Parish Finance Council 2015

The Finance Council, which meets on a quarterly basis, regularly studies income and expenses and makes recommendations to the pastor on the fiscal health of the parish. The council is responsible for overseeing the fiscal demands of operating the parish and planning for the future. There are three different areas of concentration on the council: Financial Planning, Development and Facilities. Anyone who would like to contribute their services to these important areas should contact the pastor/administrator.

Our Commitment:
The Finance Committee provides the Pastor/Administrator and Pastoral Council with counsel and advice in regard to the Parish’s financial condition and matters relating thereto. The Finance Committee shall provide oversight of the financial management of the Parish.

What We Do:
Major responsibilities of the Finance Committee shall include review and approval of the Parish budget; monthly financial statements; major expenditure requests as defined in internal procedures; written financial internal controls and procedures for the temporal needs of the Parish.

Helpful Attributes:
Those who have practical business experience related to budgeting, ability to be a good listener with a collaborative nature and attention to detail. Legal or human resources experience is a plus. Committee members are appointed by the Pastor.

 GUIDELINES FOR PARISH FINANCE COUNCIL

The Parish Finance Council is a consultative body of lay persons established to advise the Pastor in matters pertaining to the financial affairs of the parish.  Within the Archdiocese of Toronto, Parish Finance Councils were mandated for all parishes by a decree (the “Decree”) dated March 1986.  A copy of the Decree has been provided (see Appendix A).  While the Decree and its particular legislation continue as the guiding principles, the experience gained over the years and new requirements have led to the development of some new practices and norms within Parish Finance Councils.  The purpose of this document is to comment on certain sections of the Decree where those new standards or practices should be introduced.

Membership

i) By Decree, the Pastor is ex-officio Chari of the Parish Finance Council. We recommend that the Pastor appoint one of the lay members as Vice-Chair.  The Vice-Chair’s responsibilities would include assisting in setting the agenda for meetings and working with the Pastor in the implementation of actions or proposals agreed to by the Parish Finance Council.  The Vice-Chair could be the spokesperson for the Finance Council in its reports to the parish community.

ii) The Decree suggests fixed terms for the members of one to three years with the ability to renew. We would recommend that the maximum term, including renewals, should not exceed six years.

iii) The Decree requires that members have skills in finance and property.  Additional skills that would assist the Parish Finance Council are experience in legal matters and personnel administration.

iv) With respect to conflict of interest, the requirement of the Decree should be expanded as follows: As a general rule, no member of the Parish Finance Council may receive financial reward for advice or services provided to the parish while serving on the Parish Finance Council.  However, in certain cases a Pastor may deem that such paid services would be of benefit to the parish.  In these cases, the Pastor must receive the approval of the Chancellor for Temporal Affairs.

v) With respect to eligibility for membership the following should be added: The Parish bookkeeper and other employees shall not be members of the Parish Finance Council.  However, their attendance at Council meetings may be helpful and at times required.  Members of the Parish Finance Council may not be related to the Pastor.

General Functions of Parish Finance Councils

Since the publication of the Decree there have been changes in requirements and the development of new standards by the Archdiocese.  Set out below is an expanded and updated list of functions or responsibilities of the Parish Finance Council:

1)     To ensure that an annual budget is properly prepared for review by the Pastor and the Finance Council.

2)      To review, approve, and compare to budget, the semi-annual Financial Report that is submitted to the             Archdiocese.

3)      To ensure that the parish accounting conforms with Archdiocesan requirements.

4)      To ensure that counting and recording of collections follow Archdiocesan procedures.

5)     To review the Summary of Findings of the Parish Operational Review with the pastor and ensure a timely response.  The Parish Operational Review Program is used to review parish records and make recommendations to assist with stewardship.

6)      To ensure that the Parish meets all requirements of federal, provincial and municipal regulations and maintains an accurate record of payment and compliance.

7)      To develop a plan for systematic payment of any parish liabilities.

8)      To evaluate and to make recommendations regarding fundraising and to review the offertory regularly in relation to the budget.

9)      To present an annual financial statement and report to the parish community.

10)    To regularly inspect church property using, as a guide, “The Archdiocese of Toronto Parish Property Maintenance Guidelines.”

11)    To ensure that the Parish is in compliance with fire and safety standards, has the mandatory, approved Fire Safety Plan (per 1997 Ontario Fire Code) and follows the recommendations of the Archdiocese’s insurers’ Risk Management Inspection Report.

12)    To develop a plan for the financing of anticipated repairs and other capital expenditures.

13)    To ensure the timely and accurate completion of the “Parish Finance Council Annual Report to the Archdiocese” each year.

14)    To encourage support of Archdiocesan fundraising projects as well as parish campaigns.

15)    To review “The Archdiocese of Toronto Policies & Procedures Manual for Archdiocesan Employees in Parishes” and ensure that the practices contained in that mutual are being adhered to in the parish.

16)    To ensure that the Archdiocesan Volunteer Screening Program is implemented and support its on-going operations.

17)    To ensure that the Parish implements all Archdiocesan policies relating to financial, personnel and property matters.

Special Functions of Parish Finance Councils

The Pastor is required to seek written approval from the Chancellor for Temporal Affairs for activities which are listed in this section of the Decree.  The most likely activities for which approval is required include capital expenditures which exceed $10,000, e.g., fund-raising contracts.  In this case of any of the activities listed in this section, the Pastor is also required to consult with the Parish Finance Council.

Meetings

The norm is that Parish Finance Council should meet six times each year.  In no event should there be fewer than four meetings per year and, in many circumstances including major renovation projects, meetings should be more frequent than the norm.  The agenda should be set by the Pastor in consultation with the Vice-Chair.  The agenda should be set by the Pastor in consultation with the Vice-Chair.  The agenda of meetings over the course of a year should encompass a review of each of the General Functions listed above.  Minutes of all Parish Finance Council meetings should be taken and retained and be available at the time of a parish financial review.  (cf. Archdiocese of Toronto – Guidelines for Parish Finance Council Members, Revised May 2014)