Governance Issues

Vehicles Contributed to a Church – (1 of 4)

It’s been a while since we discussed contributions of autos and other vehicles to nonprofit organizations. In 2005 and 2006 significant changes were adopted requiring better substantiation of value and detailed recordkeeping. See our prior post on valuing donated vehicles posted by Sandy Siegfried on September 27, 2006.

Here is a summary of the current requirements in case you are considering accepting gifts such as cars, boats or aircraft.

Intellectual Property - Church Property? - (Mega-Church series)

Intellectual property is created by individuals using the mind or intellect. These creations include songs, books, sermons, dramas, bible study materials, inventions, websites, etc. Employees may produce or create these items as part of their employment.

Who owns the rights to this property is becoming a significant issue with churches and ministries.

Asset Defined

Straight from FASB's Norwalk Connecticut Headquarters:

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) approved a revised definition of what constitutes an asset on October 22, 2007, the first day of their two-day joint meeting.


Contributions represent the largest source of income for most charitable organizations. Churches are classified as a charitable organization, or a 501(c)(3) and they are funded almost entirely by contributions. Understanding the rules for contributions and developing procedures to comply with the technical legal rules is important.

Tone at the Top (2 of 2)

Setting the tone at the top is a key requirement of board governance. Management must establish standards of conduct and follow them. These standards contain the values, philosophy and mission or the organization.

How does this impact the Organization's audit?

Record Keeping for Ministers (2 of 3)

Good record keeping enables individuals to easily take advantage of all the tax credits available under the IRS code. Properly maintaining receipt and payment information provides reliable information that should be used in substantiating the costs to maintain a minister's residence.

Record Retention - (Mega church series)

In our previous post discussing record retention, we noted that it is important for churches/ministries and other organizations to discuss and adopt a record retention policy.

What should be maintained and how long?

Typical Content of a Management Representation Letter

In prior postings, we discussed the reasons an external independent auditor would request their client to sign a management representation letter as well as who should sign the letter. In this post, we will discuss the typical content of the letter.

The letter itself, including the written representations, should be addressed to the auditor. Because the auditor is concerned with events occurring through the date of his or her report, the representations should be made as of the date of the auditor’s report.

Creating Sausage (a/k/a Financial Reporting) - Anonymous Post

Producing reliable accounting information for churches and ministries is sorta like making sausage...

not fun to watch...but the results can be very satisfying! Do you agree?

Signed...Toby, a typical sausage maker and a black & white guy in a technicolor organization

Record Keeping for Ministers

Good record keeping enables ministers to easily take advantage of all the tax credits available under the IRS code. To avoid the last minute crunch of getting all your records together at tax time, organizing and maintaining certain records are very important skills to develop. To get started I have listed a few important things that Ministers would want to keep track of during the year to make tax time easier.