The role of a treasurer is a very important one. Not only will thousands of pounds flow through the Church’s funds, but the PCC is also an independent charity, and will need to conform to Charity Commission guidance. Appointing a treasurer is a significant step for both the PCC and the individual, and it should be properly thought through. The treasurer does not need to be an accountant – it’s important that a potential treasurer has both the honesty and enthusiasm to want to do the job, and some of the following skills and characteristics would be helpful:
Skills and Characteristics
- Reasonable financially competence, and the ability to maintain a basic accounts book.
- Have an understanding of the parish, its needs and challenges.
- Have a basic understanding of how the parish fits into its wider Deanery, Diocesan and national church contexts.
- Willingness to attend PCC meetings, not only to deal with financial matters, but also in order to be aware of the PCC’s plans.
- Be in harmony with the PCC, the parish priest and the wider church.
- Be able to explain financial issues clearly, both within the PCC and to the general church membership.
- Be able to maintain confidentiality, particularly with respect to matters that relate to individual church members; e.g. their personal giving.
- Meet the wider requirements of the Charity Commissioners for all trustees: i.e. not disqualified by bankruptcy or by convictions for financial wrong doing.
- Although PCC members can be 16 or over, the bank is likely to require someone who is 18 or over. Since the role carries significant responsibility the PCC may also feel that it is appropriate to have someone aged over 18.
You may or may not have been a treasurer of an organisation before. For smaller churches, it in many respects is not dissimilar from keeping good control of household finances; whilst for the largest parishes greater understanding of some accountancy practice will need to be acquired. Most dioceses offer some training to new treasurers, and a good handover from the previous treasurer will cover much of what new treasurers will need to know.
Key Tasks for a Treasurer
The size and scope of the Treasurer’s job will depend on the size and complexity of the Parish. But key tasks for Treasurers are to:-
- Carry out the financial decisions made by the PCC. The responsibility for both raising and spending money to meet the PCC’s responsibilities lies with the PCC. The Treasurer implements their decisions.
- Draft an annual budget to assist the PCC to plan how it will fulfill its objectives for the coming year.
- Record all financial transactions carried out on behalf of the PCC and ensure they are properly authorised.
- Monitor the PCC’s finances throughout the year, and alert the PCC if any difficulties are likely.
- Work with the PCC to meet all its financial obligations, especially Parish Share, clergy expenses and insuring the church buildings against fire, theft and public liability.
- Maintain, and set-up if needed, a book-keeping system.
- Prepare the annual financial statements for approval by the PCC and submission to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, ensuring that they comply with current Charity Commission requirements. Send a copy to the Diocese, and complete the national financial information return.