Tithe and Offering Count Process
The handling and processing of the Sunday cash tithe & offerings is a critical step in the accounting process and requires appropriate safe guards and well-designed segregation of duties, which is key component in the internal controls of any church organization. I want to describe for you what a practical offering count process would look like for a local church that can be used as a framework to model your count process off of. Keep in mind; that I am going to describe an ideal scenario but certain limitations of staff, volunteers or facilities might lead you to implement a more realistic process for counting Sunday tithes & offerings.
Once the offering is collected – it is transported by a minimum of two people to a secure location where the “count” will take place. A minimum of two people (not related to one another by blood or marriage) will be present to perform the “count”. The count team should be rotated monthly to ensure no two people or “count” team exclusively perform this process. Loose cash & checks should be separated from other items included in the tithe/offering such as prayer or connection cards.
Loose cash should be separated from envelopes and envelopes should be emptied – ensuring that the contents of each envelope matches the amount indicated in the information section of the envelope that is filled out by the donor. Additionally; ensure that any designations on checks are also correctly indicated on the envelope since the envelopes will be used to record donor contributions in the donor tracking system.
One counter will be responsible for counting cash while the other will count checks – both using a “counting sheet” that specifies the number of each bill denomination and/or check numbers & amounts. Once the counters have completed totaling their respective component (cash or checks) – they recount the other counters component which serves as a double count/verification of count.
Once recounted; the individual “counting sheets” are signed and combined into a “weekly offering record” sheet which serves as a summary count sheet. This form can also be used to account for offerings and/or revenues generated throughout the week assuming that one deposit is made each week.
The “weekly offering record” sheet is then signed by each counter and provided to the bookkeeper to ensure that each individual revenue source is properly recorded in the financial statements. The cash & checks are then put into a lock-bag that is provided by the bank and is deposited immediately or within 24 hours.
The lock-bag will need to be retrieved from the bank within a couple of days which contain the bank deposit slip which should be provided to the bookkeeper. This will serve as final evidence to verify the “weekly offering record” sheet and total deposit for the week.
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