Pursuing Financial Accountability and Transparency
Our Guest Author today is Mike Lamb, from Wessel & Company. SEAPC is independently audited on a yearly basis.
In the Not-for-Profit and Public Sector industries, there are two buzzwords that you often hear in conversation: accountability and transparency. With the advances in technology over the last ten to fifteen years, the public has greater access to information of all types, but specifically financial information (i.e. guidestar.org). This access has given greater traction to the transparency of an organization’s financial position, governance structure, organizational policies and programmatic accomplishments. Since the window of transparency has been opened, it has led to greater accountability to an organization’s business partners and more importantly to its donors.
From the very beginning of our relationship with SEAPC in 2012, the leadership team embraced transparency and accountability. SEAPC was experiencing considerable growth both financially and programmatically. With worldwide growth comes the challenge of managing resources and establishing centralized policies and procedures to establish a standard that can be applied to all employees and programs to faithfully execute the mission.
Our firm was tasked with conducting an annual financial audit to ensure SEAPC had appropriate financial reporting processes in place. As a byproduct of an audit, our firm also considers an organization’s internal controls over financial reporting. Internal controls are the mechanisms put in place by management to hold both the organization and individuals accountable for financial transactions. In the five years that our firm has conducted the audit, management has always demonstrated an eager willingness make improvements to their financial processes, implement best-practice recommendations and maintain a high standard for financial accountability and transparency.
In 2016, SEAPC further elevated their standard for financial accountability and transparency by achieving accreditation through the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (Click here to see SEAPC’s ECFA profile). ECFA has established a program “Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship” with a primary focus is financial accountability, however, the program expands its review to other key operational components.
Finally, SEAPC’s proactive commitment to transparent financial reporting is further illustrated in its annual report. Their annual report is second to none. After reading this report, you know exactly who SEAPC is, its mission, the impact of its programs, who is supporting SEAPC and how funds are spent by SEAPC.
To SEAPC, transparency and accountability are not buzzwords that are used in conversation, but are principles that are strictly adhered to and applied on a daily basis for the benefit of the organization and its stakeholders.