How do you provide sound financial leadership across a myriad small conferences, missions, and unions, including a variety of languages and accounting systems? The solution for Nenad Jepuranović, treasurer for the Trans-European Division (TED), was to support all the unions and conferences through an intensive three-day Treasury Advisory, November 25-27, 2019, immediately following TED Year-End Meetings in Bečići, Montenegro.
Leadership development is a serious part of the TED strategic plan, according to Jepuranović.
“It is encouraging to see young people taking leadership positions in many unions within our territory; however, we still have a challenge in this area, especially within Treasury departments,” he said. The advisory arose out of this need and resulted in 70 treasurers and treasury staff gathered to worship, learn, and network together.
“The TED is committed to supporting our unions in this journey of developing treasury personnel, by tailoring education and training based on needs and local circumstances,” Jepuranović said.
The biblical theme of the advisory came from Ephesians 6:7: “Serve wholeheartedly as if you were serving the Lord.” That meant each day started with an applicable message from the Bible, presented by Daniel Duda, followed by a number of presentations on relevant competencies and practical applications.
British Union Conference (BUC) treasurer Earl Ramharacksingh attended along with 19 colleagues from offices around the BUC territory.
“The whole program was ably knitted together by Mack Tennyson, TED associate treasurer, and allowed time to meet with the many experts who provided support and guidance when called upon,” Ramharacksingh said.
A “stellar array” of world church financial leaders presented on topics such as technical accounting, fraud, stewardship, conflicts of interest, making financial reporting real and meaningful to all stakeholders, crisis management, and information technology (IT) security in the modern world.
The lineup of speakers included Adventist Church treasurer Juan Prestol-Puesán, who highlighted the importance of commitment and continuous learning. General Conference (GC) general counsel Karnik Doukmetzian presented on how church structure affects ministry. TED associate treasurer Mack Tennyson presented the church’s latest policy and accounting updates along with financial analysis subjects in coordination with GC auditors Sandra Grice and Alan Redfern.
The focus was not only on finance. Gerardo Sangronis, IT manager of the GC’s SunPlus accounting system, shared the latest trends and threats in IT, while Wederly Aguiar, TED associate treasurer, showed the benefits of improving PowerPoint slide-making skills.
Amid all the learning was one other important factor, often overlooked by finance people who can, as experts in this particular area, lead somewhat isolated lives in the midst of financial ministry. Ramharacksingh summed up that aspect as well.
“The treasury teams really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with their counterparts from the far-flung regions of the TED territory. We thank the TED treasurer for providing an insightful and engaging program.”
Quotes from Earl Ramharacksingh are from an article first published in BUCnews, the electronic newsletter of the British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.