USA How do I close these books?

Jan 13, 2019
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I am helping out my Episcopal Parish in the interim as financial secretary and I have finally gotten everything else from 2018 cleared up. I am now ready to close the "books" EXCEPT, the Rector (as usual) has yet to turn in any receipts for 2018 expenses from his Pastoral Care Account, Professional Development Account, Visiting Fund Account, Mileage Account, etc... Yes, I am aware we are only a few days from May of 2019. While I am no accountant (I will be going back to school in the Fall working on my bachelors in Accountancy however), I know that I should be able to "guesstimate," perhaps based on last years expenses, from said accounts (which I expect to be very close to the same amounts as last year) so that I can at least provide our finance committee and Vestry with a nearly accurate figure of income/deficit for 2018. How would I go about doing such? Is that where accrual expenses come into play? When Dealing with the GJ, where would I make my entries for 2018 to close the year; then where would I make reversing entires for 2019 or would that come when I actually have the receipts in hand? All help appreciated!

John Baker

…...has yet to turn in any receipts for 2018 expenses from his Pastoral Care Account, Professional Development Account, Visiting Fund Account, Mileage Account, etc...
I assume from your comments, these expenses are for the entire year of 2018? If so, here are my suggestions:
- Leave the books exactly the way they are. Don't make another entry for any reason(s).
- Your pastor has certain responsibilities to his followers, the bishop or clergy that he reports to.
- This is something that you want to walk away from, ASAP. Go, and don't look back. It'll be difficult, but it must be done.

For whatever reason, this individual has not kept a reasonable attention span on the monies entrusted to him. Never assume,
step in and approximate anything. If you do, and he is found negligent of his financial responsibilities, your "fudging" the books
with estimates could pull you into a legal hassle - if one exists.
Again, I suggest that you leave everything to the way it is, step back, grab your hat and coat and exit stage left. Talk to no one,
at any time about the conditions that you're working in. The only exception would be your attorney - I would strongly advise
you seek counsel on this situation that you've observed. Let your attorney advise you who and what to say, if and when the
occupation arises for legal action against this pastor.



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May 12, 2011
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Hi Blue2019

First off, there is no way you can present "accurate" financial info for 2018 when you know you still have missing information, assuming it may be substantial. Second, If you have taken the Auditing course in school, you will recognize that if material info is missing then a CPA could not issue an unqualified ("clean") opinion on the financials in this case, and using an unsupported estimate is not GAAP. To close the books, I suggest you report the situation to the finance committee and see if they can influence the rector to act like a responsible adult and provide the receipts. Then you can finish.
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