Gmail – Google lets app developers access personal emails

This appeared in the Christchurch Press on Saturday 22 September 2018 and highlighted that extreme care needs to be taken when using Gmail for official Church business.  If you have any concerns, it is strongly suggested that you talk to the Connexional Office about creating a “@methodist.org.nz” email address for official Church business.  There is no cost for this service and takes 5 minutes to setup and get underway.

“Google is allowing hundreds of companies to scan people’s Gmail accounts, read their emails and even share their data with other firms, the company has confirmed.

In a letter to US senators Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president for public policy in the Americas admitted that it lets app developers access the inboxes of millions of users – even though Google itself stopped looking in 2017.

In some cases human employees have manually read thousands of emails in order to help train AI systems which perform the same task.

The disclosure has uncomfortable echoes of last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which political consultants covertly harvested data from 87 million Facebook users through…” CLICK HERE for the full article.

Performance Reports (end of Year Financial Statements) – 30 June 2018

Just a reminder that all Methodist Church entities that report either directly or indirectly to the Conference of the Methodist Church need to supply the General Secretary with a final signed copy of their Performance Report (financial statements) for the 12 months ending 30 June 2018 by 12 October 2018. PLEASE put a reminder in your diary or let the person doing the work know of the deadline.

These Performance Reports need to comply with generally accepted accounting practice, which for most Church entities means that they comply with the Tier 3 or Tier 4 reporting standards as issued by the External Reporting Board.

The Annual Return for those Church entities whose financial year end is 30 June 2018 (as set out in the Law Book) needs to include the Performance Report.  This needs to be filed with Charities Services by 31 December 2018.

Also a reminder that you need to also look at  your constitution and the Independent Assurance Policy of the Church to see if you also require an audit or review. For Parishes and Synods, the general rule is that if your operating expenditure is under $500,000 then you do not need either a review or an audit.  If your operating expenditure is between $500,000 and $1,000,000 then you will need to have a independent review undertaken.  If your operating expenditure is over $1,000,000 then you will need an audit.  For some entities it is mandatory that an audit or review to be undertaken.  This work needs to be undertaken by a qualified person. A qualified person is defined within the Financial Reporting Act as a person who is professional qualified to undertake the work.

If an independent audit or review IS undertaken, then any management report/letter received from auditor  or reviewer will also need to be sent to the General Secretary.

The Independent Assurance Policy can be found HERE .

Related Party Transactions

From the 1 January 2019 the way report related party transactions will change so care will be required.  For Tier 3 and 4 reporting entities, the simple word “significant” will be removed from WHAT is required to be reported in the performance reports.  While this may seem a simple change the effects may be quite dramatic.  After the “annual audit season” is over, Peter van Hout will rewrite the related party document to reflect the changes but in the meantime, to understand what is required in the performance reports (financial statements) see this link…..Related Party Transactions

Goods and Services Monthly Returns

This is a reminder that Conference decided in 1986 that the Methodist Church of New Zealand be registered as one “person” (group registered) for the purposes of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985.  One of the consequences of this decision is that ALL entities that are under the authority of Conference need to lodge monthly GST returns through the Methodist Church online GST system so that the Church is able to comply with the Act.

The Information Leaflet that relates to GST can be found on the Methodist Church website.  Click HERE to download it.

Monthly GST Returns need to be loaded into the online GST system by midnight on the 25th of each month.  For more information, please contact Peter van Hout in the Connexional Office of the Board of Administration.

End of Financial Year Preparation

It is nearly Happy New Year time for prepares of financial statements within the Church.

The Independent Assurance Policy (audit or review) for financial statements has not changed from last year and can be downloaded from HERE. It has already been sent out as part of the annual statistics package in May 2018.  In summary, if your operating payments are under $500,000 then the Church does not require an audit or review (but you can still have one done if you choose to. If your operating payments are between $500,000 and $1,000,000 then the financial statements need to be reviewed by a qualified person (normally a Chartered Accountant in Public Practice).  For operating expenditure greater than $1,000,000, then an audit is required to be undertaken by a qualified person (normally a Chartered Accountant in Public Practice).

If you do have an audit or review undertaken, then the auditor or reviewer is required by the assurance standards to also issue a “management letter” or “business issues” report.  This must also be submitted with your annual accounts to the General Secretary.

Please remember that the financial statements need to be prepared using the appropriate financial reporting standards issued by the External Reporting Board (Tier 1, 2 , 3 or 4).   If you need support in the preparation of these, then the Connexional Office is able to assistance.

Things to note are:

  • If you are using Xero, please make sure that all bank transactions are coded and that the bank accounts are fully reconciled.
  • If you have MTA and CB&L accounts, then please make sure that journal entries are undertaken to balance these accounts with the statements you have received from the Connexional Office.  These statements may not appear until the second or third week of July.
  • If you have any loans outstanding, once again undertake the necessary journal entries to balance these off with the appropriate interest paid and capital repayments journaled.
  • Were there any large repairs and maintenance items that should be capitalised as a fixed asset or did you purchase new furniture, computers, etc. that need to be on the fixed asset register?
  • If you have fixed assets, has depreciation been run and entered into the accounts.
  • Cast your eye over the entries going through the bank accounts to make sure they have been allocated to the correct accounting code.
  • Has GST been claimed on only those tax invoices that have GST on them and that tax invoices are in the files?
  • Have services that the Church has provided (hire of hall, etc.) been correctly charged.
  • Look at and start documenting your Outcomes and Outputs that your Parish has undertaken in the year.

