FINANCIAL RECORD KEEPING IN RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS: A CASE STUDY OF CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ENUGU DIOCESE
This research project concerned a study of the financial record keeping of religious organizations: A Case Study of Catholic Churches in Enugu Diocese. A sample of sixty-three parishes was made from the diocese. Investigations were carried on their financial control used both internally and externally, the accounting system and financial decisions/reporting adopted. This showed whether there was an efficient and effective financial record keeping in the church. Since the research aimed at investigating existing financial record keeping or practice the employment of descriptive method of research was found adequate. The main instruments used for the collection of primary data were the structured libraries and other research units served as secondary data. The researcher ensured that the questionnaire possessed to a large extent the characteristics necessary and adequate for the purpose of validity and reliability. Data collected were analyzed and presented with percentages and tables and hypothesis were tested with the chi-square (X2) statistics and the following results emerged.
The study revealed that the church keeps proper record of its accounts and that there is accountability and responsibility, every member of the finance council has to give account of the money entrusted to him. It also showed that the church makes yearly budget before expenses are incurred and that authorization and control of church expenditure is vested on the management team.
Based on the finds, both short and long term measures were recommended as ways of enhancing financial record keeping in religious organizations.
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Every organization both business and non-business requires and uses finance for its various activities. The business organizations are set up primarily for profit making like banks, companies and other related ventures while the religious organizations are not meant for profit making but for rendering services and winning souls to God. Religious organizations can come from inform of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religious sectors of organizations. The religious organization of interest is Christian religion and indeed Catholic Church.
Since finance is very vital for the welfare and growth of these organizations, its administration has to be well accorded financial records keeping. Finance at the macro level is the study of financial planning, assets management and fundraising for business, while macro is te study of finance institution and finance market and how they operate within financial system (Anyafo, 2000:3). In view of Emekekwue (1993:1), finance is primarily concerned with money and momentary matters. In general, finance can be taken as a body of principles and theories dealing with raiding, investing, managing and employing funds by individual and organizations in private and public sectors (Oye: 2002:7).
According to Osisioma (1996:63), a system is a complete array of an ordered arrangement of interdependent elements, with a common goal, related by a network of relationships. Such a system has input process-output component, and it is in itself an information system.
Financial systems are subsystems in a business organization whose responsibility is to ensure that business transactions are recorded in proper books of account on the basis of recognized accounting practice, analyzed, interpreted and presented to the users of accounting information (Ubesie, 1998:97). He further stressed that financial system consists of financial intermediaries, financial market, financial instruments, rules and norms that facilitate and regulate the flow of funds through the macro economy.
In essence, Catholic Church as one of the religious organizations is not meant for profit making but for bringing souls to Christ. The church requires fund to administer its affairs and to carry out its daily religious obligations. The funds are not necessarily adequate to meet up to its numerous demands, though there are various sources of generating income. It is then necessary to determine the financial income being used by the churches whether there are proper record keeping, the financial decisions and reporting made and the accounting system or procedure adopted. There arises the need for the church to keep track of its financial operations, this helps form an adage for it to control its income against its expenditure. Thus, a house built on a solid foundation remains a strong house but that whose foundation is shaky can crumble at any time. In the same way, a good financial background of a church can be said to be the foundation on which the church is built.
Therefore, the importance of finance, its adequacy to the church and how these are managed and controlled has led to the topic of the study financial record-keeping of religious organizations, a case study of Catholic Church in Enugu Diocese.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Many religious organizations are now being faced with the problem of finance, the inadequacy of funds to carry outs their religious rites. Catholic churches are not an exception as most of the churches are incapacitated in terms of fund, yet there are several sources of finance but the church seems not to meet up its financial demand. For good financial records, there must be a well developed financial decision and reporting procedures and financial control being used or operated.
It is based on this, that the researcher topic is chosen to asses the financial record keeping of religious organizations taken into consideration, Catholic Church in Enugu Diocese so as to know how the church manages and controls its fund and to suggest ways they can be improved for a better result.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this research work is to determine the financial record keeping in use for Catholic Churches in Enugu Diocese and appropriateness of the financial management and control. The research work will attempt to provide an in-depth information on the financial record-keeping of religious organizations of the Catholic Churches in Enugu Diocese. Specifically, the study is intended to find the followings:
- Whether there is effective financial control or not.
- To know the financial decision making procedure and who takes the responsibility.
- To find the financial reporting and accounting records being used by the Catholic Churches in Enugu Diocese.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In the course of solving the problem of insufficient fund for the churches, the following questions arose:
- How are the accounting procedures being used?
- Are proper accounting records being kept?
