Think you stand?
We do not live in fear, because we are Christ’s. But we are to splint weak limbs and make paths straight. ALL of us are frail, so remove temptations! …and millstones (Lk 17:2).Experts suggest that 9-33%2 of churches will experience fraud. And the cost in terms of cash, reputation, dwindling donations, and church splits is staggering. Better to build guardrails! Schedule a free consultation!
I understand your battle, and give you tools to protect your people.
As a Certified Fraud Examiner I’ve seen the aftermath, and it is heartbreaking. I want to spare you the pain – and I have what it takes to help you protect your church.
What’s In It For You?
- Reduced temptations;
- Protected reputations;
- Donations that don’t wander;
- Insurance against an ugly church split;
- Confidence among the members;
- Increased giving; and
- Respect in the community.
The process is simple.
The church’s main finance person answers a series of questions online – might take an hour or two. Next, the church leadership verifies the answers. We then analyze the responses, write the report as a book just for your church, and send it to the printer.
When you’re finished,
You get a plan.
We write a book based on your answers, and send you copies for the Board and the Pastor. This book shows what you’re doing right and what could be improved, and gives you a specific ‘to do’ list. Easy! And we can meet by video conference to help put your plan into action.
- Is this the same as a CPA audit? No – it’s better! A CPA audit is for investors, and it’s primarily the CPA’s judgement that the company’s financial reports are accurate. But that’s not what most churches need: they REALLY need trained eyes to look at their financial procedures.
- What does it cost? Lots less than embezzlement! And lots less than the (typically many) thousands you could pay for a CPA audit, too. We charge $699 for our flagship service.
- Will you catch fraud if it is going on here? Hard to say – that’s not our goal. We will certainly report it to the Board if we do! But adopting our recommendations will make it a great deal harder for someone to steal from you.
- What is the risk if we DON’T hire you? Well, it’s like playing Russian Roulette. You may be OK – but the odds against you are 10-25%. And the cost of being wrong can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and can kill your church.
- Back that up? One study3 asked, “Has your church had fraud, theft, or embezzlement in the last five years?” Of the thousand pastors they asked, 13.3% said yes. Those were the ones who 1) knew about it; and 2) were brave enough to own up to it on the phone. What was the real number? Had to have been well over 13.3%…
- How long does the process take? The church’s main finance person can start answering questions today. But the whole process takes about two or three weeks from Board approval and completed questions to books in the Board’s hands.
Want something to chew on?
Download our Deceitfulness of Early Success paper for free.
(explores a few things that church leaders often don’t consider.)
Comments from Others
What others say:
“…Tim Stephenson is a wonderful resource in [church auditing]. He is clearly passionate about learning and sharing his knowledge to help protect the financial resources of churches. His audit is thorough and he is available to help with patience and humor. His depth of knowledge and understanding in these matters is unbelievable and I’m so grateful that God led our paths to cross.
Bookkeeper and Business consultant
“It’s crazy to me how many different ways someone can be tempted to steal from the church. Some of it is obvious, like stealing from the collection. But other schemes can be more subtle. Tim Stephenson has thought through all sorts of horrible scenarios, in hopes of helping protect churches from fraud.”
“In the decades I have known Tim and Rini Stephenson and worked with him on church, business and family projects, he has always acted with the highest integrity and selflessness. His understanding of risk and accountability is born of his insatiable desire to master whatever he puts his hand to. And, he is always kind, even when he has to say hard things.Tim and Rini Stephenson will earn your trust and care for your needs better than they do for themselves.”
Bulgarian Reformation Ministries
As a former external auditor, I am impressed with the quality of work you have done. The questions are clear and concise… I believe this has great value now and well into the future …superb work.
owner, Small business accounting and business solutions of OK
[OK, this is from me] I have been auditing for 18 years, and am a Certified Fraud Examiner. I’ve been working on the questionnaire software for years, building on 30 years of programming experience. And I have a numbers-based detective work Masters from UCLA.
Owner, online church auditing
Blog: Church Fraud Cases
Churches really are at risk, and a quick Google search brings up thousands of cases. Here are a few, with comments on how to protect your church.
Curious? Fraud or Church Audit Question?
Drop us a note!
1. 1 in 109 car accident death estimate: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/us/opioids-car-crash-guns.html1-
2. 9% church fraud estimate:https://blog.lifeway.com/newsroom/2017/08/03/lifeway-research-1-in-10-churches-has-had-funds-stolen/
30% church fraud estimate: https://www.sharefaith.com/blog/2015/09/18-church-embezzlement/
3. 13.4% church fraud study: https://www.churchmutual.com/media/pdf/FraudInHousesOfWorship.pdf
(read the “why we believe this number is low” sections)