The most important function of your finance or accounting team is to produce timely and accurate reports. Churches have a legal requirement to keep and maintain complete and accurate financial records.
Without timely data entry, the church cannot know how it is doing financially. If the church doesn’t prepare budgets (which we strongly recommend), it will not know how it is doing compared to the budget. Also, if the check register is not updated and reconciled, the church runs the risk of having insufficient funds when payroll or bills are paid. (Looking up the account balance on your bank website is not a way to see how you are doing financially.)
Often the bookkeeper is in a hurry and just puts the credit card payment to “miscellaneous” instead of applying it to the different expense accounts that were paid.
Finally, when financial reports are requested by the bank, or needed for the year-end business meeting, if the accounting is not up-to-date, it can take too long to prepare the reports.
Regardless of the size of the church, the goal should be to finalize the prior month’s reports and reconciliations by the 10th– 15th of the following month (sooner is better, if possible). Otherwise, the pastor or church board is looking at information that is too old, and cannot react soon enough if adjustments to spending are needed.