Article Resources

Fraud: Part 1

This article is the first in a series of articles about fraud in the church. Statistics cited in this article are derived from the 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. When I interview church administrators and ask them about their fraud prevention measures, the answer I most often get goes something like this: “Well, we have our financial statements audited every year, and we feel like we have all the necessary checks and balances in place.  We try to hire trustworthy people.”

#metoo #churchtoo

The Houston Chronicle’s release of details on the Southern Baptist churches history of sexual abuse shadowed by a Vatican conference on the subject resulting in termination of key churches leaders has once again shined a light on the church’s need be serious about abuse and take action to support victims. The #MeToo, a social media movement that began in November 2017, ignited awareness of and accountability for sexual harassment. The growing awareness of church leaders’ abuse of power is causing all of us to pause and think about our congregations’ response.

Fraud: Part 2

This article is the second in a series of articles about fraud in the church.  Statistics cited in this article are derived from the 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. In Part 2 of the series, I will revisit or expand upon some of these topics and also provide additional food for thought based upon my experience as fraud examiner and a church financial statement auditor. When I interview church leaders and ask them about their most common (administrative) frustrations, two concerns typically appear at top of the list: monthly financial statements and credit card management. I believe it is no coincidence that these two matters are common elements contributing to fraud risk.

Policy and Procedure

Good policy and finely tuned processes can be the backbone of the healthy church. Policy and ridged process can be the noose of death for congregations. But wait… Are those statements a clear contradiction? Bear with me in this short post, and let's think about the difference. Policies often have an origin in the law, regarding employment or protection for members or staff.

Blockchain Technology - Getting Ready

Blockchain technology, which was introduced over 10 years ago, is still in its infancy. Early indications are that it will significantly alter the landscape of how we do business. The first blockchain was created to facility Bitcoin transactions. That use is now just the tip of the iceberg as other potential uses are quickly being discovered and researched. Worldwide spending on blockchain applications is projected to grow from the current $3 billion in 2019 to almost $12 billion in 2022. All four of the Big Four accounting firms and every major financial institution are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into this technology.

Fraud: Part 3

This article is the last in a series of articles about fraud in the church. In previous articles, we observed that tips, management oversight, and internal audit efforts are the most common methods of fraud detection; however, we also outlined some easily implemented anti-fraud maneuvers. By far, sound internal controls are the best component of an anti-fraud culture. Even though there is always a chance for collusion, there is no substitute for common-sense checks and balances. In this article, we will share a more advanced technique for fraud prevention, particularly, how to organize and execute a Fraud Risk Assessment (FRA), with The Fraud Triangle as a backdrop.

The Local Church is the Hope of the World – And Must Lead in Every Community’s Shift Away from Misconduct

Much has been written about the #ChurchToo ‘movement’ emanating out of the broader community and the #MeToo tsunami. Taking into account the associated organizational risks, we would like to carefully parse the terminology of ‘misconduct’ and address the role of the Church at the center of this reform, a transformation that is so raw and yet so necessary if we are to see the church once again become a source of strength and morality in the public square. 

Navigating Your Congregation’s Reaction to a Firing

Terminating a staff member is difficult under the best of circumstances. When the congregation gets reactive in response to the termination, leadership becomes especially tricky.Not all staff terminations provoke a strong reaction. If the staff member has not been with you very long, congregants may not be attached enough to react.