deposit receipt shall be stapled together and given to the Bookkeeper. In the event of the absence of the Financial Secretary, the Treasurer or Bookkeeper shall ensure that deposits are made.
- The Treasurer, the Bookkeeper, and the Financial Secretary may appoint helpers to count and tabulate cash donations.
- Non-monetary Gifts
- Financial instruments
- Non-cash financial instruments such as securities will be deposited into the church’s brokerage account, converted into cash and the net proceeds deposited into the fund designated by the donor in an appropriate and timely manner.
- The average of the high and low trade on the date of the transfer to the church’s brokerage account is the amount that will be credited to the member.
- Other donations of record
- The church will not accept in fulfillment of a pledge to the Operating Fund any donations that are not monetary or a financial instrument. Non-monetary donations to other Church funds shall be governed by the policies specific to those funds.
- Financial instruments
- Acknowledging Non-pledge Donations
- Acknowledgements will not be sent for non-identifiable plate or special collection donations. Separate acknowledgments will not be sent for pledges that are tracked and reported on the pledge statement.
- For money donated in honor of or in memory of someone, the Treasurer will ensure that a letter of acknowledgement is sent to the honoree or family omitting the dollar amount donated. This is discretionary for donations through the Simple Gifts program.
- Donations to a Restricted, Designated, Endowment, or Capital account should also be tracked or reported on the contribution report. The treasurer for that fund shall determine how the donation is acknowledged.
- For donations that are not monetary or financial instruments, the Treasurer will provide a receipt, if requested, within 60 days of the donation.
- When a check written to another entity is given to the church, the church shall send the check to that entity and has no responsibility to send an acknowledgement.
- Disbursements from the General Fund.
- The Assistant Treasurer will pay all bills authorized by the annual budget.
- Church members wishing disbursement of church-related expenditures shall fill out and submit a “Request for Disbursal of Funds” and turn it in to the Assistant Treasurer. These requests must be signed by the chair of the committee or staff member or Trustee responsible for the area of expenditure. Committee chairs, staff, and Trustees are responsible for staying within their budgetary guidelines.
- The Assistant Treasurer shall respond to all such requests within two weeks of receipt of the request.
- The Treasurer and/or the Assistant Treasurer may approve or disapprove requests for disbursement of funds that are up to five percent above the approved budget amount. Requests for funds that exceed that amount or are not in the budget will go to the Board for a decision.
- The Treasurer will prepare monthly financial reports and submit them to other members of the Board at least one week prior to regularly scheduled Board meetings. The monthly reports shall present the month, year-to-date, and budget-to-date information, account balances, and a cash flow report.
- Disbursements from Other Funds
- Prior to disbursements, the fund treasurer must have authorization from a person with responsibility for that fund. Prior to disbursements, the requester will submit to the fund treasurer an invoice, receipt, or, if the request is for an advance, an estimate of the amount required. In the latter case, the recipient of the money shall submit a receipt within two weeks of the disbursement and repay any excess.
- Fund treasurers shall respond to requests within two weeks of receipt.
- Disbursements from the Endowment Fund shall be handled under the Endowment Fund Policy.
The Treasurer and Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper shall determine the form of record-keeping to be used by the Assistant Treasurer and Financial Secretaries. Both shall also review and approve the form of record-keeping used by Capital, Endowment, and Restricted Funds. Once approved, only changes must be submitted for review and approval.
Access to the financial portion of the database shall be administered by the Treasurer and/or Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper in order to maintain confidentiality of individual financial records.
- The Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper shall record pledge payments and maintain records of such in the database.
- The Treasurer and the Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper shall distribute statements of pledges and other contributions of record on a quarterly basis to members making a pledge or other contribution.
- The Treasurer, Financial Secretaries, Congregational Administrator, Minister* and Stewardship Committee chairperson(s) are the only persons authorized to have access to the payment records of all individual church members or friends. No other person is authorized to view such records without the express permission of the member or friend in question.
* The minister may have access to the records of all church members/friends except those who have specifically opted out of providing permission for such.
- The Church shall maintain a checking and savings or money market account for the General Funds.
- Expense records for the General Funds shall be maintained in the database by the Treasurer and/or the Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper.
- The Treasurer, with the Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper as back-up, shall reconcile the General Operating Fund monthly bank and brokerage statements and shall provide oversight for reconciliation of Restricted, Capital, Endowment, and Designated Funds other than the Minister’s Discretionary Fund.
- Fund treasurers shall prepare and submit a financial report to the Treasurer at least quarterly or more frequently if a matter of policy or requested by the Treasurer.
Preparing and distributing financial reports
Reports to membership
- An annual financial report shall be prepared by the Treasurer and submitted to the congregation at the annual congregational meeting.
- The Finance Team (Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Financial Secretaries, Congregational Administrator/Bookkeeper) shall make every effort to maintain transparency in financial records. Income and expense records (with the exception of individual pledge/contribution records) shall be made available to any member of the congregation who wishes to see such records.
Reports to budget managers
- The Board of Trustees shall receive monthly reports from the Treasurer.
- Upon request, the Treasurer shall provide committee chairs and staff members with reports indicating their yearly budget and year-to-date expenditures.
- If the Treasurer notices that a line-item is approaching its limit, the Treasurer shall notify the person responsible for that line.
Reports to outside entities
- All payroll tax reporting is currently prepared by an outside tax/payroll firm. The Treasurer and Bookkeeper shall review these reports as part of general payroll processing. The Bookkeeper shall provide all necessary information to said firm.
- The Treasurer and/or Bookkeeper shall complete the semi-annual Worker’s Compensation report.
- The Church may employ contractors as needed.
- Individuals hired as contractors must complete a W-9 form.
- Individuals paid more than the IRS reporting requirement must be issued a 1099 form.
- Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, no person may be an employee and a contractor during the same period of time.
- The person or group with budgetary responsibility for a contracted service or equipment has the responsibility to research vendors and negotiate contracts.
- Only the Moderator and the Minister in her/his capacity as Church Chief Executive Officer have the authority to sign contracts.
- The Finance Committee will review all contracts annually.
- The Finance Committee will research and review non-personnel insurance policies.
- The Personnel Committee will research and review personnel-related insurance policies.
Financial reviews and audits.
- The Finance Committee shall schedule an annual review of the Church’s financial records. Reviews and audits may be performed either by an independent qualified person or by an internal audit committee appointed by the Finance Committee. Reviews may be scheduled more frequently if deemed necessary.
- The person or committee conducting the review will present the findings to the Finance Committee and Treasurer with copies to the Board of Trustees.