|Activity||When the Society was founded in 1799 the Committee of Accounts was set up "to receive subscriptions, to regulate the accounts and to undertake the charge of fitting out and conveying the missionaries to the place of their destination". The receipt of money, including that derived from legacies, and the keeping of the accounts remain the chief work of the Finance Department today. In 1811 a Committee of Funds was appointed whose task was to augment the Society's funds. This developed into the Funds and Home Organisation Committee in 1881 and, as part of the Home Division (Britain Region in 1980s) the work moved out of the sphere of the Finance Department, though it remained closely linked with it.|
In 1842 following a financial crisis a Finance Committee was appointed "without whose sanction no expense of any kind was to be incurred". The same year Henry Venn was appointed as an additional Secretary, to be assistant to Dandeson Coates (who had been given the title Lay Secretary in 1830). On Coates' death in 1846 another Lay Secretary was appointed, while Venn used the title Hon. Clerical Secretary. From that time there was always a Lay Secretary [from 1922 called Finance Secretary] who was secretary to the Finance Committeee and head of the Finance Department at headquarters. Coates and later George Hutchinson treated the office of Lay Secretary as that of the chief Secretary of the Society, but the other holders of the office were always second to the Hon. Clerical Secretary [General Secretary form 1922].
Besides dealing with purely accounting functions, the Finance Department has always been responsible for the Society's property and for special funds set up for specific purposes (mainly connected with foreign work). In 1885 the Church Missionary Trust Association was set up as an incorporated body to hold CMS property all over the world. The land and buildings which had been acquired in the early years of the work for mission purposes were transferred to CMTA. From the 1930s onwards these overseas properties were transferred to the Churches in those countries.
The Finance Secretary has also been responsible for the physical administration and organisation of headquarters and for the payment of salaries and pensions to the staff and missionaries.