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Why should a congregation have an audit?

Annual audits are required by the Canons of the Diocese for all parishes and missions.  The primary purpose of an audit is to assure that financial statements are fairly stated.  Any person handling the monies or investments of the church needs an audit to protect the church assets and him/her against suspicion of mishandling those assets.  Similarly, rectors, vestries, vicars, bishop’s committees, treasurers, and other persons in positions of responsibility may be liable for any losses which would have been discovered by an ordinary audit but were not discovered because they failed to have an audit conducted.
Additionally, an announcement to the congregation that a completed audit reveals that all monies and investments are properly accounted for will have a positive impact on stewardship.

Diocese of South Carolina Audit Requirements                            

Diocesan Canon XXXIV requires that an annual audit be performed in each Parish and Mission, due by September 1, covering the financial reports of the previous calendar year.
All accounts of the church must be audited annually either by a professional accountant, or by a committee of at least two (2) persons who are communicants of the mission or parish appointed by the Vestry or mission committee, none of whom shall have functioned as Treasurer, bookkeeper, or held any responsibility for the accounting records during the period under audit.
Additionally, the diocese has an internal auditor who can do this for $46 per hour plus travel and lodging expense.  This is a good alternative for churches who are unable to form a committee, but who cannot afford the expense of a CPA audit.  Please contact Nancy Armstrong in the diocesan office (843-722-4075, Ext. 101) for further information on the audit program, or to have our auditor contact you.
If a professional accountant performs the audit, please send a copy of the opinion letter and the audited financial statements to Office of the Treasurer, P. O. Box 20127, Charleston, SC 29413.
If a committee performs the audit, members must use the audit-by-committee documents below which include complete instructions:

The Audit-by-Committee packet includes:

Instructions for the Audit Committee

Audit Procedure

A List of Pre-audit Documents Required for Review

Internal Controls Questionnaire

An Audit Committee Certificate,

For internal audits, our auditor will furnish the appropriate documents to the diocesan office.

Please do not overlook this important task.  Vestries are charged with the fiduciary responsibility for all church affairs, and overlooking this would be deemed as serious negligence on the part of its members.  Additionally, by resolution of the Department of Congregational Development, any aided church that does not have a current audit on file in the diocesan office by the deadline may not receive funds either from the diocesan budget or from Builders for Christ.
Important:  A compilation is NOT an audit.  CPA’s are not permitted to ask questions in a compilation, therefore this affords no protection or assurance to the church leadership or its members.  Accordingly, compilations will not be accepted.

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