Cash Management Principles

The Synod of NSW and ACT has determined that all cash investments of UCA organisations must be deposited with Uniting Financial Services (UFS) as per the Compulsory Deposits Policy. The Policy assists the Synod to make available additional grants to needy parts of the church.

The requirement to use the facilities of Uniting Financial Services to deposit cash received and to control access to funds serves a number of purposes.

  • It guards against loss of monies due to misplacement or inadequate security.
  • Removes temptation of having surplus cash accessible by those in need.
  • Provides easy mechanism to monitor balance of cash available.
  • Maximises interest earnings on savings.
  • Avoids payment of unnecessary bank charges or fees (UFS has zero bank fees).
  • Ensures there is an auditable record of all cash flows, and income transactions are not overlooked in the entry of the organisation’s accounts, and
  • Enables the UCA to benefit from every dollar invested with UFS.

 

  • Congregations should have at least one account into which cash received can be readily deposited, and from which monies owed can be readily paid.
  • Two persons should count all Sunday offerings as soon as practicable after the service, and the total cash/cheques received should be recorded in a cash receipts book.
  • Cash should be banked as soon as practicable after receipt.
  • If it cannot be banked on the day, it should be stored securely on the Church premises and not be taken home by one person for safety reasons.
  • The Treasurer is ultimately responsible for the safe and secure control and management of all accounts used by committees and activity groups that are under the umbrella of the treasurer’s organisation.
  • Any proposal to open a new account requires the approval of the treasurer and chairperson.
  • All accounts should have at least two signatories required for withdrawal of any funds.
  • Cheque books should be retained in a secure place at all times,
  • Blank cheques should not be signed in advance under any circumstances.
  • Where it is not feasible for the treasurer to maintain control, safe and secure storage of the cash and cheque books for some church activities, a ‘responsible person’ should be formally nominated for this purpose by the treasurer, and this should be minuted in the church council or management committee minutes.
  • Regular reconciliation between the bank account statement and the accounting system should be undertaken, and signed by the treasurer, and
  • All existing accounts should be periodically reviewed to assess their need for continued use.

Reconciliations between the bank account statements and relevant accounts in the accounting system should be done on a regular basis to ensure;

  • All cash has been banked as appropriate within prompt timeframes of receipt,
  • Incorrect entries are promptly identified and corrected,
  • All electronic transactions processed by the bank are recorded in the accounts as receipts or payments in the relevant time period,
  • Delays in cash deposits and cheque drawings are identified/monitored, and
  • Cancelled cheques are not processed by the bank.

Handling of cash requires strict controls. All cash that comes in should be promptly;

  • Counted in the presence of two people,
  • Receipted (if the person requires evidence of the money being paid) – offerings do not generally require receipts,
  • Recorded in the books,
  • Stored in a secure locked place on the premises until the money can be banked, and
  • Deposited or invested with a recognised financial institution or bank as soon as practicable.

Church offerings should be immediately recorded in a separate congregational receipts register which usually details;

  • Day/date monies collected,
  • Number of attendees,
  • Worship service time (if more than one),
  • Total offerings collected (separate columns for cash and cheques),
  • Total donations collected for other Appeals (separate columns for different fund-raising events), and
  • Names and signatures of the two people counting the monies (in separate columns).

Congregations are often receiving money from alternative income sources such as Synod or Presbytery grants, or property income.

This money should be appropriately documented and recorded in your Congregation’s financial reports. Keep a copy of the signed grant letters, signed benefactor letter from Synod and other relevant documentation.

All payments made by Congregations should be supported with documentation outlining;

  • To whom the payment was made,
  • What the payment was for,
  • The value of the services or product (including GST), and
  • Acceptance by an authorised person of the payment being church-related (or work-related).

Supporting documentation should be filed away in an orderly manner and be accessible for either future queries or for audit.

Generally, cash payments should only be made for amounts under $50, where it is not cost-effective to draw a cheque or arrange a separate electronic deposit in the person’s bank account.  In such instances, cash payments are made from a petty cash float.

Cheques are an easy and safe way to make payments (especially when they are crossed as ‘not negotiable’). You should always complete the cheque stub to provide an audit trail for the auditor.

Cheque books should be kept by the treasurer (or other authorised person) in a secure place. UCA cheques generally require two signatories before they are considered valid and negotiable.  Care should be taken that all sequential numbers on cheques are fully accounted for, and this should be an integral part of the regular bank reconciliation.

Electronic payments are an increasingly easy and popular way to pay accounts. Electronic payments can be more convenient than cheque payments as the money is available for the recipient on the following day (or specific days determined where periodical payments are made). 

Electronic payments should be clearly marked to identify whom the payment came from and what it was for. Electronic payments require specific account details for where the payment should be made to. 

Authorisers of electronic payments should sight the original invoice to ensure it is a legitimate expense of the Church.

Small value purchases (i.e. under $50) are sometimes required to be made by Congregation members, Ministers or church employees. This can be accommodated through a petty cash float held in a secure place.

Petty cash floats can be controlled by any trustworthy person, who is known as the nominated holder of the float. The nomination should be formally presented to, and recorded at a Church Council meeting and be minuted as a permanent record of the appointment.  Petty cash floats are best allocated to someone who is accessible by people in a central office area on an ongoing basis.

Petty cash floats should be kept in a locked container in a secure environment at all times.

There should only be a small amount in the petty cash float to cover emergencies which will also be dependent on the size of your organisation.