Accountability with Our Finances

The Diocese of Phoenix employs industry best practices for non-profit accounting and fraud risk management.

We understand that religious institutions have unique risks associated with their activities and seek to mitigate those risks at every turn in order to safeguard the generous gifts and contributions or our parishioners and various benefactors. We employ a fraud hotline, control procedures, and Finance Councils at the parish and diocesan levels to assure transparency.

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1. Fraud Prevention

To assist with fraud risk management, we provide a fraud hotline that can facilitate concerns and allegations of potential fraud, waste, or abuse. Those tips that can be verified are investigated by certified professionals and, if a potential crime is suspected, referred to law enforcement for further investigation and cooperation.

“We implement and regularly evaluate internal control procedures at all of our Diocesan parishes, missions, and schools.”

2. Control Procedures

Historically, the control procedures implemented by the Diocese of Phoenix have performed very well in preventing:

  • Fraud
  • Waste
  • Abuse

In the unfortunate few instances where allegations have been substantiated, these controls have successfully aided in early detection and mitigated losses tremendously. Despite those successes, we are always seeking more effective ways to improve and bolster accounting and fraud risk management procedures so we can better protect the gifts of the People of God in the Diocese of Phoenix. In this way, the pledge of fidelity to all people of Diocese can continue to be fulfilled and furthered for the Glory of God.

  1. Auditors perform financial reviews at each Parish no less than once every three years.
  2. In the event of a Pastor change, an unscheduled financial review may be necessary; the review will be scheduled no later than 60 days after the change. If possible, the review will be scheduled before the change of Pastor.
  3. Reviews are performed in a timely manner in response to appropriate special requests.
  4. The auditor holds an exit meeting to discuss the findings with the Pastor, the bookkeeper, a Parish Finance Council member, and whomever else the Pastor chooses. Required changes are clearly specified in the report; the report may also contain non-required recommendations
  5. The Diocesan Parish Finance Liaison attends the audit exit meetings whenever possible. In all cases, the Liaison provides ongoing support from the Finance Department.
  6. The auditor, the CFO, and the Pastor sign the Financial Review Report. A copy goes to each member of the Parish Finance Council. The Moderator of the Curia and the Dean receive the two-page executive summary; the full report is available to them upon request. The Moderator of the Curia determines whether to pass the report on to the Bishop. All parties are copied on any written responses from the Pastor.
  7. Approximately six months after each exit meeting, the auditor follows up to review and document the actions taken on the recommendations. The scope of the follow up depends upon the extent of the changes required; some follow ups can be done by phone, others require on site visits. The complete results are shared with the Pastor and the Parish Finance Council. The Moderator of the Curia and the Dean receive a follow-up executive summary; the full report is available to them upon request.
Does any money from the CDA go toward lawsuits against the Catholic Church for priests who abused children?
No. When you give to the Charity and Development Appeal you support the work of more than 70 organizations and ministries in our Diocese, transforming the lives of thousands of people. Read More: CDA Grants & Allocations
What about money we donated to Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante?
Your gifts are bound by your pledge card to be directed to specified funds.

“Finance Councils are a significant resources for your parish, and our diocese. We tap into the expertise and knowledge to strengthen our Catholic communities.”

3. Finance Councils

Finance Council at Your Parish – As stated in Canon 532, the Pastor represents the Parish in all juridic matters. He is the person ultimately responsible and accountable in ordinary matters for all spiritual and financial actions of the Parish. However, as stated in Canon 1287, “administrators are to render an account to the faithful concerning the goods offered by the faithful to the Church…” Canon 537 states, each Parish must have a Finance Council, and its authority, its policies, and its procedures, are regulated by norms “…issued by the diocesan Bishop…” Learn more about Parish Finance Councils

Finance Council at the Diocese of Phoenix – The Diocese itself also enjoys the guidance and support of an expert Finance Council. The Diocesan Finance Council membership includes a number of lay faithful with backgrounds in business administration, investment management, law, accounting, banking, real estate, marketing, and communications. Two pastors of our parishes also lend to the Council their expertise in parish administration. Much of the work of the Council is done by a number of committees that have been established to allow efficient oversight, guidance, and input by laity into the care of Diocesan resources and business practices. The work of the Council and its committees is demonstrative of the highly detailed input we receive from the faithful who serve on those bodies:

  • The Strategic Planning Committee helps guide decisions regarding strategic purchases of land for future parishes and schools; makes recommendations regarding parish and school construction projects; and reviews proposed diocesan, parish, and school borrowing proposals.
  • The Budget Committee assists in developing the annual diocesan budget; reviews requests for diocesan grants; and regularly reviews diocesan financial reporting for performance versus the approved budget.
  • The Compensation and Benefit Committee reviews salary scales for employees diocesan offices, parishes, and schools; and monitors the pricing and stability of various diocesan health care and retirement benefits.
  • The Audit Committee oversees the annual financial audit of the Diocese of Phoenix and various related entities; it also monitors the results of the parish financial reviews mentioned earlier.
  • The Investment Committee oversees the invested funds of the Diocese and of various parishes and schools that participate in the Diocesan investment program; meeting quarterly to review performance and to make recommendations for any modifications to the asset allocation and to individual asset managers.