Publicly Available Financial Statements

Right outside the door to my Finance Office is a multi-tier tray in which I put several documents. This is part of my goal of complete financial transparency. Members (and non-members) can get any of these documents without having to ask for them and without being stopped or being asked why they want the information. Here is what I put in my financial information trays:

  • Latest Month’s Financial Statements

o   I always put out the most recent financial statements. While the church business meeting may only get a financial summary (in order to save paper), the document in this tray by the Finance Office is the same document which the Finance Committee gets. I put it out no later than the 15th of each subsequent month so that people can read current data.

  • Last Year’s Audit or completed financial statements

o   I’ve always had an annual audit, but some churches can’t afford an annual audit. If you have an annual audit, please put out copies of the complete audit so that people can read what an independent CPA wrote about the church’s finances. If you don’t have an annual audit, then put out the prior years’ complete financial statement (the document which has the information for all 12 months). People can look back at the prior year and compare it to the current year if they choose.

  • Other info: I also want to look forward, not just backward at financial information. To that end, I put out information which will help members be better Christians and give them ideas for being generous with their church.

o   Stewardship books: I make available two books which are free for the taking. The books are Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley and The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. These books are inexpensive, but they are powerful. I keep the rack stocked with these books and encourage people to take as many as they want.

o   Capital needs list: Every church has long-term, financially expensive needs. However, most churches do not have a way to let members know what needs to be done. I strongly encourage churches to post a list of their capital needs – ranging from relatively inexpensive items (chairs for the children’s area) to major items (new roof or A/C units). Keep your membership informed because at some point, the church will have to pay for these expenses and perhaps someone will see this list and take care of it before the church has to pay for it.

o   Other Items: You can use this to publish information about a current capital campaign, a long-term mission project, or other things that the church needs to be aware of.

Use this multi-tier tray to keep your members informed. It’s money they gave to their church, and providing transparency engenders your donors’ trust.

Lead On!




  1. Bet few churches do this, particularly the mega-ones!

    • You might be surprised by how transparent the mega churches are. I asked an extremely large church for a copy of their financials and they provided it to me even though I had no connection to them at all. And it was the same financial package they provide to their finance committee. Yes, I was surprised.