Retention of Financial Records

You may have a financial management database that handles all your accounting transactions. Retention of financial records refers to hard copy documents.

Detailed guidelines for the congregation’s treasurer and financial secretary are found in the Congregational Treasurers and Bookkeepers’ Financial and Accounting Guide.

Description of RecordsCare of RecordsFinal Disposition
Annual audit reports

Treasurer's annual report to the congregation

Budget approved by the congregation

Bequests and endowments
Preserve permanent records in hard copy.

The audit report, treasurer's annual report, and the annual budget approved by the congregation should be part of the minutes of the congregation's annual meeting.
Place in the congregation's archives
Investments in asset management

Canceled checks, copies or originals

Bank reconciliations

Payroll administration records, such as W-2, W-4 forms and payroll registers

Cash receipt journals

Record of member giving
The IRS mandates that you preserve these records for four years. For administrative purposes, you may wish to keep these records for seven years.

All records related to congregational spending are open. All records related to member giving are confidential and should be secured.
Whether maintained as paper or electronic files, destroy these records at the end of the retention period.
General invoicesFor insurance purposes, you may wish to retain receipts or canceled checks for major purposes as evidence of ownership.Shred after three years.
Offering envelopesDo not retainDestroy after counting and entering the data