8. Financial Integrity

Preamble

8.1 In both their personal capacity and their pastoral ministry clergy are involved in matters of a financial nature.  The ministry of church workers may include financial management.  The financial dealings of clergy and church workers have a significant impact on the Church and the community.

8.2 Financial integrity is essential to all financial processes and transactions.

8.3 Clergy and church workers with overall authority for financial management in a church body are responsible for the implementation and maintenance of proper systems for financial integrity and accountability.  They cannot delegate this responsibility to anyone else.

Standards for clergy and church workers

These standards state the Church’s expectations for personal behaviour and the practice of pastoral ministry.

8.4 You are not to avoid payment of your just debts and family support obligations.

8.5 You are not to engage in tax evasion.

8.6 You are not to seek personal advantage or financial gain for yourself or your family from your position or from a pastoral relationship, beyond your stipend or wage and recognised allowances and deductions.

8.7 You are not to allow yourself to be influenced by offers of money or financial reward.

8.8 You are to avoid situations of conflict between your personal financial interest and your pastoral ministry responsibilities.

8.9 You are to arrange your personal and church finances to ensure that clear account and transaction boundaries are maintained.

8.10 You are to fully disclose and be publicly accountable for all church monies which you handle.

8.11 If you have overall authority for financial management in a church body, you are to ensure that:

  • proper systems for financial integrity and accountability are implemented and maintained;
  • all clergy and church workers for whom you have responsibility and who have authority for financial management in a church body are informed of their roles and responsibilities; and
  • all stipends, wages and allowances payable are adequate, and paid promptly and in full.

Guidelines

These guidelines explain and illustrate best practice and highlight practical ways to achieve it.

Financial management practices

8.12 You should ensure that your salary packaging and the accounts of any church body for which you have responsibility are in accordance with Church and civil taxation and accounting requirements.

8.13 If you have overall authority for financial management in a church body, you should minimise the risk of you and other clergy and church workers being accused of or engaging in financial impropriety by:

  • having two persons unrelated by family to handle church money received;
  • not involving paid clergy or paid church workers in the counting of church offertories;
  • ensuring that church money on church premises is kept safely and securely;
  • avoiding church money being taken home wherever possible;
  • ensuring that all church money received is banked promptly;
  • ensuring that proper accounting records are kept for church transactions, in the form of receipts, diary entries, tax invoices, accounts and account statements;
  • ensuring that all church accounts have more than one signatory;
  • ensuring that any accounts paid by cash are duly receipted; and
  • ensuring that those with the responsibility for handling money have suitable training in financial matters.

Gifts

8.14 If you are offered or receive a gift, whether monetary or otherwise, from a person with whom you have a pastoral relationship, you should:

  • establish for whom the gift is intended and exercise discretion as to whether the gift should be personally accepted;
  • consider:
    • the size of the gift;
    • the intentions and circumstances of the giver;
    • the risk of your integrity being compromised; and
    • whether acceptance of the gift would cause scandal and embarrassment if known publicly;
  • if it is substantial, disclose the offer or receipt to a supervisor or colleague; and
  • if there is any uncertainty as to the gift’s appropriateness, seek advice from a supervisor or colleague.

Personal financial obligations

8.15 You should manage your finances so that personal debts, including those to any church body, are paid when due and in full.

8.16 You should avoid borrowing money from, or lending money to, a person with whom you have a pastoral relationship as this may place you in a position where your personal interest conflicts with your pastoral responsibilities. If you do, then disclose the circumstances to a supervisor or colleague. In some cultures where there are communal ownership and kinship obligations, this guideline may be applied differently.