The Sting (part 3 of 3)

In prior weeks I told a rather unbelievable story that happened to me many years ago. Embezzlement happens in some church in America every week. Be aware of the opportunities for theft and prevent them.

 Here’s my suggestion for all churches: that the church treasurer and the church financial assistant/accountant coordinate each year to do a test of the cash handling by the tellers using the system outlined above.

On 3 or 4 pre-selected weeks, the church accountant put in the offering plate $50 in cash (1 twenty dollar bill, 2 ten dollar bills, 1 five dollar bill, and 5 one dollar bills). Before putting them in the offering plate, the bills must all be photocopied to capture their serial numbers.

After the tellers have counted for that week, then church treasurer and church accountant will go through the offering together – it is vital that this be done jointly to ensure there isn’t a potential for a false accusation. They will compare the actual cash received to the photocopied bills to ensure the cash was received in the offering plate.

  • If the photocopied cash was in the counted offering, then all is well and they can use that same $50 for the other weeks of the operation.
  • If the photocopied cash was NOT in the counted offering, then they need to bring a couple of lay leaders and together determine a course of action. That action should include continuing the photocopied cash when different members of the tellers are not present to eliminate suspects. By all means, keep this quiet – if it got out, it would be disastrous for the member’s confidence in the church’s financial operations.

Lead On!