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Spring Cleaning

Time for a bit of spring cleaning?  What are the recommendations for the retention of the various kinds of financial records?

In addition to protecting the history of the church, you will want to support your employees, your volunteers, and your contributors, so that if someone connected to your congregation is audited, you will be able to provide supporting documentation.  Past records such as contributions, payroll, documentation of expense reimbursement, insurance policies have been occasionally required.

My suggestion is to separate the permanent files from the annual files and mark them with the year and the discard date.  That way, you don’t have to review the documents when it’s time to shred the box.  On the Resources tab, see the recommendation for a non-profit shredding organization.

A full listing is included on pages 80-82 of the Church Finance Handbook.  Examples include:

  • Permanently
    • Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws
    • Employee payroll summary by month for each year
    • Insurance policies
    • IRS correspondence
  • Eight years
    • Bank statements
    • Contribution detail
    • Payroll records
    • Vendor records
  • Three years
    • Employment applications for those not hired
    • Routine correspondence