June 23, 2010

General Conference Auditing Service


he General Conference Auditing Service (GCAS) traces its legacy to 1863, when the General Conference was organized and a committee to provide financial oversight was appointed. Today a global audit program is administered in a manner substantially equivalent to a public accounting firm, with a team of more than 250 persons composed of certified public accountants, chartered accountants, and other highly qualified professionals. Operating from 45 regional offices in five area territories, these professionals attend to a portfolio of financial audit engagements that have an asset base in excess of US$20 billion.

The following are highlights from our organizational activities during the past five years:

  • Invested in a suite of software applications to make the audit process more efficient and effective, move the audit activities to a paperless environment, and manage the global organization by providing relatively real-time information.
  • Designed a global competency-based curriculum for professional development that provides training from the first day on the job through advancement into leadership positions.
  • Created an excellence scorecard to measure operational performance in the areas of engagement quality, engagement completions, engagement efficiency, personnel development, personnel utilization, financial resources, and client satisfaction.
  • Implemented 360-degree performance evaluations for all senior leaders; established metrics to provide an objective basis for professional advancement of engagement team members, and SMART plans that outline a pathway for professional growth.
  • Prepared and proposed working policies related to best practices for financial administration and auditing functions to be applied by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
  • Partnered with General Conference leaders to develop a seminal document on transparency and accountability that identified the basic premise for sustaining confidence; broad principles for shaping a code of conduct; and best practices for supporting organizational stewardship.
  • Completed a comprehensive financial study in connection with senior leaders from church organizations around the world, and agreed upon a sustainable financial model of cost sharing to support the global professional activities of the auditing function.
  • Convened our Connect 2013 seminar with 627 attendees, during which the global family and invited guests had the opportunity to benefit from spiritual refreshment, professional growth, and physical renewal.
  • Engaged an external auditing firm to conduct a peer review of our operations in North America. The result of this review was favorable, with few findings relating to areas of improvement.
  • In 2013, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first chief auditor being elected by the General Conference and named our boardroom to honor his pioneering contributions.
  • Prepared a global quality assessment to measure current levels of performance to expected standards of excellence and develop a road map to close unfavorable gaps with appropriate professional training and tools. This assessment envisions the performance of a global peer review based on international standards by an external audit firm in 2017.
  • Developed guidelines for the General Conference and its world divisions to use in the endorsement and selection of external auditors providing services to the church.
  • Developed a new level of financial oversight to supplement financial audits, financial reviews, and local church audits. The new level of oversight, known as a financial inspection, is intended to be suitable for smaller and less-complex organizations for which a higher level of service would be out of scale with associated risks.
  • Produced and presented reports to each Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee, with summarized results of our professional activities.

GCAS is proud to participate in the financial oversight process of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by delivering excellent audit services. We share a personal commitment to Christian service complemented by our attitude and actions that incorporateintegrity, respect, professionalism, and efficiency. By making excellence our signature, we contribute to the atmosphere for our church members to grow and give with confidence.