- Is the church observing any accounting manual?
- Who are responsible for taking financial decisions and plans?
- STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
The researcher formulated the following hypotheses:
Hi: There is a significant relationship between the proper financial records and accounting records of the catholic churches as a means of controlling expenditure.
H2: Budgetary accounting records are effective management strategy.
H3: The Catholic Church accounting records keeping is in conformity with the Diocesan Accounting Manual.
H4: Authorization and control of Catholic Church expenditure are vested on the church management team.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Any analysis of the appropriateness of financial management and control and how the funds are being administered and its adequacy to the individual churches form the basis for research work.
However, the scope of inquiry for this study is based on the Catholic Diocese of Enugu and some selected parishes like St. Jude Jude’s Catholic Church Parish 9th Mile Corner, Ngwo and Our Lady of Lourdes, Imezi Owa for the analysis. The reason being that Catholic Churches are the same everywhere and indeed in all the parishes and they also follow the same doctrine and system of operation, therefore covering all the parishes will be a waste of time and will make no difference.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
One of the limitations of this study is the transportation cost incurred in visiting the Dioceses, as most times, the priest or the financial administrators of the dioceses were met absent, therefore, the researcher has to repeat the visit so as to get the information required.
Also, much time were wasted in the process of collecting the necessary data for the study as those responsible to divulge the information were so reluctant, therefore the researcher/writer waited for some information that could be gotten concerning the study. Those times wasted in waiting for the collection of data would have been used by the researcher to meet up or acquire knowledge on the study in view or related study.
Besides, the greatest limitation to the study has been the inability to collect data for the study. Apart from having no related work done on the topic, the researcher could not easily get the information for the study. Though, some of the data were gotten later, the researcher did not find it easy, but managed to get small data for the analysis.
1.8 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is set out to determine the ”financial records keeping of religious organizations”: A Case Study of Catholic Churches in Enugu Diocese. It shows at a glance and most importantly, the overview of the financial records, the financial control, the accounting system and procedure and indeed financial decision and reporting of the catholic churches. There is no doubt that the study will benefit not only the Catholics but also other Christians and other religious organizations to borrow a leaf from the church so as to maintain a sound financial system in their various religious groups. Also, the study will help to remove the misconception from the minds of some people that church leaders spend church’s fund anyhow. Also, the analysis and recommendations on this study will go a long way to alleviate this.
In essences, the study will be beneficial to students of finance and accounting so as to enlighten them more on finance and accounting system of religious organizations. It will also serve as a reference point for further studies.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- FINANCE: A body of principles and theories dealing with raising, investing, managing and employing funds by individuals and organizations in the private and public sectors. Financial managers can take three main decisions; finance, investing and dividend decisions.
- FUNDS: This is regarded as cash or its equivalent, example cheques, drafts, money orders, etc. The term may be used to include securities which have a ready market and can be quickly liquated.
- FINANCE COMMITTEE: This is an association where those involved or are specialized in finance shall have power to supervise the financial affairs of the corporation or organization and shall report to the board from time to time whenever it shall be called upon to do so.
- APOSTOLIC SEE: This sometimes was a see ruled by one of the apostles but now it refers for Rome, the city of the Pope, which her rules as Bishop of the Diocese of Rome. This term also applies to governing bodies of the church with official governing bodies in the Vatican, the branch of the Roman Curia which cut only under the authority of the Pope.
- ECCLESTICAL: This adjective simply means ”of pertaining to the church” thus, there are ecclestical courts, calendars, honours, laws (of Canon Law) jurisdiction, studies and others. It is derived from the Greek word “ecclesia”
- TEMPORAL GOODS: This are created materials and extended to creatures and possession that can acquire such as money, precious items. Temporal goods are used only for those purposes to the teaching of Christ the Lord.
- JURIDICAL PERSONS: This is the public power granted by Christ or by His Church Canonical Mission of favoring the baptized. This power is referred to that belonging to the church as a perfect society, whereby the church affects a rule for the spiritual goods of its members. In matters referring to salvation, it is the right of a person or agency, to pass or apply a given law in a specific situation.
- PRESCRIPTS: This is a written reply of a religious supervisor to a request report or question. In the make of it, it repeats the request and facts together with the reasons and then offers the answers with the conditions. It is the usual form through which dispensation are granted or derived.
- CLERGY: Any clerical person but not reverend sisters.
- DIOCESAN BISHOP: Bishop of the Diocese is different from Monks and Abbot e.g. M.U Eneje.
- EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE: Conference of the Popes.
13. MENDICANT RELIGIONS: Religions that live on begging.