The role of a treasurer is a vital one in the life of a church, keeping financial records, reporting on financial performance to the minister/priest and Parish Council, and ensuring payments are made on behalf of the parish.
The type of work undertaken varies from church to church, depending on the complexity and size of the ministry. Some treasurers oversee all financial transactions, from income through giving, to making payments. Other churches may have an accountant who makes payments and tracks income, and the treasurer has a role in advising Parish Council on financial strategies.
Here are some common responsibilities for the parish treasurer:
- Oversee financial administration, and keep necessary records
- Review and monitor financial procedures (collection of money, payment of accounts)
- Lodge returns to the authorities as required (E.g. BAS, Payroll)
- Monitor the financial position of the church regularly against budget
- Provide reports and analysis to the Parish Council
- Assist the church in achieving its mission, using the financial resources provided
Appointing a Treasurer
The Parochial Administration Ordinance (Section 32.2) specifies that “The Parish Council shall appoint a treasurer to maintain accurate financial records and to report as required to the Vestry, the Parish Council, and the Australian Taxation Office”. The treasurer is responsible to the Parish Council. It is (very) helpful for a treasurer to have a basic understanding of accounting or book keeping, and the applicable legal responsibilities.
When appointing a new treasurer, the following may need to be considered:
- Notifying banks of the change of treasurer, to change account authorisations
- Ensure historical records are transferred
- Ensure the right software is available to the new treasurer to do their work
As the treasurer is intimately involved in the running of a church, it is a good idea to always have someone else being trained in the role. This means that if the current treasurer goes on holiday, or otherwise becomes unavailable, a backup person is available and the church can continue its work with minimal disruption to payments and reporting.
Support for Treasurers
There are a number of ways that Diocesan Office can support treasurers:
- The Ministry & Parish Support Team includes financial specialists who can answer your technical questions
- The Payroll Service can significantly reduce the time and complexity of a treasurer’s work
- Anglican Funds SA offers a full range of banking services, customised to the needs of our churches
- Planned Giving by Anglican Funds SA streamlines regular electronic giving
Our Community.com.au have provided a useful guide for being a Treasurer in the Australian Not-For-Profit sector. Note that in their documentation, a ‘Board’ is roughly equivalent to a Parish Council.