4. Parish Accounts
Members of Finance Committees must know of and account for all bank accounts etc. operating in the parish.
Today most parishes in Australia have their accounts with the Catholic Development Fund, which is like the Diocese's own bank sub-agency. These all operate a little differently and may have a slightly different name, but all provide an opportunity to invest parish funds in and through the diocese.
The advantages of having parish funds with the Catholic Development Fund include a good rate of interest, knowledge of where all parish funds are located and supervision to reduce irregularities.
Most Catholic Development Funds now offer internet banking, long term deposits and loans. They also offer credit cards, discounted credit card merchant facilities and direct debits for collecting planned giving donations.
As a safeguard, all cheques and payments made by the parish should have two signatories, so as to reduce the opportunities for fraud. Some development funds allow payments only with the priests' signature, which has contributed to lax standards, mis-use of funds and even fraud. You should ask that your parish account must have two signatories, even if this is not standard policy.
Many Parish Priests were told at the seminary to keep a slush fund, so they could find some money when needed for a special cause. That is no longer acceptable and must be eradicated.
If in doubt about the proper use of accounts in your parish, and if this cannot be resolved with the Parish Priest, call the Financial Administrator in your Diocese or Archdiocese for advice.
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