Where do I find local church audit information?

All financial books, records and bank accounts of United Methodist churches must undergo an independent annual audit. This is required by the Book of Discipline (see excerpt below). The General Council on Finance and Administration has published a “Local Church Audit Guide” that may be helpful in understanding the requirements (see link below). As described on page 8 of this guide, to be “independent” the auditor must not be the one who prepares church records. In addition, the auditor must not be related to, close friends with or subject to the influence of individuals that maintain financial records. The auditor should be appointed by the Finance Committee, to whom it reports.

  • You do not need to be or to engage a CPA to perform the audit
  • An audit is meant to be a process that provides reasonable assurance that good stewardship is being used in handling and accounting for the funds and other assets of the local church.
    • The audit needs to be “independent”
    • All accounts of all church organizations must be included or separately audited
  • Audit reports should be provided to your District Superintendent at time of Charge Conference.

From the 2016 Book of Discipline

Paragraph 258.4 d) The Finance committee "shall make provision for an annual audit of the financial statements of the local church and all its organizations and accounts." The audit shall be performed by an audit committee composed of persons unrelated to those that handle church records or by an independent certified public accountant (CPA), accounting firm, or equivalent.

Local Church Audit Guide and FAQ

Special Rules Limiting the IRS’s Authority to Audit a Church