The importance of accounting in the church is a controversial issue that is giving a lot of clergymen and women concern in our modern world. This is particularly important now that churches have been taken to be a profitable business venture. Without prejudice, this is a fact that may be difficult for some people to accept.
Church business has become a large industry with investments that is worth billions if trillions of dollars and as such needs to be treated with utmost care hence, the importance of accounting in churches. Before I go on bringing out the importance of accounting in the church, I would like to firstly give a working definition of the term accounting.
Accounting is the process of; collecting, collating, recording, analyzing, interpreting, and communicating financial data and other datum with economic values to the end users (in this case, the church committee members and other stakeholders in the church) in a format this understood by them. This makes the accountants finance communicators.
BENEFITS OF ACCOUNTING FOR CHURCH’S PROPERTIES
To promote holiness: accounting in church will promote holiness as people will have it at the back of their mind that they may be caught if church’s property is mismanaged and misappropriated. If accounting in traditional businesses can help deter fraud, why can’t it then do same in the church?
For accountability: there are people whose ‘self imposed duty’ in the church is to monitor peoples way of life and when they see that a particular responsible officer is living well, they will conclude and spread the news that such officer is using finance that is meant for running the affairs of the church, in order to curb this, accounting for the property of the church is the only way to enthrone the desired transparency in the church.
To give to the government: because churches have recently been classed as profit making ventures, there is the need for proper books of account to be maintained in the church. Failure to keep proper account of the activities of the church oftentimes leads to the church being fined just like other business ventures.
To stimulate growth: accounting information provided by the church administrators will act as a basis for planning growth and other developmental projects of the church. Just like accounting has roles to play in the development of the economy, it equally has roles to play in the development and growth of the church.
To protect the churches properties: it is an established fact that internal control is the best method of protecting assets and deterring fraud. If this holds, it will equally hold that proper accounting is the backbone of good internal control.
Gone are the days when people erroneously assume that the church being a place of worship is and should be free from misappropriation and embezzlement. In fact, the devil (in the form of human beings) has now entered the church to steal and further enrich them-selves thereby making it even more important to accurately account for the assets of the church.
If you are among those that have believed that the importance of accounting in the church shouldn’t be an issue, I hope that this article will give you food for thought and change your thinking?