In Part I of this article I shared that the financial well-being of the parish is one of the most important fiduciary responsibilities of the Vestry. Therefore, in order to understand the finances of the parish, financial reports need to be organized and presented in a way that is clear and easy to read. The first part of this article reviewed the Income and Expense Report, first looking at Sources of Operating Income. In Part II we will continue that by discussing Grouping Operating Expenses. Then we will discuss the Non-operating Income and Expense Reports, as well as the Four Important Questions Vestry Members Should Ask. In addition, you may wish to view the ECF webinar entitled “Fearless Finances”.
By Jerry Keucher
Vestries are the fiduciaries of the parish corporation. Whatever word we use — fiduciaries, stewards, trustees — we mean the ones responsible for the good management of something that doesn’t belong to them. The parish has been put into the hands of the current vestry, and the current vestry is responsible for it. Vestries discharge their fiduciary responsibilities by trying to make sure that they hand on to their successors a parish that is stronger and more viable than it was when they took office.
The financial well-being of the parish is one of the most important fiduciary responsibilities of the vestry. No vestry can fulfill its responsibility in this area without regular monthly financial reports. The report the vestry should receive every month is a statement of income and expenses-- that is, what money came in from what source, and what it was spent on.
Many vestry members do not have a financial background and may feel intimidated by a discussion of numbers. If that describes you, this article is intended to give you a basic grasp of the concepts, which are not difficult. If you find the financial reports you receive at vestry meetings mystifying, it might be because the reports are not organized and presented in a way that facilitates understanding. The purpose of the accompanying spreadsheet is to give your Treasurer a format for a financial report that is easily understood. In addition, you may wish to view the ECF webinar entitled “Fearless Finances” held on October 2016 that discussed the topic of this article.