The Project was designed to bless by assisting the churches of the Southwest Texas Conference. The initial focus of the project was directed toward the District member churches that originally requested assistance from the District and Conference Treasurer.
Financial systems that are void of checks and balances are vulnerable to abuse by the most reliable and well-meaning persons. The member churches of the Southwest Texas Conference have experienced unacceptable financial losses over the most recent quadrennium, primarily due to weak and non-existing financial systems and controls. This severe problem can and must be prevented so that The United Methodist Church can put forward its most efficient and effective witness for Christ.
This financial integrity project offers the churches in the Southwest Texas Conference Churches vital services that substantially strengthen financial systems and controls at nominal costs.
This project was developed out of necessity to reduce toward zero the number of abuses found and/or documented within the churches of the conference.
The Financial Integrity Project has taken shape in the form of two primary services offered:
Both services are rendered by accounting graduates supervised and directed by conference staff and a knowledgeable consultant.
- Monthly Record-Keeping
- Annual Auditing.
INTEGRITY GOALS There are three main project goals, all of which cannot be overstated:
Future goals include:
- To obtain a substantial reduction in the number of fraud and/or financial mismanagement issues, reported and unreported.
- To provide member churches with a simple process to fully comply with Discipline requirements for financial audits.
- To provide accounting and auditing services for nominal fees to churches within the Southwest Texas Conference.
- The expansion of the project to every district in the conference.
- The expansion of services to include some accounts payable management.
PROJECT SERVICES A church acquiring professional auditing services offered by the project can anticipate an introductory packet with a cover letter filled with a simple set of instructions. The packet will include an engagement letter, requests for information and documents, along with an internal control questionnaire. Once the internal control questionnaire, engagement letter, and other requested documents are received, confirmation documents for the bank and randomly selected givers will be sent for signatures authorizing other parties to provide requested responses. After signing the all of the confirmation documents received it is requested that those documents be returned in their entirety to the project office for controlled distribution to the third parties. At the completion of the audit, a report in compliance with the Discipline will be issued in conjunction with a management letter. Our rates are $100 base fee with an additional $100 for every $100,000 in revenue the church generates. These amounts are taken from the financial reports provided.
FINANCIAL POLICY The integrity of this project is achieved through the channels of authority as established within the Conference. The Conference Finance and Administration Committee has complete and total oversight responsibility. The responsibility and authority has to be delegated at the level of implementation and supervision to the Treasurer’s office of the Southwest Texas Conference. The day to day authority and responsibility to supervise and administer policy and procedures has been shared with the project consultant. The accounting program is Logos and the audit program was designed by the consultant. Independence is maintained in that a staff person performing accounting services for a particular church cannot and will not also audit that church. In addition, the consultant’s only role is to supervise, provide support, answer questions, and interpret policy and procedure while responding at the direction of the Treasurer’s office.
The day to day work of each service provided is solely the task of the staff accountant and interns. The staff accountant currently has a Masters in Accounting and studying for the CPA exam. The interns are enrolled in a Masters of Accounting degree program.
The project office is located in the Southwest Texas Conference Office. Every measure of effort is exerted to maintain the security and confidentially of any and all records received, reviewed, and processed, to the extent that the staff accountants are the only persons that come into contact with client documents. The only occasion for others in authority to come into contact with church data is only to resolve issues and with your knowledge and approval.