Completing your annual accounts is one of the important duties for the church treasurer. Here we hope to give you help and advice as to how to make this as simple as possible.
All Parochial Church Councils in the Diocese of Worcester, regardless of size or whether they are registered with the Charity Commission, are bound by charity law. This means every PCC has a legal duty to produce a Trustees' Annual Report and Accounts and make them publicly available even if the PCC is not required to file them with the Charity Commission. This is because the Commission expects every charity to inform the public each year about its purpose, achievements, and how it has spent its money. In particular, the annual report must set out the PCC's activities for public benefit.
The Church of England has an excellent publication to help PCCs meet their reporting responsibilities: PCC Accountability: The Charities Act 2011 and PCC (5th edition) (to purchase or read online for free here). The book covers all areas of producing the annual report and accounts, including a full set of example accounts.
You may also find the following websites helpful (some require paid membership):
- Parish Resources
- Association of Church Accountants and Treasurers (ACAT)
- Charity Commission, especially:
There are also several software options, which can help you manage your finances and produce your accounts, some of which are specifically designed for churches or charities. Stewardship have a free downloadable guide here. If you would like to talk through some of these options, please contact the Diocesan Finance Team.
We have also prepared an example checklist to aid your year end process. You may find this helpful and can be found here.
In most cases your accounts will require to be independently examined, rather than have a full audit.
Parish Resources has produced a helpful page appointing and working with an independent examiner.
If you would like to sign up for the Independent Examiners Match Making Service, either as an Independent Examiner or as a Parish looking for an Examiner, please email Jessica Lambert.
Please send your trustees' report and annual accounts to the Diocese following your Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM).
We would prefer you to send these in an electronic form to Jessica Lambert, or, if necessary, in paper form to:
Jessica Lambert, Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance, 16 Lowesmoor Wharf, Worcester, WR1 2RS.
Once Jessica has these, they will be added to the Diocesan system, so you will no longer need to provide a copy for the Archdeacon's annual visitation.
Archbishops’ Council deadlines
The Finance Returns for 2023 deadline is 28th June 2023.
The reason for these deadlines is to enable early, and therefore most relevant, analysis and publication of the attendance statistics. The date for submission of the financial returns is to relate it to the timetable for PCCs' Annual Reports & Accounts being received at Annual Parochial Church Meetings.
The forms are no longer collected by the Archdeacons in May.
Completing the returns online
We are encouraging PCCs to complete their parish returns online.
If you need login details, please contact Jessica Lambert.
Many PCCs are finding this not only the simplest way of submitting the information but also to be helpful in the way that their own parish's data is analysed and presented showing trends over recent years and comparisons with deanery and diocesan averages.
About the attendance return - count by church
As was the case for the 2016 returns, the attendance figures will be collected on a church basis, rather than a parish basis. This will mean that data for parishes with more than one church should be input for each church. The database will then do the adding up to combine the figures to report for each parish.
If you require separate login details for each church, please contact Jessica Lambert.
The finance form
The finance forms are available to download from the Parish Returns website from the 1st January each year.