Help I'm a Church Treasurer...  

Thank you for being willing to take on the role of treasurer.  We hope that this page will be of some assistance in working with the Association as you find your feet in this new role. 

The main person to contact with any administrative issues is David Sheldon our Operations Manager — David usually works Mondays to Thursdays , but not set hours, so feel free to contact him at any time (if he’s not available at the time, he’ll be in touch as soon as possible).

About the Association

We are an Association of around one hundred and fifty Baptist churches covering the south east corner of England.
 
The Association is divided up into nine local , geographical networks: North, South, East & West Kent; Gatwick; North Downs; and Mid, East & West Sussex. You can find details of the churches in each network here.
 
The SEBA Team Leader is Revd Stuart Davison and Stuart and Revd Paul Kerley our other Regional Minister each look after a geographical area of the Association as follows:
 
Revd Stuart Davison East, West & Mid Sussex, Gatwick & North Downs
Revd Paul Kerley East, West, North & South Kent
 
The Association is available to help churches in all aspects of their work and amongst other things provides

  • Advice on Property and Trust issues.
  • Recognition of candidates for Baptist Ministries.
  • Settlement of new Ministers and helping Churches during pastoral vacancy.
  • Support for Pioneers and Church Planters.
  • Training opportunities for Trustees, Officers and Safeguarding.

SEBA do not have a central office, as all staff work from their own homes.

For more information on the Association please see the pages under About UsOur Vision and Meet the Team.

Website

This website is the main resource for all the information we provide including 

Baptist Union Website

There is also a great deal of helpful information which can be found on the Baptist Union website.
 
Click here to go direct to an index of all the Baptist Union Corporation guideline leaflets.  These come under Headings such as:

  • Charities
  • Legal
  • Listed Buildings
  • Money for Building
  • Property
  • Trusts

and hopefully these will answer many of your questions.

An index to all the finance specific advice and guidance can be found here

People to notify

There are a number of people that you should notify that you are now the treasurer to ensure you receive appropriate correspondence:

  • Association of Church Accountants and Treasurers

Your membership of ACAT is free to you as it comes as part of the Baptist Union subscription paid by your church.  They provide useful information for treasurers and opportunities for training.  They can be contacted on 0845 564 2280 or by email to admin@acat.uk.com. ACAT’s address is
19 Nethermoor Road
Wingerworth
Chesterfield  S42 6LN
 
You can access the member’s area of the ACAT website with the following:
Username: Baptist
Password: Didcot
  • Baptist Insurance Company Plc

If your church is insured with Baptist Insurance do let them have your contact details for policy renewals etc.  Their contact number is 0845 070 2223 and their address is
Beaufort House
Brunswick Road
Gloucester
GL1 1XY
  • HMRC
As a new treasurer you need to advise HMRC that you will be the person dealing with Gift Aid claims.  You can do this by using HMRC Charities change of details form
  • The church's bank and any other providers of services who will need to send invoices to your address.


Ministry costs for churches

The BU website has both guidance and a  spreadsheet on Ministerial remuneration designed to help you calculate the costs of appointing a minister.
 

Baptist Pension Scheme

You can get information on the Baptist Pension Scheme from their website.

The Scheme is now administered by Broadstone Consultants & Actuaries Ltd. and as a treasurer if you have any current or past employees in the scheme you will have access to the 4mystaff pages which are a secure access website designed to assist you in administering your pension contributions and meeting your auto-enrolment obligations.
 
You should have been provided with a User Name and Password to allow you to log in.  
 
It is also important to remember that you need to notify Broadstone of any of the following events:

  • When a member is due to leave the employer’s service (including retirement), giving the date they will be leaving
  • If a member chooses to opt out
  • Death of a member
  • Changes to part time hours
  • Changes to stipend or salary
  • Changes to contributions (eg. if a member wants to pay AVCs)
  • If a member changes address
  • If a member is absent from work due to illness or injury (after four weeks)

 

Support for wider mission

We would encourage your support of the wider Baptist family through the work of

Home Mission

Home Mission is the name that the Baptist Union has given to the fund that supports both the central work of the Union and the local work of the Association. In turn, we use the grant we are given to support around 15-20 churches across the SEBA region through Church Growth Grants and Project Grants. These grants support the churches in their local mission fields. 

The Baptist Union treasurer has encouraged all churches to give 5% of their general income in support of Home Mission.  If all churches were able to do this it would make a significant difference to the Mission work that could be undertaken.
 
We would encourage churches to give by standing order if at all possible. The bank details are below or cheques can be made payable to ‘Home Mission’ and sent to the SEBA Office.

Account Name: Baptist Union of Great Britain re South Eastern Baptist Association (Home Mission)
Bank: HSBC plc
Sort Code: 40-19-35
Account Number: 91264028

If paying on line please make sure to include your church reference number, in the 'reference' section of your mandate (you can find your church reference number here).

Individuals and churches can also help by collecting used stamps and other collectables.  Please advise the Administrator if you have any that need sending to the Union.
 
