Record Keeping

It is recommended that the following records be maintained:

  • Cash book(s). This can be manual (various designs such as the Guildhall or Collins versions are obtainable from most stationer’s shops) or computerised, such as the Treasurer’s Cashbook.  It should contain the records of every item received by the PCC and all payments made.
  • Collections records. Weekly collections and income from envelope schemes should be checked as they are counted by at least two people. Their names and signatures should be part of the records. The sums recorded should tie up with subsequent banking entries.
  • Payment vouchers. Every cheque payment should be supported by appropriate documentation, such as invoices, bills, expense claims or at the very least, a receipt from the payee.
  • Petty cash vouchers. Cash payments should be kept to a minimum and should not be paid out of cash received from collections or other receipts, which should be banked intact. They should rather be paid from a properly authorised cash float, with periodic reimbursements when required by cheques drawn for ‘Cash’. All payments should be recorded in a Petty Cash Book and supported by appropriate documentation as set out above for cheque payments.
  • Gift Aid. The Treasurer needs to keep a note of who has paid what and when, whether in terms of an envelope scheme, Standing Order direct into the bank account, or one-off Gift Aid envelopes. These receipts need to be entered in the cash book and will form part of the audit trail needed to support the tax reclaim from HM Revenue & Customs.
  • Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS). Service registers should show a separate record of: cash or contactless donations eligible for GASDS, cheques, Gift Aided donations, any £50 notes (donations over £20 are not eligible for GASDS), numbers attending the service and the date of the service. Bank paying-in slips must show the total number of £50, £20, £10 notes etc on the counterfoil (as evidence that at least the amount being claimed under GASDS was banked and that the amount being claimed comprises £20 notes or smaller). If you are claiming under the Community Buildings element of the scheme a separate record must be kept for eligible donations collected at each eligible community building (e.g. your church, church hall, school, etc) and your end of year accounts should differentiate between these.
  • Bank Statements. These should be kept for a period of seven years in support of the PCC accounts.
  • Bank Mandates. Records should be kept of who the authorised signatories are on each account. Two signatures should be needed for each cheque, with four authorised by the PCC to sign, including the incumbent, churchwardens, the treasurer and, if necessary, other members of the PCC.
  • Investment account(s). As with bank accounts, statements of these accounts should be retained and details of those authorised to operate the accounts should be kept on record.
  • Return of Parish Finance. This annual form helps the Church of England to compile financial statistics to monitor the Church’s finances. Completed forms can be submitted online, posted or emailed to the Finance Department at The Old Deanery, Wells with a copy retained by the parish.
  • Annual Financial Statements. These are dealt with in more detail later in this booklet but approved statements and supporting papers should be retained for at least six years.
  • Correspondence file. This should contain all important letters, especially those relating to HM Revenue & Customs, the Charity Commission and property transactions.
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