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Good controls protect from false accusations


The following text from Once Upon Internal Control is the background for Cartoon #3:

The reporter calls

About a year after the bookkeeper started, a newspaper reporter called to talk to the office manager. The reporter said she had credible information that the pastor was flying first class to his occasional speaking engagements. The reporter had indications from the same source that the pastor was really living it up during those trips. She wanted the church’s reaction to this rumor.

                The office manager immediately informed the pastor and head elder. They all knew this was a serious accusation. They knew the political and media worlds focus closely on nonprofit organizations living a highflying lifestyle. There could be a serious impact now that the pastor was starting to have a voice at the national level. They also knew these accusations were completely false.

                This reporter had written about Southside Community Church and other churches in the area. The leadership team realized they had the best chance for a fair hearing from this reporter. They decided to act quickly.

                The pastor called the reporter back and invited her to the office to review their expense documentation. The reporter knew a great opening when she saw one. She would be right over.

                By the time the reporter arrived at the church office, the bookkeeper and office manager had pulled all the church’s credit card statements, bank statements, and canceled checks for the last 12 months. They also pulled the pastor’s expense reimbursement reports for the same time period. They were stacked neatly in the pastor’s office when the reporter arrived.

Copyright © 2008 James L. Ulvog

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