FAQ: What are appropriate procedures for counting an offering?
Doug Clay answers frequently asked questions concerning church business practices
Whether the church chooses to count the offering during the service, after the service or the next day, the church must ensure that the offering is kept secure at all times.
This means that if the offering isn’t counted immediately, it is placed in a secure safe until it can be counted. Ideally, at least two individuals should be responsible for counting the offering. The church should provide offering envelopes to ensure that donors receive proper credit for their donations. Those counting the offering will need to document the following:
• The correct amount of coin, cash and checks by completing an offering tally sheet.
• That the amount recorded on the donor envelopes does, in fact, match the amounts contained in the envelopes.
• That envelopes are completed for donations that were given without envelopes (unless the church will make copies or other record of these loose checks to serve as a record of the donation).
• Agreement and signature by both parties on the individual amounts of coin, cash and checks, as well as the total amount of the offering.
One copy of the offering tally sheet should be included in the church safe to assist with the preparation of the bank deposit while a second should be forwarded directly to the individual responsible for reconciling the bank account. This individual should be different than the individual who will prepare the deposit. In this manner, there is a check in place that the amount counted is the same as the amount ultimately deposited to the bank.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this FAQ is to provide basic information regarding church administration. Information contained within is generic in nature and is intended as a guide, not a substitute for seeking professional advice specific to your church or any state laws. If you have explicit concerns, please consult a professional.