Revd Paul Kerley regularly sends out an e-mail with links to video updates from those churches benefitting from grants. The e-mail is usually sent to the Church Administrator/Secretary, but if you would like it to be sent to anyone else within your fellowship please email Paul.  The updates are also available on our homepage. 

BMS World Mission

This is a Baptist mission organisation working around the world in 35 countries.  Their personnel are mainly involved in church planting, development, disaster relief, education, health, media and advocacy.
 
All churches are encouraged to support BMS World Mission and they publish an updated suggested donation level annually here.

Gifts for BMS should be sent to:
 
BMS World Mission, PO Box 49, 129 Broadway, Didcot, OX11 8XA
 
For more information click here.

Church Subscriptions

Both the BU and SEBA will ask you for a subscription based on the number of members in your church. These are different requests and the funds raised go toward the running costs of the individual organisations.   

Grants

Details on our grants can be found here but if you want to know more please speak to David Sheldon


SEBA Bank Details

With the exception of Home Mission donation as above, payments to the Association should be made to
 
Account Name: SEBA
Sorting Code: 60-01-73
Account Number: 00218212

Please make sure to follow the instructions provided for each payment for what reference to use to assist us in identification of the funds. 

If would also be helpful if you could send an email advice to Steph Tidy, the Association Administrator
 

Gift Aid

If your church is registered to receive Gift Aid you will be able to submit claims online once your details have been advised to HMRC
 
Please be aware that you are not restricted to submitting claims annually and more frequent claims may help with  your cashflow.
 
It is important to keep and retain accurate records of gifts for which claims are submitted as HMRC do carry out audits.
 
Claims under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) are claimed as part of the same process.
 
Information about Gift Aid and GASDS can be found on the Baptist Union website (see page 3) and also on the HMRC website.
 
It is worth pointing out to the church that any high rate tax payers giving by Gift Aid not only help the church but can reduce their personal tax bill.  If they were not aware of this they can claim back tax for up to four years.

Annual Reports

Whether your church is a Registered Charity or not you should produce an annual report of the trustees.  Guidance on what needs to be included can be found on the Charity Commission publication Charity reporting and accounting: the essentials.  

As a charity, if you receive a request from a member of the public, you have to supply a copy of your annual report.
 

Who should examine our accounts?

When talking about “checking” church accounts at the end of the year there is often confusion about who does what.  The BU website provide a vast amount of information  here, but in summary:

  • If the Charity is incorporated as a company under the Companies Act, the accounts are not eligible for Independent Examination and need to be audited as a company.
  • If the income of the Charity exceeds £500,000 (or £250,000 with the aggregate value of assets exceeding £3.26M) the accounts are not eligible for Independent Examination and must be audited.
     
  • If the income of the Charity is less than £500,000, the accounts can be Independently Examined by someone authorised by the Charity Trustees.  It is important they are independent from the Charity Trustees and have the requisite ability and practical experience.  
    The following will not be considered independent:
    • The charity trustees or anyone else who is closely involved in the administration of the charity;
    • A major donor to or major beneficiary of the charity; or
    • A child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother or sister, spouse, civil partner, business partner or employee of any person who falls within sub-paragraph (a) or (b) above.
If the income exceeds £250,000 the independent examiner must be a member of one of the eleven professional accounting bodies (see list of Charity Commission website).

In all circumstances where an Independent Examination is required the Charity Trustees can elect to have an audit instead.
 

Charity Commission Annual Return

Although the following relates to churches that are Registered Charities the questions raised should be considered by all churches.

  • Have there been any incidents that cause a significant loss of funds or pose serious risks to a charity’s beneficiaries, resources or reputation?
    Serious incidents include the following:
    • Significant fraud, theft or loss of funds
    • Significant sums of money or other property donated to the charity from an unknown or unverified source
    • The charity (including individual staff or trustees or both) has a known or alleged link to a proscribed organisation or to terrorist or other unlawful activities
    • A person disqualified from acting as a trustee has been or is currently acting as a trustee of the charity
    • The charity does not have a policy for safeguarding its vulnerable beneficiaries (eg. children and young people, people with disabilities and the elderly/old people)
    • The charity does not have a vetting procedure to ensure that a trustee or member of staff is eligible to act in the position he or she is being appointed to
    • Beneficiaries have been or are suspected of having been abused or mistreated
    • The charity has been subject to a criminal investigation or an investigation by another regulator or agency; or had sanctions imposed or concerns raised by another regulator or agency (eg. Health and Safety Executive, Ofsted)
  • Does the charity have policies in the following areas?
    • Risk Management
    • Investment
    • Vulnerable Beneficiaries
    • Conflict of Interest
    • Volunteer management
    • Complaints Handling
    • Paying Staff
  • Has the charity reviewed its financial controls during the reporting year? 

 

Preaching Fees

We are sometimes asked about fees and expenses paid to visiting preachers. 
 
Normally speakers should be paid £50 plus travelling expenses at 45p per mile although it is accepted that some small fellowships may have to pay less than this.

You can read our full guidelines on paying the fees and expenses of Regional Ministers here