Part 5 of our ongoing Fraud Awareness in the Church series will address Policies and Procedures Manuals. PSK in cooperation with the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) conducted a survey to determine the extent of fraud awareness in the church environment. We asked churches to respond to this statement:
Our church has compiled written financial, accounting, management and personnel policies in a central document such as an accounting and management policy manual.
Given the multitude of church management resources available and the myriad of church conferences that church managers can attend, it surprised me that only 50% of the respondents answered “yes” to this question. The reasons for this low compliance rate puzzles me, but if I had to make a guess as to the culprit, I would say that it is because of the “tyranny of the urgent” environment that many church managers live in. Because of their overloaded schedules many simply adopt the “Wac-a-Mole” management theory in which the administrators simply handle what pops up next. As long as they are getting the job done, they see no need to document procedures.
Unfortunately, by doing this, they are ignoring the fact that not having written policies and procedures is not only a bad way to do business, it also exposes the church to fraud. The reason? Fraudsters HATE BASELINES!
Baselines help the church define “normal”. Without normal or standard operating metrics it is difficult to determine if this year’s numbers are consistent with last year’s. These blurred lines are a happy hunting ground for crooks.