Buying Protocol at a Church - Q & A 5014-06 ZZchu

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                   TO:  Interested Churches                                                                              FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired CPA-Auditor
                                                                                                                                                           FILE:  5014-06/Chu

                    RE:  Church Buying Protocol  - Q & A                                                       ORIGINATION:    March 1999


        What is the Budget authorization process?


        The church has a fiscal year which ends June 30. Each year the MFTeam  works with the Church Staff and ultimately a recommended Annual Budget goes to the Board of Leadership for ratification by the Congregation prior to July 1 of the upcoming fiscal year. All details of the Annual Budget are open to the congregation except the earnings of individual staff members.
        During the year the congregation gets relevant financial information in the weekly Church bulletin; more details are available upon request of the MFTeam.
        Since a Church’s ministry re-focuses during the year, the Annual Budget may not be appropriate for the entire 12 months . Therefore, Adjusted Annual Authorized Budgets are determined and reflected during, mostly, the second half of the fiscal year.  Major Budget increases, as defined by Policy and the MFTeam, might require congregational approval.


        Since I am responsible for my Church budget, how do I go about this?


         We reference someone like you as being in charge of a DAG (Dollar Accountability Group) and you, of course,  had a leading part in converting your annual ministry needs/plans to annual budget dollars.
        Upon approval, your DAG annual budget is divided up into seasonal months and the church accounting system provides you with regular (at least monthly, or upon request) "Actual to Budget-A to B" reports. These reports provide each DAG with both "A to B" reports by generic expense category plus more detailed "when/who/why" information.
        You need to understand these "A to B" reports. It is your responsibility to live within these DAG Budgets, and it is the Staffer’s responsibility to make sure that you understand the content of these reports. Be sure you work together .


            How do I buy things for my DAG?


        Please ask help from the Office Staff  if you do not understand the following methods:

Credit Card (Plastic) or Charge Accounts

        With few exceptions, we prefer that DAGers  purchase ALL items using Church’s Credit Cards. Please only use Charge accounts if some discount,  or perk, is only available through this means. Now most all reputable vendors sell by Credit Cards and it greatly facilities our buying control and accounting process as we deal with one Purchase source.  Please  Click Here  for possible use of the  Debit Card  option. 
        A number of the Church staff appropriately have Church Credit Cards in their name. Please determine whose Credit Card you should use and make in-person or phone purchases for your DAG in this manner with their approval.   If a vendor questions your signature, please have them call the Church office, or the named Staff member. Please complete Form 002 (Credit Card Purchases) by doing the following:

  • Attach Credit Card charge slips.

  • Code this purchase to your DAG/Category so that it properly appears in your "DAG A to B" report. Remember, you are responsible for proper coding, not the Office staff.

  • Obtain the appropriate approval signature.

  • The Office  staff will post to your DAG the week of their receipt of form 002.

Other Purchases

            We prefer that Staff and Volunteers NOT make purchases from their own resources and seek reimbursement from the Church. We request that all such purchases of $100.00 or more be via the above Church’s Credit Card process.
            Please use Check Request, Form 001, (Please complete and process like Form 002 above) for Ministry Mileage  (at the applicable IRS rate per mile - Click here for more information on this topic) and other necessary out of pocket DAG expenses. Please use Advance Settlement,  Form 003, as requested.
            Ask the staff about appropriate use of SCRIP for certain DAG purposes.

Petty Cash:

           The Plastic usage above virtually eliminates the need for the Church office to maintain a small sum of money on hand for purchases of $10.00 or less.

         Thank you.

     The bulk of this Publication originated in March 1999 and was      UPTD: April 24, 2010

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