United Methodist churches use a finance committee to oversee their church's budget including offerings, income, expenses and contributions. Each finance committee is required to have a finance secretary who may be a volunteer or a paid staff member. The finance secretary carries out several important responsibilities in addition to serving as a member of the finance committee.
Each week, the church's offering is collected. In the United Methodist Church there is a weekly offering and also several Special Sunday designated offerings for either the whole church or the church's annual conference. The finance secretary is responsible for keeping the offering envelopes in supply and overseeing the committee members designated to count the offering. The finance secretary receives a full record of all funds collected and is responsible for maintaining a record of all regular and special contributions, including logging donations by members and completing receipt vouchers. According to the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline, the finance secretary may also be responsible for depositing the week's offering if designated by the finance committee.
Invoicing and Bill Paying
The finance secretary may also be responsible for assembling all invoices. The United Methodist Church does not dictate whether the treasurer or finance secretary is responsible for collecting the invoices but United Methodist churches with a paid staff member serving as finance secretary often have them assist the treasurer with this task. The finance secretary enters invoices for all accounts payable in the church's accounting system and makes sure the treasurer receives all invoices due to be paid. The finance secretary may also assist the treasurer in paying bills. In some United Methodist Church conferences, the church may be able to pay conference and general apportionments online, and the finance secretary should keep track of when these monthly payments are due.
The United Methodist Church views financial record keeping as one of the church's ministries. To this end, the finance secretary is responsible for maintaining all records of funds collected and bills paid. The finance secretary uses this information to keep the finance committee aware of the church's financial standing and assists the committee in planning for expenditures and donations. The United Methodist Church also uses the finance secretary to keep track of members' donations to make note of members who may be in financial distress and in need of assistance. The United Methodist Church also requires each church to undergo an annual audit, and the finance secretary must submit their records to the auditor each year.
The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline sets out the committee structure of each local church. According to church policies, the finance secretary serves as a member of the finance committee although he does not have a vote if he is a paid staff member. He should attend all finance committee meetings and give the balance sheet as well as the income and expense report at each meeting. The finance secretary also records the finance committee minutes and completes all audit reports and a weekly income comparison report. The finance secretary supports the other United Methodist church committees as well, giving each committee a budget report and keeping them apprised of their spending. The finance secretary also updates committees as needed on giving and expenses related to their committee.
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