These records can help stake presidents and bishops account for and protect the sacred funds of the Church. These records are also necessary for preparing budgets, managing the budget allowance, and providing information to members on their financial contributions.
Stake and Ward Budgets
Every stake and ward prepares and operates on a budget. The stake president manages the stake budget, and the bishop manages the ward budget, though each may assign a counselor to supervise it under his direction.
Stake presidencies and bishoprics should begin preparing budgets well before the beginning of each calendar year as follows:
- Review amounts spent during the previous year to be sure recurring expenses are considered.
- Ask organizations to estimate their budget needs in detail.
- Compile the budget, using wise budgeting practices, being equitable, and ensuring that projected expenses do not exceed anticipated budget allowance funds.
- Main article: Expenses
No stake or ward expenses may be incurred or paid without the presiding officer and at least one other leader reviewing the expense and giving approval. This application of the law of witnesses protects the leaders and the Church.
The signatures on checks and other documents indicate that those signing have reviewed the expense and found it to be appropriate and within Church guidelines.
Leaders and clerks should never sign expense forms or a check without carefully reviewing it.
Clerks responsible for finances, also act as a witness as they review the documentation to ensure that it is complete and accurate.
Tithes, other offerings, and other contributions
- Main article: Donations
The stake president and bishop ensure that all Church funds are properly handled and accounted for according to current financial instructions.
Contribution envelopes should be opened and verified on Sunday, except during tithing settlement, when they are opened and verified on the day they are received.
The Companionship Principle
The companionship principle requires two priesthood holders to be actively involved in opening the donation envelopes, counting the money, recording the amounts in the Church financial software, and making the deposit in the bank. Having one person open envelopes and count money while the other person does something else is not adequate.
Two persons, a member of the bishopric and a clerk, or two members of the bishopric open each envelope together to verify that the funds enclosed are the same as the amount written on the Tithing and Other Offerings form. They resolve any differences between the funds and the written amounts as soon as they can contact the contributor.