23 August 2011 St Albans, United Kingdom (Caroline Swain, tedNEWS] From the 15 – 17 August 2011, about seventy treasurers and accountants from almost all the Trans-European Division (TED) territories (sadly a few were denied visas), met for an intensive three days’ training on the new Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Accounting Manual. The charming, serene spa town, Rogaska Slatina in Slovenia, once again played host to a gathering from the Trans-European Division for this occasion.
Each day commenced with worship. The theme song ‘In Christ Alone’ was sung followed by prayer and devotionals led by Alan Redfern, General Conference Auditing Service (GCAS) Assistant Director, Nebojsa Milovanović, Adriatic Union Conference Treasurer and Sandra Mar Huldudóttir, Iceland Conference Secretary/Treasurer. The presentations were led by Paul Douglas, Director of GCAS and Jim Trude, also from GCAS, and one of the main contributors and editors of the manual. The group were enthralled by the presence of Ann Gibson, Professor of Accounting and Ethics at Andrews University, who led engaging and thought-provoking discussions on fund accounting as well as ethical financial matters and, yes, she taught us that “A financial statement is a work of art, a thing of beauty!”
Sandra Grice, Associate Director GCAS, and Alan Redfern, GCAS Assistant Director, held the audience’s attention with constructive suggestions on preparing for an audit, and introduced the new web-based interface system, Portal, for use by GCAS and their clients.
Despite the intensive sessions, the participants were able to enjoy a little of the beautiful weather, scenery, fellowship and leisure facilities during the extended lunch breaks and in the evenings. Here are just some of the comments received from participants:
Giles Barham, England: “While treasury is heavily monitored through auditing and legal procedures I feel there was sound evidence provided for a greater need for departments to be made more accountable and transparent for the membership to understand and appreciate how, where and what their loyal tithes are achieving throughout the church structure”
Abigail Wright, Newbold College: “For me the training was very informative and well presented, especially from Ann. I can now say I will be able to deal with Fund Accounting without stressing out and I know where to get support when it is needed.”
Jovan Radovanov, Serbia: "Well organized, informative, helpful and useful, the schedule was quite packed but bearable :) "
Victoria Aryee, England: “The standard of the presentations was top quality and excellent. I think Ann Gibson's lectures on Ethics and Investment Fraud was exceptional.”
André Amsen, Netherlands: “It was three long days being inside and seeing the sun shine outside, but in the end the church will be better served. Now everyone is more equipped for the job they are accountable for!"
Sandra Mar Huldudóttir, Iceland: “The meeting was well organized and helpful and I enjoyed meeting the treasurers and accountants that are working in our Division. I am thankful for the speakers and the different topics that they shared with us. I also appreciated the amount of time we had for open dialogue/questions & answers during the meetings with the speakers, it was very important to have and good points were made.”
Julio Mendez, Israel: "What a positive difference this training has given to the accountants, treasurers and other financial officers of the different organizations we have within the church structure.“
Judging by these and other comments, the overall impression gained is that this training proved to be timely and extremely useful, as well as spiritually and socially uplifting.
All world divisions are required to provide training in the use of the new manual prior to its implementation worldwide on 1 January 2012. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
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