 

Statistic Forms and Annual Financial Statements – 30 June 2018 – Timetable

The Connexional Office have sent out the annual bundle of statistic forms, guides and timetable for the collection of statistical and financial information for the year ending 30 June 2018.  Attached is the general information form which has the timetable associated with it.  If you have NOT received the email regarding this, please email the Connexional Office and ask for a set.

Two key dates are:

Completed online or paper based statistics Form M2 – Due date is Friday 10 August 2018

Financial Statements for the year in the correct format (Tier 2, 3 or 4) with the audit or review report attached, when required by Church Policy – Due date Friday 12 October 2018

Front page Methodist Parish Statistics Checklist 2018 (YELLOW)

Cyber Security

Here is a flyer that the Connexional Office have produced to make you think about cyber security, backups and the things that can be done to make yourself, the Parish (or any other entity within the Church) safe.  This will help to minimise risks while being connected to the internet and the world wide web.

Keep Yourself Safe Online Cyber Security

Health and Safety – Care for Our People Manaakitia ā Tātou Tāngata

Ata mārie koutou!

You may have noticed in the last E-messenger newsletter that the Church now have documents available on the Methodist Church of New Zealand website to help Care for Our People Manaakitia ā Tātou Tāngata.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/caring_for_our_people

Please would you let everyone know that this page is active and information is available for them to use.

The templates available so far are for  Emergency Response Plans and the Connexional Office will notify you when new material is released (which will be no more than once a month).

Ngā mihi

End of Year Financial Statements – 30 June 2018 – Assistance

The Accountants within the office of the Board of Administration of the Methodist Church of New Zealand are in the process of planning and allocating work for July, August and September 2018. As you will be aware this is a very busy time of year with many financial statements needing to be prepared, audited or reviewed, signed and distributed.  The time we have available is limited during this time.

Once again, we will have the assistance of a Contract Accountant, Christine Chisholm, who will be available to prepare the Annual Financial Statements on parish’s behalf.  She’ll be working abroad from London but working through the Methodist Church and have access to MCNZ systems.  The hours she will be available to call treasurers will be from 8am to 10.30am and 6pm to 8pm Monday to Friday New Zealand time.  Contact details will be given to those entities who wish to have Christine prepare the annual financial statements later in the year.

Last year we had a flat fee of $500.00 per entity.  This was heavy subsidised by the Board of Administration. What we discovered last year was that that the hours required to prepare the financial information ready for the financial statements to be finalised ranged from an hour or so to 35 to 40 hours.  This year we are looking at a two tier system based on the hours that Christine provides help in preparing the accounting information ready for the production of the financial statements and then preparation of the financial statements.  The cost structure proposed is this:

Hours Worked Cost
Up to a maximum of 10 hours $500.00
Over 10 hours of $500.00 plus the actual hourly cost for time over 10 hours.

 

The Board of Administration is still providing a subsidy for this work and the above charges do not reflect the actual costs.  The service being provided acknowledges that there are some people who require little help and others that require significant help.  For those who used this service last year and are likely to be in the second group, Peter van Hout will email you separately in April to let you know.

While the above table is the set rule, we will take care on the charges.  If your final hours used were 10.5 hours, for example, then you will not be charged for the additional 0.50 of an hour and you would not be charged $500.  There is some discretion.  However, if we believe that Christine will need more hours than first anticipated, then we will alert you to that. I do not wish to be in a position whereby the other accountants in the office are placed under additional stress during July, August and September and hence why Christine has been engaged to do the work.

Can you indicate to Peter van Hout (peterv@methodist.org.nz) if there is a strong likelihood that the parish will require us to assist them in completing their annual accounts to 30 June 2018.  Could you let Peter know by Friday 4th May 2018 by sending him an email as we need to be in a position to finalise a contract with Christine as soon as possible.  We will also try to give you a “rough” idea on your likely cost based upon the hours Christine spent on your accounts last year.

Tax Donation Receipts-31 March 2018

Over the last couple of years staff within the Connexional Office have had to deal with concerns expressed by congregational members that the Inland Revenue Department has rejected donations paid to the Church by them.  While it has not been a major concern within the wider Church we have reflected upon the advice we have sent out to the wider Connexion and have updated our information with the help of the Inland Revenue.

Attached to this email are three documents, which are the same, other than the language within them.  One is in English, one is in English with Tongan translation and the other is English with a Samoan translation.

The documents listed below are the latest information we have available and if followed should allow for the smooth processing of tax donation receipts for the tax year ending 31 March 2018.

If a congregational member has an issue, we would appreciate a note regarding it with the details and the Connexional Office will follow it up with the IRD.  However, final resolution of the  matter is between the IRD and the congregational member, but we will attempt to ensure the system works for all parties concerned.

If we can be of further assistance, please let Peter van Hout in the Connexional Office  know.

Donation Tax Credits under the Income Tax Act 2007 Short Form Samoan

Donation Tax Credits under the Income Tax Act 2007 Short Form Tongan

Donation Tax Credits under the Income Tax Act 2007 Short Form (English only)