Frequently Requested Topics

Audits: Internal Parish Audits

Internal Audits Introduction

The Office of Finance has established the internal audit program to assist parishes and parish schools with the safeguarding of parish assets. There is a three-fold purpose for an audit: 1) to assist the parish with accounting related issues, 2) to identify areas that need improved internal controls, and 3) to hold the parish accountable to diocesan policies.

There are various critieria used in determing which locations are schedule for an internal audit.  These criteria include:

  • Request by the parish for an audit
  • Selection for audit by the diocesan finance office
  • Length of time since last audit (scheduled on a rotating basis over a three year period).

The Process

The Parish will receive a letter from the Director of Finance indicating an audit will be initiated.  Prior to the audit, the Internal Auditor will send a preliminary packet with various questionnaires and forms to be completed and returned to the auditor.  At that point, the Internal Auditor will contact the Parish to set a date for the audit fieldwork, in which the auditor will be onsite at the Parish.

The auditor will be onsite from one to five days depending on the size and complexity of the parish.  If information is still needed at that point, a return visit may be scheduled.  Otherwise, the remaining audit work will be completed offsite.  Once all audit issues are resolved, a draft of the audit report, management letter and audited financial statements are sent to the parish for review.  At that time, any discrepancies or misunderstandings will be addressed. 

Once completed, a final draft of the audit report, management letter and audited financial statements are released.

Questions / Contact

Questions may be directed to Andrew Brannon 507-858-1248.

Diocesan Collection Calendars

Financial Policies and Procedures Manual

The Financial Policies and Procedures Manual has been prepared to provide diocesan parishes one comprehensive document containing the financial policies of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester and the financial procedures to which all diocesan parishes must adhere. It is also intended to serve as a reference guide to all who are involved in parish finances.

In this manual the user will find a collection of all policies, procedures, internal controls, chart of accounts and informational topics as they relate to parish financial administration.  Copies of this manual may be made for use within a parish, school or cemetery. However, providing copies of any material contained in this manual to those outside the Diocese of Winona-Rochester requires prior permission from the Diocesan Finance Officer or Internal Auditor.

Finance Times Newsletters

Parish Accounting Resources

Creating Useful Financial Reports

Help!  The parish finance council meets tonight.  What is essential parish financial information and how do I pull it together efficiently?   We will discuss basic financial reports and accounting information necessary for pastors and finance councils.

Parish Financial Reporting Handouts (Used for June 2006 Ministry Days)

Accounting "Cheat-Sheet"

Have you ever found yourself preparing a journal entry while asking, “which side should be the debit and which side should be the credit?” Click on the link below for a guide that may be a useful reference when you find yourself in those situations. Also included with the guide is how each account type corresponds with the chart of accounts for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester.

Debit - Credit Reference


IRS Mileage Rate

Effective January 1, 2019

The IRS recently announced the standard mileage rates for business travel effective January 1, 2019.  The business mileage reimbursement rate will increase to 58.0 cents per mile (from 54.5 cents per mile).  Mileage incurred on parish business after December 31, 2018 will be reimbursed at the new 58.0 cents per mile rate. 

For priests receiving the monthly allowance, the amount will increase to $580.00 per month.  Priests using the documented ministry miles method of reimbursement, the reimbursement rate will be 58.0 cents per mile. 

Parish Annual Financial Report

Overview and Requirements

All parishes in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester are required to file an Annual Financial Report to the Diocese of Winona-Rochester Pastoral Center by August 31 of each year. The reporting period coincides with the fiscal year: July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. The pastor, lay trustees and the individual preparing the documents are expected to sign the Annual Financial Report.

All funds held in bank accounts, loans, and in other investment vehicles, such as stocks and bonds, (including parish endowments), must be disclosed on the Annual Financial Report. Annual activity in each fund or account must be included in the revenue and expense activity disclosed on the report.

The financial information contained in the Annual Report should be communicated to the Parish Finance Council on an annual basis. A summary version of the report may be provided to parishioners.

The Diocese of Winona-Rochester uses the Annual Financial Report as a tool for financial accountability, internal financial analysis and historical record. In addition, the Annual Financial Report is used to determine the diocesan assessment, pension plan for priests assessment and annual diocesan appeal target. It is important to receive accurate and timely financial information so that these objectives can be obtained.

Key Dates


End of 2018 / 2019 Fiscal Year


Beginning of 2019 / 2020 Fiscal Year



Annual Parish Financial Reports due to the Diocese of Winona-Rochester Pastoral Center

Instructions for ParishSOFT Users

The ParishSOFT Accounting software package will automatically generate the year-end financial reports for you.    For your reference, the complete process for generating the necessary reports is available via the following link:

Diocese of Winona-Rochester Annual Financial Report Process

When the reporting process is complete, the following items must be submitted to the Diocese of Winona-Rochester Pastoral Center by August 31, 2019.  Items 1 & 2 are generated automatically by ConnectNow; items 3 & 4 must be completed in Excel or compatible spreadsheet program (click on the link for a blank template):

Questions? - Who to Contact

Cindy Olson

Parish Support Specialist

55 W. Sanborn Street
PO Box 588
Winona, MN 55987

Phone: 507-450-9164

Resources for Parish Bookkeepers


Remittance Forms

Self-Insurance Program

Ryan Christianson

AIC, CPSI, Claims/Risk Manager II
Catholic Mutual Group

Phone: 507-454-6452

Resources & Policies