Welcome and How to Start

Treasurers are tasked with important work in their Congregations and we can assist you in the reporting required. Below is a checklist of requirements to familiarise yourself with.

To ease into the role, it’s vital to plan and prepare to:

  • Know the Church's structure and operations
  • Become familiar with important documents
  • Understand the Church's reporting and taxation obligations.

Treasurers are not just bookkeepers, they are an integral part of the Church Council, Board or Committee.

You should also get in touch with all relevant parties/authorities to inform them that you are the new treasurer/contact person for the church.  This includes:

  • updating Uniting Resources Financial Management Services
  • updating banking authorities
  • updating records with the ACNC
  • updating records with the Taxation Office
  • updating records with ASIC and/or relevant state authorities
  • informing the external accountant and/or auditor.

You should also locate copies of important documents such as:

  • the church’s constitution and regulations (or a similar document)
  • Tax File Number or Australian Business Number notifications
  • correspondence from the Tax Office regarding the church’s tax concessions
  • correspondence from the ACNC regarding the church’s registration details
  • Uniting Resources insurance contracts
  • asset registers
  • loan/lease agreements
  • employee contracts
  • policies and procedures manuals.

Ensure that these documents are safely and securely stored.

To gain a better understanding of the church structure and its operations incoming treasurers should:

  • obtain a copy of the church's governing document (e.g. the church’s constitution, regulations and by-laws) and familiarise yourself with it
  • obtain a copy of the church's structure diagram (consider making a structure diagram if the church does not already have one) – this diagram will be useful in helping you knowing the church’s operation and identifying potential areas of risk
  • make a list of all relevant church activities and note the people responsible, the entity type(s) and the financial reporting requirements.
  • become familiar with the Uniting Church's history and structure.

After gaining an understanding of the church’s activities and operations, you should then:

  • establish an understanding of the current accounting system
  • determine which policies, processes and procedures are in place and what internal controls exists for transactions connected to church activities
  • be familiar with Uniting Resources shared resources
  • read all relevant policies and procedures manuals
  • engage with staff and volunteers including the accountant, bookkeeper, auditor and the outgoing treasurer
  • ensure that all activities of the organisation are included in and accounted for in the organisation’s books of account, BAS and bank accounts.

The Treasurer is required to prepare and provide a financial report at Church Council, Board or Committee meetings.

The report should include an Income and Expenditure Statement (Profit & Loss) and a Balance Sheet.

The Income and Expenditure Statement shows funds collected and received relating to the operations of the Congregation and the costs of maintaining the property, programs and activities of the Church entity.

The Balance Sheet shows the balances of any accounts, investments, money owed to the Church entity, depreciable equipment items and property held by the Church entity as well as any money owed to others.

The Treasurer’s report should give an indication of any trends that are emerging and the possible impacts this may have on the future. Church Council, Board or Committee members will need to know of any expense incurred but not yet paid and any income which is yet to be received.

Financial statements need to be audited and Annual Financial Returns (AFR) need to be submitted to Uniting Resources.

Prepare and present all above financial information at the Annual General Meeting.

Treasurers should obtain an understanding of the organisation’s current taxation registrations.

To access the organisation’s ABN and associated taxation endorsements and concessions go to the Australian Business Register (ABR) website and search by entering your organisation's ABN.

This register will inform you of the organisation’s:

  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Entity Type – this will give you an indication of its reporting obligations
  • Income tax exemption status
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration status
  • Availability for GST or Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) concessions/exemptions
  • Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status or if applicable. Please note DGR status endorsement is only available to organisations that are not classified as Basic Religious Charities (BRC).

Other management reports includes budgets, monthly reports and financial reports for specific activities. You should consider the purposes of the reports, for whom you are preparing them and how often they are required.

 

When a new Treasurer is appointed we recommend "Passing the Baton" by creating a folder with the following information to ensure transferral of knowledge from the outgoing Treasurer to the incoming Treasurer.

These documents should be kept up-to-date. Note the latest updated version at the bottom on the page with a date.

Change in members may necessitate changing signatories with Financial Institutions, ATO or other institutions.

 

The following documents should be kept in the folder:

Australian Business Register (ABN) Registration

 

Information about your organisation is also available on http://abr.business.gov.au/

 

Endorsement as a Tax Concession Charity (per ACNC)

Copy of the last Annual Information Statement (AIS) submitted to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). Ensure authorised contacts are up to date.

 

List of Contacts

This should contain contact names and all other relevant information of members of council.

Non-profit sub-entities

All unregistered non-profit sub-entities, should be listed with the date minuted as a non-profit sub-entity. Copy of relevant minutes should also be attached.

Bank and investment accounts

Signatories should be listed for each and is current

Direct entries, periodic payments from bank accounts

List of regular debits and credits as these may need to be changed from time to time

Australian Taxation Office

Name of ATO Associate and authorised contacts for Australian Taxation Office

Insurance schedule

Copy of the insurance schedule attached with the annual insurance premiums

List of Synod contacts

Key contacts for Finance, Insurance & Risk, HR, Payroll, Employment & Industrial Relations departments, UFS.

Current Employees

This page should be kept as a guide to those who are currently employed.

The majority of Uniting Church organisations in the Synod of NSW and the ACT are unincorporated associations that are not legal entities in their own right. This means that they cannot enter into any form of contractual arrangement.

The Constitution and Regulations of the Uniting Church deal with the establishment of these unincorporated associations and provide for each organisation’s respective powers. Organisations can establish committees but they cannot create new entities, whether incorporated or unincorporated.  This means Uniting Church organisations can only apply for and hold one ABN with associated taxation endorsements and concessions.  For further information refer to the ABN and ACNC Registration Policy.

The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (NSW) and The Uniting Church in Australia (Australian Capital territory) Property Trust are the only legal entities within the Synod.  They are incorporated under Acts of Parliament.

As legal entities they are the only entities that can enter into contractual arrangements such as funding agreements, holding property and to sue or to be sued.

All Uniting Church property and assets are owned by the property trust(s) and individual organisations are given beneficial custodianship of these assets. From a property perspective this obligates the beneficial custodian to ensure the maintenance and upkeep of properties under their beneficial custodianship at all times.