Here is a checklist of 15 areas of risk. Why not spend a moment seeing how many you score?
1. Does the PCC agree an annual income and expenditure budget before the start of each new financial year? Does the PCC allocate clear budgets or spending limits to church-based organisations, committees and individuals? How are they held accountable?
2. Are there clear terms of reference for all PCC sub-committees, including the Standing Committee?
3. Does the PCC get regular (monthly or bi-monthly) reports on actual income and expenditure compared to the budget and previous years?
4. Has the PCC identified the most significant risks and their likely impacts on the church? Does it update this list every year before signing the annual accounts? Is the scope of church insurance policies reviewed annually?
5. Is the appointment of the independent examiner or auditor formally reviewed at least every 5 years? Do they use the checklist and guidance available here?
6. Does your PCC review and update your child protection policy every year? Health and safety? Data protection? Disability discrimination?
7. Is the Inventory (the list of parish property and equipment) physically checked and updated every year?
8. Is there a list of all key holders, particularly for the main church doors, vestry and safe? Are the keys signed for? Are the main locks ever changed?
9. Is all income kept securely until it can be counted and banked? Is income counted and checked by at least two individuals, and signed for? Is all income banked promptly and in full? Is the Vestry Register kept up to date and checked against the accounting records? Are receipts and thank you letters sent to major donors?
10. Are records kept that can prove the validity of all Gift Aid claims (eg bank statements, declarations, envelopes)? Is the tax on Gift Aid donations reclaimed regularly (eg quarterly or half-yearly) to improve cash-flow?
11. If gifts are given for a specific purpose, are they recorded in a restricted fund and only used for that purpose – including any Gift Aid tax recovered?
12. Are all cheques signed by at least two individuals? Are blank cheques never signed? Are large payments agreed by the entire PCC?
13. Are all regular payments to individuals subject to PAYE? Are there written records of the terms and conditions of employment or service?
14. Do all church groups keep accurate records of income and expenditure, including bills and receipts?
15. Are competitive quotations from reputable suppliers obtained for all regular expenditure (eg fuel, printing, phones) at least every three years?