Instructions for Tellers

September 2011

Tellers provide a very important function to the handling of offerings and incoming finances for the church.

Besides determining an accurate count of the total monies received from public collections, they also establish two other major functions:

(a) The screening of funds, to determine that only qualifying funds are recognized for the issuance of receipts to the donor for tax purposes.

(b) The allocation of funds to appropriate categories (designations) leading to correct accounting for the church records.

Procedure for Processing A Collection or Offering

IT IS IMPERATIVE to remember that once an offering is delivered into the custody of the tellers, that the envelopes, cash and documentation forms must remain in the custody of at least two tellers, in an office that is locked and secured from public access, UNTIL the counting and accounting for the offering is complete.

Funds should never be left in the custody of only one person, until after the money is tallied, recorded and placed securely in the vault.
  • Perhaps the simplest procedure for counting a collection (or multiple collections), is to place everything that has been received in a collection in an open pile on the table.
  • Before proceeding with the counting of funds, open the vault and take out any funds that may have been placed there from previous offerings, including any collections from the previous Sunday, post-dated cheques from previous collections, or any other funds that need to be processed. Place these with the funds that have just been collected.
  • Select out of the pile, all communication slips or notes which may be directed to the pastor, board, church secretary or other persons, and place these in an envelope for the church secretary to process on the next business day.
  • Proceed to open all envelopes, and ensure that the money or cheques in the envelope matches the amount written on the face of the envelope. Make sure to check that all cheques are currently dated. Set aside all post dated cheques, including the envelopes that they are in, and place them in the vault for processing at a future date.
  • If the donor has not written the amount on the envelope, then write the amount on the envelope.
  • If there is no donor number or name on the envelope, AND the money inside the envelope is cash with no donor identification, then the envelope can be discarded.
  • If there is no donor number or name on the envelope, AND money inside the envelope is a cheque, then the name and address of the donor should be copied from the cheque onto the envelope, including the postal code if available.
For Cash, Cheques and Envelope

As you continue this process, place the cash in one pile. Place the cheques in a second pile. Place the empty envelopes in a third pile. BUT separate out in a fourth pile any envelopes marked as special designations or receipt categories.

  1. NOTE:  Any monies received and marked as Benevolent Fund, should be

totally excluded from the above procedure. These funds are accounted for separate from regular church finances, and should be placed in a separate large envelope, marked Benevolent Fund, placed into the vault, and left there for counting and processing only on the second Sunday of the month.

When all of the envelopes have been emptied, proceed to sort the currency into denominational piles and proceed to count all of the currency, coin and cheques.

Both tellers should count the money independent of the other, and then compare the totals that each have obtained.

Using the adding machine provided, prepare and keep the tapes for inclusion with the funds when you are finished. In any event, and in whatever way you choose, both tellers should make a count of all of the funds and cheques, and agreement with the totals should be achieved before completing the TELLERS ACCOUNT slip.

Obtain the book of TELLERS ACCOUNT slips from the cupboard.

Double check to ensure agreement, make any corrections that are necessary until both agree on the total, and then fill in the TELLER’S ACCOUNT with the agreed upon amount.

All cheques are to be stamped on the reverse side, “For Deposit Only to the credit of Fair Havens Community Church.”  Ensure that the impression on the cheques is clear and readable, especially the bank account number. Re-ink the stamp if necessary.


As a general rule, offerings received at Fair Havens Community Church are designated to the General Fund. Essentially all offerings are GENERAL FUND unless publically announced as otherwise. For example:

-during a Missionary Conference, offerings are intended to be for the Missions Fund and are a special project offering.

-a visiting guest may be promoting a special project, and the offering may be intended and announced for that project.

These exceptions may “show up” in the offering announced, or may follow for some weeks later.

Where these special designations occur, while the cash and cheques are included with the overall totals, the special designations must be shown in the special DESIGNATIONS section of the TELLERS ACCOUNT slip.

The DESIGNATIONS section of the TELLER’S ACCOUNT slip is simply summarizing the entire offering into the various categories indicated on the envelopes.  By and large, most of the offerings will be for the General Fund, but the other designations must be shown when they do occur.

Screening Funds for Receipting Purposes

Essentially, all offerings which are received, and included in authorized church offering envelopes, showing the contributors number, are eligible for official tax receipting purposes.

HOWEVER, any envelopes which are marked for the purchase or reimbursement for something that a person has purchased from the church or for which they are paying for services or personal involvement, are not.

