Well done, good and faithful servant!

“…managing a church can be hard…”

You’ve delegated money-handling to your team. But did they think of everything? Are procedures being followed? What might you be missing? Without realizing it, have you placed your staff or volunteers in temptation’s way?

Up to a third of churches will experience fraud2 That means that up to a THIRD of pastors unthinkingly set up someone in their flock to fall!

We can help you avoid that risk.

Start towards safer procedures

I understand your battle, and give you tools to protect your people.

It’s heartbreaking to see the aftermath of church fraud – I want to keep your church from this pain. And, Pastor, I want to keep YOU from the regrets of having allowed such a thing to happen on your watch.

I’m a Certified Fraud Examiner and have been doing numbers-based detective work since the 1980s. I’ve spent years developing an easy, online system to dig deep and find procedures to tighten. With my help, you will be the hero at your church!

What’s In It For You?

  • Reduced temptation for your staff and volunteers
  • Protection from false accusation (your reputation, that of your people, and that of your church)
  • Safe donations – median 2018 nonprofit loss was $75K4
  • Insurance against a dead church or an ugly church split
  • Member confidence (Straight with money? They’ll listen.)
  • Respect in the community for your church – and for the Gospel

start towards safer procedures

 

 

 

 

 

It’s easy!

The process is simple.

We get acquainted.

Next…

Your Finance person answers easy questions online.

And when you’re all done

You and each board member gets a copy of the report.

It’s easy!

The process is simple.

We get acquainted.

Your finance person answers easy questions online.

And when you’re all done

You and each board member gets a copy of the report.

Concerns

  • 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.
  • Will you catch fraud if it is going on here? Hard to say – our goal is to prevent it. We will certainly report it to your 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 a fairly significant 10-33%. 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 they had. 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? It HAD to have been well over 13.3%. Other studies put the risk to churches at 9%1 up to 33%.2 The median loss for nonprofits (2018 data) was $75,0004. Another source5 says the average church loss to fraud is $120,000 – and is growing.
  • How long does the process take? The church’s main finance person can start answering questions today. And if everyone jumps quickly, we can have the report in your hands in about two weeks. But sometimes it takes a key person some days to get to this, so the process usually takes twice that.
  • How does the process work? It’s pretty straightforward and easy, actually. And LOTS easier than a CPA site visit!
    • Someone at your church – might be you – pretty much knows how money comes in and goes out. The first thing you need to do is tell me who this person is.
    • This person spends an hour or two answering questions online.  The questions are easy (“How many count the collection?” and such – example). If this person wants to, he or she can refer the question out to someone else.
    • Then key people review all of the answers – should take 20-45 minutes. They skip topics they don’t know much about, and focus on topics they DO know… and they make corrections as needed – example).
    • I then write the report – it’s 160 or so pages long, though it has an Executive Summary that won’t take too long to read! The sections address what you’re doing right, what could be improved, and what to do first. I also include chapters on best practices and how to do separation-of-duties when you only have three people.
    • I send the manuscript off to be printed, and a week or two later you get the books delivered to your door. We usually print up enough so each board member can have one, as well as one for the pastor, the treasurer, and the bookkeeper.
    • Then we all get together for a video conference to discuss the findings and what’s most important to address first.

    The process can go as fast as two weeks (most of that being printer time), but usually takes about twice that long. And the cost is usually well under $1000.

  • How do we get started? Call so we can get acquainted! My number is 208 596-4480. If you have the authority to make a decision, let’s do it! (Link to Engagement Letter). If you need Board approval, print them all copies of this page for your next meeting. But regardless, call and let’s discuss how I can help.

Start towards  safer procedures

Let’s chat about how we can help…

Want to check your church for the Big Three?

Download for free:

Three Ways Churches Set Up Their Staff To Steal From The Collection

(bet you’re doing two of ’em)

Click here!

Comments from Others

What others say:

“It’s not that you’re trying to hide anything – it’s just hard to stop being busy long enough to be thoughtful.

The investment is well worth the peace of mind.”

Warren Trice
Deacon, Redeemer Church, Blacksburg VA

“This audit is thorough, and Tim is available to help with patience and humor. His depth of knowledge and understanding in these matters is unbelievable.”

Bryan Caldwell
Bookkeeper and Business consultant

“It’s crazy to me how many different ways someone can be tempted to steal from the church. Tim Stephenson has thought through all sorts of horrible scenarios, in hopes of helping protect churches.”

Bob Swetz
CPA, CFO

“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.”

Doreen Abbott
owner, Small business accounting and business solutions of OK

“In the decades I have known and worked with Tim, he has always acted with the highest integrity and selflessness.

And he is always kind, even when he has to say hard things.”

Susan Peters
Bulgarian Reformation Ministries

Blog: Church Fraud Cases

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The Process

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    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/
    3. 33% church fraud estimate: https://www.sharefaith.com/blog/2015/09/18-church-embezzlement/
    4. 13.4% church fraud study: https://www.churchmutual.com/media/pdf/FraudInHousesOfWorship.pdf (read the “why we believe this number is low” sections)
    5. Median nonprofit loss of $75,000 (2018): https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/acfepublic/2018-report-to-the-nations.pdf
    6. Average church loss $120,000: https://www.sharefaith.com/blog/2015/09/18-church-embezzlement/

          Interested in case studies? Check out the More Info page.