Cash management in the religious non-profit sector: a survey of three manor denominations' practices

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Virginia Tech

Cash management is a process for controlling the flow of money into and out of an organization for the purpose of optimizing its financial position. The benefits of cash management - a more complete understanding of financial standing, a stronger financial position, and an improved ability to plan and fund activities and expenditures - are just as relevant to the non-profit organization as to its government or business counterpart. This study explores the extent to which this argument is valid within a sample of religiously affiliated non-profit organizations by identifying and evaluating the patterns of cash management techniques they use.

This research demonstrates that part of the religious non-profit subsector employs a variety of cash management techniques ranging from simply depositing incoming money daily to preparing cash budgets and investing surplus funds. On the whole, however, this use is not very sophisticated. Nevertheless, significant sophistication differences between denominations indicate that while there are no inherent subsector structural barriers to cash management implementation, implementation is related to other factors including the type of accounting system used and the size of the organization’s budget.

This thesis also develops an index that reflects the relative sophistication of cash management implementation in the organizations studied. The index reflects categories of cash management techniques culled from the literature while for the first time weighting those tools based on their relative level of implementation difficulty and sophistication. This index allows comparisons between organizations within and between sectors.