For example:

Any envelope marked for “sound room” is likely for the purchase of tapes or CDs which the person has ordered from the church. These funds are not eligible for tax receipting.

Any funds received for AWANA registrations, is for registering a “clubber” in the AWANA program, and should not be receipted for tax purposes.

Any funds marked for the purpose of participating in a church program, purchase of books, or registration in a special event, is not receiptable.

In these cases, even if the funds are in a marked envelope showing a donor number, the envelope must be marked NO RECEIPT, and set aside from other qualifying envelopes.

This NO RECEIPT function at this point is EXTREMELY important, and following the correct procedure rests solely on the Tellers.

For Questions

If there is any question on the part of the tellers as to whether an envelope is receiptable or not, set the envelope with the money aside and seek further instructions from the church treasurer. Do not release such envelopes or money to the normal process, until clarification is ascertained.

Attach the adding machine tape for the cheques to the bundle of envelopes  for receipting.

When the money is counted, the DESIGNATIONS summary completed and both tellers have initialled the TELLERS ACCOUNT slip, tear off the white copy, insert it with the cash and cheques into a large brown envelope or bag, dated for the current date, and place it in the security vault.

Place all of the envelopes, both those requiring receipting along with all others, into an envelope for delivery to the envelope secretary.

Do not place them in the vault, but mark the envelope for the date and contents, and leave it on the desk in the office.

Place all future post dated cheques into the vault.

Place all cash, cheques, the white copy of the TELLERS ACCOUNT slip and adding machine tapes into a large brown envelope, marked for the date of the offering, and place it into the vault.

Close the vault and secure.

Return the TELLERS ACCOUNT book to the cupboard.

Special Envelope Processing

On occasion, there may be funds, or at least envelopes that need special processing.

Memorial Donations

When donors specify that funds donated are in memory of a departed loved one, these donations are to be totalled as a separate designation on the TELLERS ACCOUNT slip, even though the funds themselves will be included in the main offering totals. This procedure is exactly the same as any other designation as covered above.


It is important to ensure that when completing the DESIGNATION section of the TELLER’S ACCOUNT, that memorial donations be shown in total, not only for Memorial Donations, BUT also show the name of the deceased person being recognized.

Sometimes, more than one deceased person will be so recognized in the same offering, and the total for each person must be shown on the TELLER’S ACCOUNT.

Normal procedures should be followed then to provide the church envelope secretary to receipt the donor. Please ensure that an appropriate envelope showing a church donor number, OR name, address, postal code and amount is processed in the same way as normal donations.

Benevolent Fund

Once a month, a benevolent offering is taken at the close of the morning service. These funds require special handling.

  1. Since the morning service is over, and the offering is taken at the time that every one is departing for home, it is not expected that the tellers of the day be required to take the time to count and process this offering on that day.
  2. Rather, the funds received in this offering are to be placed intact in a brown envelope or bag for processing by the next tellers that are on duty.
  3. This envelope should then be marked for what it is, and placed in the vault for the next counting session by the tellers for the next service.
  4. It may be that donors may contribute designated benevolent funds in other offerings, and if so, the funds should be placed in a brown envelope or bag in the same way for processing with the next monthly benevolent offering, so that there will be only one benevolent offering count for each month, usually on the second Sunday of the month.

When processing the benevolent fund offering, two important things are to be recognized:

  1. Benevolent funds are to be kept totally separate from all other offering funds, and there must be a separate TELLERS ACCOUNT prepared for this monthly tally. Funds should be counted in the same way as any other offering, the TELLER ACCOUNT prepared in the same way, and the funds placed in a separate brown envelope in the vault, for the attention of the person who will deposit the funds in the bank. In other words, these funds are to be processed once a month as a separate offering, exactly in the same way as any other offering.

BENEVOLENT offerings are eligible to be receipted in the same way as other donations, EXCEPT AS FOLLOWS:

  1. You must watch for any envelope in the BENEVOLENT OFFERING that is designated to a specific person or organization. Such funds cannot be receipted by the church. Any offering or funds submitted in a donor envelope marked for a special person or organization MUST be excluded from the offering and referred directly to the church treasurer or the pastor for either one of them to explain to the donor that such receipting cannot take place. Simply set the envelope and donation aside for special handling and do not include it in the offering that you are processing.

Thank you for a job well done. Your service and dedication to this task is vital, and it is sincerely appreciated.