A key component of good stewardship of the financial resources of the church is preparation of an annual ministry budget. This should be developed before the beginning of the next fiscal year with enough time to present it to the board/society for review, revision and approval before the start of the next fiscal year.
The treasurer provides the body responsible for developing the budget with adequate information about income, expenses, etc. The budget should be realistic and have reasonable expectations of being met, both in terms of income (offerings) and expenses.
An important part of the budget process is ongoing monitoring of the budget which is part of the task of the treasurer as well as the board members and ministry leaders. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to act as a “trustee” on behalf of the congregation for the resources of the church, including its finances or money. To do this, they must be provided with timely and accurate reports. Reports with a comparison to the previous year and a year-to-date comparison to the current approved budget where possible is helpful.
The budget is not a means of controlling funds but a plan as to how the financial resources of the church are to be used. It is critical to the financial health of the church that the state of the church finances be well communicated. The treasurer takes the lead role in being responsible for this under the direction of the board. From time to time, it is wise to reevaluate the budget and, if necessary, revise it based on income/expenditure performance. In the Resource Section below, there is a sample Financial Report.