Over my years in ministry, I have come to enjoy the relationships that I have had with the various CPAs that have helped me. Let me define what my relationship with each CPA has not been:
- We don’t scuba dive together.
- We don’t hang out after work and talk.
- We don’t help each other paint our houses.
Here is what I want the relationship to be:
- I want them to look deeply into the finances of the church.
- I want them to assess the risk of fraud by church employees.
- I want them to be asking tough questions about accounting and reporting structures.
Of course, if the CPA was writing this introduction, he or she would add all sorts of industry specific talking points.
I want the CPA to help me ensure that our finances are accurate. I want to know beyond a reasonable doubt that we are addressing major and minor issues of financial reporting. What are the latest trends in healthy church finances and accounting? What are the ways that fraudsters are using to wiggle their way into churches? Are we doing what we should to be healthy and prevent fraud?
I want my CPA, through our annual audit, to bring in the highest levels of financial acumen. I’m not a CPA, nor do I want to be one—so bring in the people with the skills to do the job. I may not always enjoy what the “Management Letter” says (ugh, credit cards with sales tax on them, again?) but I know that they are looking out for the best for my church.