Financial & Performance Audits
Each board is required to appoint an Audit Committee to provide an independent review of chapter activities, funds and financial records, including the year-end Chapter Summary Report. There are two audits: a financial audit and a performance audit.
These annual audits should be completed by March 31 of the following year.
Why an Audit is Required?
An audit helps verify the accuracy of financial and performance reporting, and supports the integrity of processes in place to ensure funds are being distributed in the manner intended. This helps assure members that Thrivent Financial and its chapters are being good stewards of member resources.
Leader Responsibilities in Relation to the Audit
The chapter president is responsible for ensuring that an audit committee is in place and that the audit occurs. It is recommended that a leader, other than the financial or assistant financial director, oversee the auditing process.
Who Should Perform the Audit
An audit committee must consist of at least three chapter members, but additional nonmembers may serve. To ensure independence, Thrivent Financial associates, field managers, chapter leadership board members and close relatives of board members should not be committee members. It is best practice to have a couple board members available during the audit to answer questions and provide access to online records, if needed.
Note: There may be situations when a board has difficulty finding a group of volunteers who are willing to serve on the Audit Committee or feels more comfortable having its books reviewed by a professional. The board can vote to use operating funds to pay an independent, professional auditor to perform the audit. The same guidelines as outlined above should be used to select an auditor to ensure independence.
Items Needed For the Audit
Chapter leaders should provide the Audit Committee or independent auditor with the guidelines documented under Financial Audit and Performance Audit below. These also are documented in the Conducting Year-End Audit of Finances and Activities step-by-step resource guide (Link opens in new window) (PDF, 242K).
Gather the following records:
- Chapter meeting notes.
- Monthly bank statements.
- Checkbook ledger and duplicate check register.
- Copies of – or access to – online reporting. This includes Manage Income and Expenses categorizations and Care Abounds in Communities reporting.
- Receipts for general expenses.
- Year-end Chapter Summary Report.
Provide these guidelines to your Audit Committee or independent auditor:
- Obtain copies of all checking account statements to verify the amount of money the chapter received from Thrivent.
- Do a spot check of some of the deposits made by the chapter into the checking account for fund-raisers, when applicable.
Time may not permit this for every chapter activity. Review enough deposits until you feel comfortable with the chapter's reporting.
- Review the duplicate checks in the checkbook and verify that all are intact and legible, with no duplicates missing.
- Trace each disbursement or withdrawal to a bill, receipt or reference in the board meeting minutes that authorizes the disbursement. All checks written to reimburse expenses should have an accompanying receipt. Reimbursements for mileage should include dates of travel, purpose of travel (including beginning and ending destinations), and beginning and ending mileage.
- Verify that a check has been written for each activity.
- Verify that a logical relationship exists between the payee and the service used or contribution made. Examples (Link opens in new window).
Verify that the checkbook ending balance matches the balance on the Dec. 31 bank statement for the account (taking into account any checks that may have been written that were not cashed by Dec. 31).
Chapter Summary Report
The Chapter Summary Report is not meant to balance.
- The Chapter Summary Report should be compared with what was reported online for a randomly selected group of activities. Please note that it may be easier to review this report with a few of the leaders to determine if there are any concerns or discrepancies.
- After the audit has been completed, the Audit Committee chairperson or independent auditor must sign the Chapter Summary Report and Group 990 Tax Return Verification (on the Chapter Summary Report).
- By March 31, a chapter leader must sign the verification (or signature page) and submit it to the Operations Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.
The Audit Committee should:
- Verify that chapter activities and meetings were reported online and that the expenses associated with meetings were accurately reported.
- Review chapter meeting minutes to ensure that reported activities were voted on by the board and the minutes clearly reflect which activities were approved and denied.
- Verify that meetings were being documented and that monthly meetings included a report from the financial director, featuring a beginning balance, a list of deposits, a list of checks written and an ending balance.
- Joe Jones, chapter president, is being reimbursed $10 for postage charges he incurred for a small mailing to other leadership board members (logical).
- A check is issued to a local restaurant for dinner for a leadership board meeting on a date for which meeting minutes exist (logical).
- A check is issued to a local store for "supplies" for $100 with no corresponding receipt and no mention in meeting minutes that this expense was approved (requires clarification from the leadership board).