“Financial reporting of a high standard is very helpful. It attracts extra financial and other resources,” said Dr Benedict Alo D’Rozario, Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh, drawing on lessons he learned in his student days in the USA in the 1980s. Dr Alo shared his experiences with staff from the Caritas Asia and Oceania regions in Bangkok in October, at a workshop on the Caritas Financial Capacity Building Programme. He said, “In finance, one never knows when or where one will be asked for information,” and that the answer given must be correct, clear and transparent.
As part of its “Strengthening Caritas” policy, Caritas Internationalis’ General Secretariat has developed a three-year plan to build financial capacity and transparency in all 165 members, with training and the establishment of new accounting systems.
Frank Boomers, the Programme Coordinator, says keeping a tight rein on funds will benefit everyone, from donors to beneficiaries. “If we as the Church continue to consider financial management as a secular task and secondary to the sacred work of the Church we will lose our relevance. We need to be seen to be very trustworthy with scarce resources to receive the money necessary to carry out our mission,” he said.
Staff at the workshop from countries like Australia, Tonga, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and also the newest member of the confederation, Samoa, said they were looking forward to working on the programme. They will strengthen their financial management skills and contribute to the development of standards for the whole family of Caritas members.