Fr Brian Wideman
I. Purpose and Nature of the Finance Council
A. General Purpose
– To assist the pastor/administrator/pastoral leader in the wise stewardship of the material gifts entrusted by God to the parish in support of the mission of the parish and broader Church.
B. Canon Law
– Canon 537 of the Code of Canon Law states “In each parish there is to be a finance council which is governed, in addition to universal law, by norms issued by the diocesan bishop and in which the Christian faithful, selected according to these same norms, are to assist the pastor/(administrator/pastoral leader) in the administration of the goods of the parish.”
C. Civil Law
– The finance council in parishes is required by civil law and operates in compliance with civil laws. Should a situation arise where legal action of any kind is considered, communication and work with diocesan legal counsel is required before any action can be taken.
II. Specific Responsibilities
Keeping in mind the policies and procedures of the Church and the consultative role of the council, civil law, the finance council’s areas of responsibility include the following:
A. Accounting System
- Utilizing the diocesan chart of accounts, overseeing the accounting system for the parish and the keeping of financial records. This includes:
1. The collection and recording of revenues, their safekeeping and use.
2. The recording and payment of all debts and expenditures in accord with an approved budget.
3. Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date record of parish assets and liabilities.
1. Preparation – Oversees the creation of an annual budget in accord with the mission, goals, priorities and plans as recommended by the pastoral council and approved by the pastor/administrator/pastoral leader. The budget process should be a collaborative process that involves those responsible for parish programs and organizations. After parish and diocesan obligations, such as Bishop’s Appeal, Cathedraticum, and school subsidies, are met, the budget may include charitable donations to worthy causes whose activities are not contrary to Church teaching.
2. Planning – In accord with the mission, goals priorities and plans of the parish, as recommended by the pastoral council, the finance council should create a 3-5 year fiscal plan for the operation of the parish. This plan at a minimum, should take into account projected income and expenses based on past experience, as well as a review of current and future facility needs.
C. Financial Reporting
1. Quarterly - Preferably monthly, provides an analysis of income and expenditures in comparison to budget projections for the pastor/parish director, finance council, trustees and other appropriate parish staff and leaders.
2. Annually – Assures that a complete and understandable annual financial report is made to parishioners that include an income statement and a balance sheet.
3. Diocesan – Ensures that required reports are sent to the diocese in a timely manner. This includes the Annual Financial Information (AFI) Report that is due September 30 or each year for the previous fiscal year ending June 30. This report satisfies the legal oversight responsibilities of the diocese and is in accordance with U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops guidelines for fiscal accountability.
D. Fiscal Oversight
Following diocesan guidelines, ensures that financial procedures for internal controls are in place for the oversight of cash and financial accounts, including petty cash management, offertory collection and counting systems.
E. Fundraising and Management
1. Revenue Enhancement - Where present, works in close collaboration with the parish stewardship committee in making recommendations for the generation of revenue in support of the overall mission of the parish.
2. Fundraising - Oversees and coordinates all fundraising within the parish in accord with Church Canon Law 1262 and the Diocesan proxy process. This includes fundraising done by parish service organizations and various educational entities. Oversight for the authorization and use of the parish sales tax exempt number is included.
3. Investments – Monitors the investment of monies in accord with diocesan norms. All parish long term endowments should be within the Catholic Foundation
F. Property Management and Safekeeping
1. Buildings and Grounds - Oversees the day to day and long-range maintenance of parish buildings and grounds.
2. Safety - Assists in the development and communication of risk management policies and procedures, through a safety committee.
3. Building and Renovation – Ensures the following of diocesan policies and secures necessary approvals for significant building and renovation projects.
4. Cemetery – When present, oversees the fiscal management, the day-today and long-range maintenance of the parish cemetery(s) in accord with diocesan guidelines and civil laws.
5. Inventory of Goods – Maintains an accurate and detailed inventory of the parish goods and resources, including Scrip, furniture, fixtures and equipment, along with a description and appraisal of them.
6. Insurances – Is familiar with and annually reviews the diocesan insurance package for parish properties and liabilities.
Monitors the observance of diocesan personnel policies pertaining to labor and the conduct of business in employment and compensation of workers.