Accounts Payable Chaos


Today you are paying bills for the church. You have the statement from an organization that shows seven orders but you only have four different invoices from members to back up the statement. Where are the other three?  Who ordered the material? Sunday School? Deacons? Youth Group? Missions? Coffee Break?

Time to search.  You send emails, call people, ask them at church, and yet do not find who was responsible for two of the orders.  Do you pay it even though you don't know who ordered the material?

This topic was suggested by a church secretary/bookkeeper who has this very problem.  This church was constantly behind on paying their invoices because the bookkeeper had to track down and identify and then charge the payments to the right account.

What guidelines do you have in your church for members who order materials?  Do they know they need to give the invoice to the church office?  One suggestion is to always have members give their name when they order so this is referenced on the statement.  Any other suggestions?

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  • Church Admin & Finance > Finance > Purchasing
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We have several credit cards issued to staff and key ministry leaders who order supplies.  When the credit card statement comes, it is easy to track whose credit card was charged.  Sometimes it is hard for the person to remember what item the charge was for, but at least we know which area of ministry to charge.

We also have a check request system.  If someone makes a purchase with their own money, they can request reimbursement by completing a check request, attaching receipts and having it signed by the leader of their ministry.  That person then submits the request to the church staff person who supervises that ministry.


The Treasurer is instructed to issue a check only when a request has the appropriate signatures on it.  This system is explained to Ministry volunteers every year at our Orientation meeting. 


Another helpful system for us is not a system at all . . . it is the person who is our Admin Assistant.  She helps out many ministries by doing their ordering for them.  As pointed out in this blog, she saves herself headaches in the end by knowing exactly what was ordered and by whom.  

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