Unexpected Audit Issue

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wrigjef
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Unexpected Audit Issue

Postby wrigjef » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:02 am

My own fault for not knowing this was coming. I should have checked the audit form more closely. When we (the stake) started getting Consolidated statements, I went over it with the President and he liked the visibility. He is a CPA and made note that the signature does not simply indicate that he has reviewed the report, but that is certifies that funds are properly handled and accounted for. The President said that he was uncomfortable signing such an accountability certification with no detail. He suggested that is what Audits are for. I told him that I would have him review the forms monthly but that since it was not (so I thought) an audit issue, he did not have to sign them. He initials the first page to indicate that he has reviewed. Well as you can expect we got nailed on that during our audit, I think it was question 21 on the stake audit form.

Question how can I go about having someone in Salt Lake consider changing the wording on that signature block to something like "I certify that I have reviewed this report". Another alternative would be for more complete information to be sent to Stake Presidents.

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mlh78
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Postby mlh78 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:37 pm

My 2 cents: regardless of whether he signs the form he is accountable for ensuring that funds are "properly handled and accounted for." See handbook I 14.2.1, second paragraph. Changing the form will not absolve him of this important responsibility. If he is uncomfortable signing the form with the existing certification language, then he has not fully discharged his responsibility. If he does not believe the report gives him enough information to determine whether funds are being properly handled and accounted for, he should request the desired information from the wards.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:47 pm

wrigjef wrote:... the President ... is a CPA and made note that the signature does not simply indicate that he has reviewed the report, but that is certifies that funds are properly handled and accounted for. The President said that he was uncomfortable signing such an accountability certification with no detail. He suggested that is what Audits are for.


Although I appreciate your stake president's caution, I would suggest that he might consider a different view of this question. What he is being asked to certify is no different from the financial responsibilities specifically given to him in Handbook 1, Section 14.2.1. I really doubt that his reluctance to sign that statement indicates that he refuses to accept that Handbook responsibility. So if he accepts that responsibility in the general case, he should be willing to accept it in the specific case.

A CEO of a public company in the US is required to regularly sign certain SEC forms declaring that his company is in compliance with various laws and regulations. When he signs those forms, you can be certain that he has not reviewed every transaction in every account for every department of his company. Rather, he consults with and relies on subordinates (division heads, the CFO, accountants, etc.) to give him confidence that he can make those statements. Similarly, the stake president is not expected to review all the details that occur in finances throughout the stake -- that responsibility is delegated to the stake financial clerk, the bishops, ward financial clerks, and auditors. It would be a poor use of the stake president's time for him to examine every transaction. So he trains and gives direction to those other leaders and clerks he relies on, and he consults with them regularly. Based on that, he can sign the certification that "funds are properly handled and accounted for."

wrigjef wrote:Question how can I go about having someone in Salt Lake consider changing the wording on that signature block to something like "I certify that I have reviewed this report". Another alternative would be for more complete information to be sent to Stake Presidents.


If you'd like to make these suggestions, you can certainly do so with an MLS message, or any of the other ways available for contacting Local Unit Support.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

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wrigjef
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Postby wrigjef » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:09 pm

One point of clarification. The President has no problem signing and certifying that the funds accounted for at the stake level are :properly handled and accounted for" because he can see into our system and he has the stake clerks to rely on. I guess one could say that he also has the ward and branch clerks to rely on but he can not see into their systems and honestly does not interact with the clerks on our 12 units as frequently as he meets with us at the stake level.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:06 pm

wrigjef wrote:One point of clarification. The President has no problem signing and certifying that the funds accounted for at the stake level are :properly handled and accounted for" because he can see into our system and he has the stake clerks to rely on. I guess one could say that he also has the ward and branch clerks to rely on but he can not see into their systems and honestly does not interact with the clerks on our 12 units as frequently as he meets with us at the stake level.


I understand that, and I imagine that is fairly typical. But he does have the bishops to rely on for ward finances, and he is supposed to be discussing finances with the bishops. I understand that he is an additional level removed from ward finances, but he still has that stewardship as well. And the stake clerk has a responsibility to follow up with ward clerks on these issues, too.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.


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