After reading about the mess World Vision is in, ask yourself what you are doing to prevent a similar disaster from disrupting your programs.

August 10, 2016, 7:00 am
Question this manager is pondering: Do we have good enough controls to prevent this from happening in our field programs? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Question this manager is pondering: Are our controls good enough to prevent something like this from happening in our field programs?
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few articles to follow up on the accusations a World Vision manager allegedly routed aid money to a terrorist organization.

  • Looks like the situation with the Gaza branch of World Vision could turn into an accounting argument.
  • Response from World Vision.
  • Other aid workers charged.
  • Finally, more questions for managers and finance teams to ponder.

A number of public comments on twitter are claiming the total budget for the Gaza branch is only $2.2M a year.

Some people making this comment usually continue the discussion by calling into question the entire set of accusations from the Israeli government because the current claim is the manager diverted approximately $7 million a year.

This position implies that accusations of diverting $7M a year when the budget is only $2.2M means the accusations are untrue.

8/8 – AP, The Big Story – World Vision: Israeli charges based on “huge gap” in numbers – Article points out the intelligence agency accuses the program manager of diverting food, agricultural equipment, and medical supplies in addition to currency. That means there was in-kind material as well as heavy equipment.

The accounting argument appears towards the end of the article. A Foreign Ministry representative is guessing that the stated budget does not include in-in-kind donations.

A World Vision representative in Germany says the budget of $22.2M for the Gaza office over the last decade does include in-kind materials.

So, we may wind up with this being an accounting issue in addition to a loaded political issue on top of an alleged defalcation issue carrying over into alleged terrorism funding issue.

8/9 – Al Jazeera – Christian charity ‘top of Israel’s target list’ – It will help you filter news you hear about the manager of the Gaza office if you keep in mind the visible political agenda you will see in much reporting.

Read the rest of this entry »


Initial reaction to alleged diversion of World Vision funds

August 8, 2016, 7:00 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

How can you tell who is really behind the mask, and what is he doing inside your organization? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Last week, the Israeli intelligence service accused a World Vision manager of diverting resources to Hamas. The allegation is he diverted about 60% of the annual funds flowing through the Gaza office, with the amount diverted allegedly around $7M a year.

Some initial reactions are surfacing from donors. Also, some context for magnitude of the alleged amount. Finally, some questions to ponder for leaders of charities and those of us who audit NPOs.

8/4 – World Vision – Statement on World Vision Staff Arrest – Full statement from World Vision. Doesn’t say a lot because they don’t yet know a lot. I’m sure there will be more comments as the situation develops.

8/5 – Reuters at Business Insider – Australia suspends World Vision funding over allegations its Gaza representative funneled millions to Hamas – The Australian government has provided about $4.4 million over the last three years to World Vision for use in helping people living in Gaza and West Bank. The aid has been suspended over the allegations.

Read the rest of this entry »


How do you keep one person from diverting funds and causing a front-page fiasco for your charity? World Vision illustration.

August 5, 2016, 5:35 pm
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

How do you keep one person from creating a public relations fiasco or, even worse, damaging the reputation of your entire organization? How do you keep a manager from illegally diverting a huge amount of resources?

What controls and procedures do you have in place to prevent something like this in your organization?

Let’s start with a FBI agent who pled guilty to charges of passing sensitive and classified information to a Chinese government official and businesses in China.

8/1 – ABC News – FBI Employee Arrested for Allegedly Acting as Secret Chinese Agent – According to the story, we can drop the word ‘allegedly.’ This week he entered a guilty plea to one felony charge. The government claims he was gathering sensitive and classified material based on instructions from his handler.

He was born in China and was naturalized in 1985 at age 16.

So, the FBI with all its investigative powers and intentional counter-intelligence operations was not able to prevent this man from being an agent of the Chinese government.

So what chance does a nonprofit charity have of filtering out people who want to do bad stuff? That is something to consider as we grieve the following story.

This week the story broke that a manager of the Gaza office of World Vision allegedly diverted a lot of money to Hamas for use in terrorist activities. At this point the story consists of allegations, but allegations from the Israeli security service after a few weeks of interrogation are extremely serious.

8/4 – Hareetz – Top Official in Christian Aid Group Charged With Funneling Funds to Hamas – The security service, Shin Bet, arrested the director of the Gaza branch office on June 16. He was indicted Thursday.

Shin Bet accuses the manager of joining an armed wing of Hamas in 2004 and being sent to infiltrate a western aid organization a year later.

In 2005 he was hired by World Vision and in 2010 was promoted to director of the Gaza branch.

Read the rest of this entry »


Something missing from the Journal of Accountancy article on GIK

October 7, 2013, 11:13 am

William Barrett points out there was some missing disclosure in the JofA article on GIK in his post Seattle-area charity scores P.R. coup from lack of disclosure.

I discussed the JofA article here.

The missing information is that World Vision is one of the biggest players in the GIK valuation issue getting so much attention today.

The JofA article contains no mention that World Vision has been criticized heavily for their accounting of GIK.

Read the rest of this entry »


Article on GIK valuation in Journal of Accountancy

July 31, 2013, 9:00 am

Gifts-in-kind: What are they worth? How to avoid pitfalls of GIK valuation discusses the difficulties in valuing GIKs. The article is available online from the Journal of Accountancy.

The author is Jennifer Brenner, CPA, who is the associate director for financial accounting and operations for World Vision.

I heartily recommend the article to you.

I’ll wait a few days before posting my comments.


World Vision posts pro forma adjustment which drops combined total revenue for 2008 and 2009 by 11.5% and cuts combined GIK revenue by 34.6%

February 16, 2013, 1:10 pm

World Vision has posted their 2012 financial information. You can find the information on this page. The audited financial statements are here.

Included on that page is another document, Charity Navigator Disclosures. This contains their pro forma disclosure of what changes World Vision believes would have been made to the 2008 and 2009 financial statements if the requirements for SFAS 157 had been applied for those years.

We will leave aside for the moment the opinion of some, including me, that implementing SFAS 157 should have had no impact on the valuation of 500 mg mebendazole, since it is illegal to distribute that medicine in the United States both before and after SFAS 157 went into effect.

The pro forma calculation reduces GIK revenue by $143M in 2008 and $126M in 2009. World vision disclosed in their 2010 CFO’s letter that the 2010 revenue would have been $140M higher using the valuation amounts in place earlier. That amount for 2010 is repeated in the disclosure memo.

The pro forma calculation reduces GIK revenue by 30.5% in 2009 and 39.1% in 2008. Total contributions drop by 10.3% in 2009 and 12.9% in 2008.

Read the rest of this entry »


Guidance on valuing medical GIKs in the 2011 NPO Audit Risk Alert

June 4, 2012, 8:44 am

The issue of determining fair value of donated pharmaceuticals has been quiet for a little while. I’ve not seen much discussion of mebendazole on the ‘net lately.  Perhaps it is safe to venture back into the waters.

I’d like to mention some of the accounting guidance that is around and provide a few comments.

The AICPA’s 2011 Not-for-Profit Entities Industry Developments Audit Risk Alert contains a two-page discussion of valuing gifts-in-kind (GIK).  SOme key paragraphs are quoted below along with my comments.

This is not an exhaustive discussion of the issue and is not a position paper.

This is intended to further the conversation on valuing GIKs, especially for people who don’t keep copies of the audit risk alerts on their nightstand for leisure reading. (You may now roll your eyes in pity for those of us who enjoy reading such things.)

Read the rest of this entry »