Although extensive travel may not be a common practice for churches, periodic special events may require some clarity about reimbursement and should be spelled out in your employee manual. Expense of approved travel performed in the course of conducting church business should only be reimbursable in accordance with IRS reimbursement regulations and the travel policy in effect at the time the expense is incurred.

As more churches use credit cards for miscellaneous expenses, there must also be accountability regarding their use, as well as a “prior approval” routine. Persons controlling a credit card statement should not have access to the related credit card. Personal charges should never be allowed and all cards must be returned upon an employee’s termination or upon request.

Whether or not cash advances for immediate expenses of approved travel will be allowed based on a written request must be decided and written in the plan.

After completion of travel, the staff member should prepare an expense report and attach necessary supporting receipts. They should need supervisory signature approval prior to submitting for reimbursement to finance person. The norm is for all reimbursement reports to be submitted within 30 days of completing travel or incurring expense.

A “one over one” approval routine is recommended, that is, travel and unbudgeted expenses should be approved by each person’s immediate supervisor at a very minimum.