Thursday, January 3, 2013

Invitation for Improvement

What word or phrase pops into your mind when someone mentions “annual audit?”

If we were at a board retreat together—and each board member shared a response—the around-the-room drill might sound like this:
   • Necessary evil
   • Boring
   • Important, but not strategic
   • Often late, but well done!
   • Three cheers for our CFO!
   • PTL! We’re still solvent.
   • Going concern = prayer concern

I’m not a finance person, so I tend to be in the camp that says “Let’s do the due diligence, of course, but quickly move to the next agenda item.”

So I must confess this about audits: I was severely reprimanded recently!

Let me explain. I currently serve as board chair for a credit union and a new federal requirement mandates that every board member complete six financial literacy courses—with passing grades! I invested 25 hours online and, somehow, squeaked into the “pass” column.

In the final course (finally!)—the reprimand jumped off my computer screen: “However, the audit is more than a tool for overseeing financial reporting.  It is an invitation for improvement. The information in the report helps identify your [organization’s] strengths and potential weaknesses in a systematic way. It provides the [finance committee], board of directors, and management with a rubric for measuring organizational performance from year to year.”

The audit—an invitation for improvement! When I read those words, suddenly this secular training tool became God’s words to me: “John, I want you to see all of your board work—including the audit—as My invitation for improvement.”

Drudgery turned to joy (almost!).  I was on the last leg of this arduous financial literacy marathon, but—oh my—the path became holy ground.  I will never look at an audit the same way again.

One of John Baillie’s poignant prayers reads, “O Thou who hast so graciously called me to be Thy servant, I would hold myself in readiness today for Thy least word of command. Give me the spirit, I pray Thee, to keep myself in continual training for the punctual fulfillment of Thy most holy will.”

QUESTION: With an eye on eternity, how will you inspire your board members to be looking for more “invitations for improvement?”

No comments:

Post a Comment