MADD situation shows charities have many stakeholders

Recently, the findings from an investigation by the Toronto Star into charities have been released in the paper and they are not good for many charities, primarily MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Canada.

The Star found that the charity spends only about 19 cents for every donor dollar on programs designed to help victims of drunk driving and educate the public. This contradicts the information provided to potential donors, which claims MADD spends nearly 84 cents of every dollar on those programs.

Not surprisingly, there has been a substantial uproar amongst donors in light of these revelations, and the situation illustrates clearly just how many stakeholders there are for non-profit, charitable organizations like MADD.

Public companies have many users of their financial statements – both current (finite in number) and potential (pretty much infinite) investors and creditors. They are subject to intense scrutiny and pressure to meet earnings expectations. High profile charities are subject to the same pressures, but naturally with a focus on charitable works performed, rather than net income.

This is relevant to me because next week I’m going to be planning and conducting an audit of a new charity client of ours, and it ratchets up the pressure on my ability to plan a thorough yet efficient set of procedures to gain adequate assurance on the financial statement areas.

It’s exciting at the same time though to be involved in some way with an organization that is doing good in the world.

Accounting Blogs

‘Tis the season for giving links

Dan Meyers of Tick Marks is caught up in the spirit of giving in his own way – he’s revisiting his special 12 Blogs of Christmas from last year around this time and giving us all a refresher on the more memorable posts from the accounting blogosphere from the year nearly ended.

Since my blog wasn’t around this time last year I wasn’t featured, so I’m going to help Dan out and highlight what I think are the best posts I’ve made in the 10 months or so I’ve been blogging about the accounting and audit professional industry:

  • Income trust tax loophole gaining popularity
    One of my most popular posts in terms of number of comments, I discussed the tax law and theory surrounding income trusts in Canada, which quickly became one of the most controversial aspects of the still relatively new Conservative government here.
  • Terrorist accounting
    I’m still pretty proud of this little nugget, even though as I was writing it I was a little worried it might offend more than it entertained. It’s a flight of fancy as I try to get inside the head of a terrorist organization’s bean counter. It was timely and creative, if nothing else!
  • UFE results dreams begin
    Surprisingly my most visited post, possibly due to its primo position in Google’s search results, it was short but sweet and captured the growing anxiety I was feeling as UFE results day approached. I think most people who click on the link in Google are hoping for a wilder dream than the one I described!
  • Global ethics and international accounting standards
    Probably my most ardent foray into accounting related activism, the post details the struggle the Publish What You Pay campaign has had in lobbying for an international standard mandating companies in certain industries report payments they make to governments, in an effort to put an end to the injustice of corruption in the third world.
  • The CA Advantage – marketing the profession
    The profession debuted a new ad campaign highlighting the skills a CA can bring to an organization, and I compared it to the successful marketing of a rival designation here in Canada, the Certified Management Accountants.