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Balancing money and mission in a local church budget

Irvine, Helen J. (2005) Balancing money and mission in a local church budget. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 18(2), pp. 211-237.

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Abstract

This study of budgeting practices and attitudes to budgeting in a local church uses Booth’s (1993) framework to consider the potential conflict between the "sacred" agenda of the church and the "secular" nature of accounting. Over a six month period, the author conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with key church leaders, and studied financial reports and the minutes of church meetings.
Clergy and lay people alike, far from viewing accounting as an unwelcome intrusion into their church's sacred agenda, integrated belief in their church’s mission with the need to raise and manage the money necessary to mobilise that mission. Religion and religious organizations occupy a greater importance in society than academic accounting research would indicate, and this paper represents a response to that academic blind spot. Opportunities abound for further studies of the contribution accounting makes to other religious organizations, and to non-profit organizations whose goals are not primarily wealth creation.

All organizations, even those with a sacred agenda, need to confront the reality of money and accounting if they are to achieve success. If they are unable to obtain or account for the resources they need for their mission, their ability to fulfil that mission is likely to be compromised. By portraying accounting as an enabling and liberating contributor to a church's fulfilment of its spiritual mission, this study demonstrates that attitudes to accounting are inextricably intertwined with religious beliefs, and that accounting can be a valuable tool in a cooperative attempt to implement a spiritual vision.

Impact and interest:

21 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 13052
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Accounting in churches, Mission, Religious organizations, Sacred and Secular, Stewardship
DOI: 10.1108/09513570510588733
ISSN: 0951-3574
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Accounting Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified (150199)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Emerald Publishing
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 19 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:42

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