Empowering you to focus on Ministry and Mission
Meeting the Challenges
A New Approach
The challenges facing the Diocese with respect to consolidated financial reporting affect us all, as all Ministry Units share the same group charitable registration which provides the tax exemption.
The Diocesan Council has, over several months, considered alternative approaches to meeting the challenges of the new compliance obligations. The Diocesan Council has, after careful consideration, decided that the most effective and efficient approach is to centralise the accounting functions for all Ministry Units to a centralised "Ministry Accounting" service.
Your Accounts through a Ministry Accounting Service
Though the accounting function of Ministry Units will be centralised that does not mean that Ministry Units will lose oversight of their financial position and performance. Each Ministry Unit will be treated distinctly and will continue to maintain separate bank accounts, set budgets and approve expenditure.
The centralisation of accounting functions will enable the record keeping to be maintained on a common system, enabling consolidation for reporting to the Charities Commission, and facilitate an audit of the consolidated financial statements through a single location with a common set of internal controls.
This Follows a Successful Pilot Project
The concept of centralised accounting is not a new one. In 2013 a pilot project was launched for Ministry Units that wished to move to a centralised accounting service. The reasons why the pilot project was offered are outlined below;
Difficulties with finding suitably qualified volunteer Treasurers
Throughout all parts of society volunteerism is in decline. Many Ministry Units were struggling to find suitably qualified volunteers to take up the role of Treasurer. The Ministry Accounting Service aims to reduce some of the burden placed on Treasurers as well as simplifying the process of accounting and producing financial statements.
Difficulties in record keeping
Many Ministry Units struggle to maintain good record keeping, with some records maintained by the Treasurer, some of the Church Office, and various other locations. A centralised system allows for all records to be maintained at one location. Records are stored electronically and maintained by offsite backups. The history of the Churches financial records can be maintained over long periods of time.
Different accounting systems
As Treasurers change it is natural to see a change in accounting system to one the new Treasurer is more comfortable. The frequency of changes in accounting system changes can make it difficult for some Ministry Units to maintain the accounting records over longer periods of time.
Further the quality of the systems used by different Ministry Units can vary across the Diocese, from comprehensive systems to excel or paper based systems.
Differing levels of financial controls.
Ministry Units will have differing levels of financial controls based upon the skills and expertise of past Treasurers coupled with the availability of resources, people and time. By shifting to a centralised model, all Ministry Units can be assured that an adequate level of financial control is being operated within their Ministry Unit.
Benefits of Ministry Accounting
There are a number of benefits that will arise from the provision of Ministry Accounting Services through a professional services provider such as Trust Management. Some of the key benefits are outlined below;
The Diocese will meet all costs of the Ministry Accounting Service, including audit costs, for the first three years. The Diocese may re-evaluate the costs of the service provision after three years, however the intention is that the Service will always be either free or heavily subsidised.
Ministry Units will not have to seek out accountants or book keepers to fulfil the role of Treasurer. Whilst it is always helpful to have an experienced accountant in the role of Treasurer, the Ministry Accounting Service will mean that a more broad range of administrators and people with some financial experience can forfil the Treasurers role.
Grant and Funding Tracking
The system allows for tracking and reporting of individual grants and other forms of funding, enabling Ministry Units to report back to funding providers. More about the system can be learned from the "About the Service" page.
Tax Receipts for Giving
Producing tax receipts to the congregation is as simple as pressing a button. The system is designed to track giving, just as the Recorder does. Tax receipts can be issued to envelope givers after each year end. For more information about how the confidentiality of envelope givers is maintained, refer to the "FAQ" page.
Risk Management and Internal Controls
Trust Management operates best practice Risk Management practises and internal controls. These are independently reviewed by Deloitte. The system allows for levels of internal control that many small and mid-range accounting systems do not offer. For example, any changes to a creditor's bank account require two independent users to verify the change.