Based on the statutory authority provided at the 15th All-American Council, held in Pittsburgh, PA in November 2008, the Orthodox Church in America Auditing Committee met over the Memorial Day weekend at St. Paul the Apostle Church, Dayton, OH. In attendance were the Rev. Deacon Martin D. Watt, CPA, Chair, of St. Paul the Apostle Church, Dayton, OH; Michael S. Strelka, CPA, CVA, of Holy Resurrection Church, Palatine, IL; and Karen L. Simons-Durkish, CPA, of Holy Apostles Mission, Mechanicsburg, PA. Vera Bozko-Summer, of Holy Apostles Church, Columbia, SC, participated via conference call.
After several hours of discussion and deliberation, the committee determined its initial steps. It will
- correspond with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, to schedule visits with both the Chancery staff and the various stavropegial institutions;
- discuss policies and procedures regarding financial controls and disclosure of financial information as they are currently in operation with the Chancery and each institution;
- recommend changes to current policies and procedures, and when appropriate, assist with writing the policy and procedure manuals, if one or more organizations has not thus far memorialized their policies and procedures in written format;
- develop methods to evaluate the reasonableness of the related financial statements, controls, and disclosure of information;
- systematically audit the major accounting cycles of each organization to benchmark expectations for internal controls and to evaluate the reasonableness of the related financial statements such that the Holy Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan Council, the clergy and the laity of the OCA, the external financial auditors, and all other stakeholders will find the underlying financial information reliable; and
- provide detailed progress reports to the Holy Synod of Bishops, the Chancery staff, and the Metropolitan Council.
The committee members recognize that the expectations of the work to be undertaken are high, but they committed themselves to pursue the task in a professional manner and to not force a timeline to dictate the work or reports completed.
The timing for these activities is such that the correspondence with Metropolitan Jonah will happen within the next few weeks, while the remainder of the activities will commence thereafter, as early as July 2009. Since the underlying framework has not yet been built, it is anticipated that the actual audits may not commence until 2010.
The committee is committed to ensuring that the Metropolitan, the Holy Synod of Bishops, and the Metropolitan Council have complete and accurate information with which to base their decisions, as well as confidence that the organizations and resources under their stewardship are being efficiently and effectively managed.