WASHINGTON (October 29, 2002) -- "The Catholic Bishops of the United States will be asked to approve a document on Diocesan Financial Issues when they meet here in November.
The semi-annual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be held at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, November 11-14.
The proposed publication was developed by the USCCB Accounting Practices Committee (APC) under the auspices of the Committee on Budget and Finance, chaired by Bishop Henry J. Mansell of Buffalo. Bishop Mansell is Treasurer of the USCCB.
Diocesan Financial Issues is, in effect, a major rewrite of a document published by the Bishops" Conference in 1981, Accounting Principles and Reporting Practices for Churches and Church-Related Organizations. That manual was notable for its presentation of acceptable accounting principles and reporting practices for external financial reports.
The rationale for the new document is that the 1981 manual is out of date and no longer provides much guidance for those it was intended to serve. Also, with rising expectations of donors for greater accountability and transparency, and increased scrutiny from the government, it became clear that something more was needed.
After a thorough study and review, the APC recommended the use of Practioners Publishing Company"s (PPC) Preparing Nonprofit Financial Statements as a replacement for the outdated manual. Accordingly, this PPC publication will provide general accounting guidance for the Catholic Church in the United States. (PPC are publishers of practical, how-to guidance for accountants, CPAs, and other financial professionals). Because of the unique nature of various church financial accounting and reporting issues, the APC prepared Diocesan Financial Issues as a companion manual to the PPC document. The companion manual is intended to offer additional guidance to dioceses concerning those unique issues that are not covered in the PPC manual.
Diocesan Financial Issues was unanimously approved by the APC and by the Committee on Budget and Finance. The APC is composed of 11 Chief Financial Officers from the dioceses, two representatives from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), two representatives from the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), five advisors from the accounting profession, and the Chief Financial Officer of the USCCB, who serves as staff. The companion manual has been independently reviewed for technical correctness by an outside, independent CPA firm.