Frequently Requested Topics
Audits: Internal Parish Audits
Internal Audits Introduction
The Office of Finance has established the internal audit program to assist parishes and parish schools with the safeguarding of parish assets. There is a three-fold purpose for an audit: 1) to assist the parish with accounting related issues, 2) to identify areas that need improved internal controls, and 3) to hold the parish accountable to Diocesan policies.
There are various critieria used in determing which locations are schedule for an internal audit. These criteria include:
- Request by the parish for an audit
- Selection for audit by the diocesan finance office
- Length of time since last audit (scheduled on a rotating basis over a three year period).
The Parish will receive a letter from the Director of Finance indicating an audit will be initiated. Prior to the audit, the Internal Auditor will send a preliminary packet with various questionnaires and forms to be completed and returned to the auditor. At that point, the Internal Auditor will contact the Parish to set a date for the audit fieldwork, in which the auditor will be onsite at the Parish.
The auditor will be onsite from one to five days depending on the size and complexity of the parish. If information is still needed at that point, a return visit may be scheduled. Otherwise, the remaining audit work will be completed offsite. Once all audit issues are resolved, a draft of the audit report, management letter and audited financial statements are sent to the parish for review. At that time, any discrepancies or misunderstandings will be addressed.
Once completed, a final draft of the audit report, management letter and audited financial statements are released.
Questions / Contact
Questions may be directed to Andrew Brannon 507-858-1248.
Diocesan Collection Calendars
Financial Policies and Procedures Manual
The Financial Policies and Procedures Manual has been prepared to provide diocesan parishes one comprehensive document containing the financial policies of the Diocese of Winona and the financial procedures to which all diocesan parishes must adhere. It is also intended to serve as a reference guide to all who are involved in parish finances.
In this manual the user will find a collection of all policies, procedures, internal controls, chart of accounts and informational topics as they relate to parish financial administration. Copies of this manual may be made for use within a parish, school or cemetery. However, providing copies of any material contained in this manual to those outside the Diocese of Winona requires prior permission from the Diocesan Finance Officer or Internal Auditor.
Finance Times Newsletters
Parish Accounting Resources
Creating Useful Financial Reports
Help! The parish finance council meets tonight. What is essential parish financial information and how do I pull it together efficiently? We will discuss basic financial reports and accounting information necessary for pastors and finance councils.
Parish Financial Reporting Handouts (Used for June 2006 Ministry Days)
Have you ever found yourself preparing a journal entry while asking, “which side should be the debit and which side should be the credit?” Click on the link below for a guide that may be a useful reference when you find yourself in those situations. Also included with the guide is how each account type corresponds with the chart of accounts for the Diocese of Winona.
Debit - Credit Reference
IRS Mileage Rate
Effective January 1, 2017
The IRS announced the mileage rates effective January 1, 2017. (The car allowance and mileage reimbursement rate in the Policy for the Compensation of Priests will change whenever the Internal Revenue Service mileage rate changes.)
The business mileage reimbursement rate will change to 53.5 cents per mile (from 54.0 cents per mile). Mileage incurred on parish business after December 31, 2016 will be reimbursed at the new 53.5 cents per mile rate. For priests receiving the monthly allowance, the amount will change to $535 per month. For those using the documented ministry miles method of reimbursement, the reimbursement rate will be 53.5 cents per mile.
Parish Annual Financial Report
Overview and Requirements
All parishes in the Diocese of Winona are required to file an Annual Financial Report to the Diocese of Winona Pastoral Center by August 31 of each year. The reporting period coincides with the fiscal year: July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. The pastor, lay trustees and the individual preparing the documents are expected to sign the Annual Financial Report.
All funds held in bank accounts, loans, and in other investment vehicles, such as stocks and bonds, (including parish endowments), must be disclosed on the Annual Financial Report. Annual activity in each fund or account must be included in the revenue and expense activity disclosed on the report.
The financial information contained in the Annual Report should be communicated to the Parish Finance Council on an annual basis. A summary version of the report may be provided to parishioners.
The Diocese of Winona uses the Annual Financial Report as a tool for financial accountability, internal financial analysis and historical record. In addition, the Annual Financial Report is used to determine the diocesan assessment, pension plan for priests assessment and annual diocesan appeal target. It is important to receive accurate and timely financial information so that these objectives can be obtained.
End of 2016 / 2017 Fiscal Year
Beginning of 2017 / 2018 Fiscal Year
Annual Parish Financial Reports due to the Diocese of Winona Pastoral Center
Instructions for ConnectNow Users
The ConnectNow Accounting software package will automatically generate the year-end financial reports for you. For your reference, the complete process for generating the necessary reports is available via the following link:
Diocese of Winona Annual Financial Report Process
When the reporting process is complete, the following items must be submitted to the Diocese of Winona Pastoral Center (Attn: Ann Ringlien) by August 31, 2017. Items 1 & 2 are generated automatically by ConnectNow; items 3 & 4 must be completed in Excel or compatible spreadsheet program (click on the link for a blank template):
Questions? - Who to Contact
Resources for Parish Bookkeepers
Resources & Policies