Metropolis of Chicago Begins Full Review of Finances

The National Herald Archive

His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael officiated Pascha morning services at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Parish in Chicago. Photo by John Ackerman

CHICAGO, IL – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago announced today the retaining of the independent public accounting firm of Michael Silver to conduct a certified audit of the Metropolis’s financial statements for the past three calendar years.

Commencing immediately, the audit will be overseen by the Metropolis Council Audit Committee, composed of Theo Coulis, Nick Boosalis and Michael Laudizio, Sr., and is part of the broader strategic planning process initiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael.

“The Church’s clergy and laity, especially those in leadership positions, are called to be lifelong servants of Christ. This includes properly investing, administering and distributing the Church’s resources,” His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael said. “Beyond being an example of financial best practices, I see this audit as a spiritual exercise to ensure greater transparency and accountability, one that ultimately unites and motivates the faithful of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago to serve both God and neighbor.”

According to the Metropolis, the scope of the audit will:

• Cover Metropolis financial statements for the years ending December 31, 2015, December 31, 2016, and December 31, 2017, • Evaluate Metropolis financial management practices, controls, and provide management recommendations for needed improvements, and • Adhere to U.S. generally accepted auditing standards to assess Metropolis financial practices and processes.

“When we began the strategic planning process in the spring, we knew that a full financial accounting of assets and liabilities was essential. When complete, the audit will help the Metropolis establish a baseline for its work, which ultimately will help our community grow and thrive. This is one of the most important motivations behind the audit,” Michael T. Laudizio, Sr., Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee of the Metropolis Council said.

The audit follows decisions by the Metropolis Council to impose new internal controls over long-term contracts, expenditures, management of funds, compliance and budget approval among other areas. For more information about the audit, parishioners are invited to review FAQs. Additional answers to questions will be provided in this document on an ongoing basis throughout the audit process.

About the Greek Orthodox Metropolis Tracing its roots back to 1923, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis is the diocese of Greek Orthodox faithful in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin as well as northern Indiana and southeastern Missouri, consisting of 58 parishes and two monastic communities. The Metropolis is one of nine Metropolises in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael. The central offices of the Metropolis are located in Chicago, Illinois.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Metropolis conducting this audit now?

The financial audit is being conducted at the request of His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael. A certified audit is necessary to improve transparency in Metropolis operations and enhance confidence among stewards and parishioners that Church funds are administered properly. The Metropolis believes an audit helps ensure best practices in corporate governance, which, in the long run, will help the Metropolis grow. Moreover, the strategic planning process, currently being undertaking by the Metropolis, also calls for a full accounting of assets and liabilities.

How was the accounting firm selected?

After monies for the audit were approved and allocated by the Metropolis Council, a Request for Proposal was issued to several accounting firms. After a rigorous selection process overseen by the Finance Committee of the Metropolis Council, MichaelSilver was chosen due to its extensive non-profit experience, capabilities, and competitive pricing. How does the Metropolis plan to address potential discrepancies, should any be discovered? The Metropolis will not speculate in any possible outcome of the audit and believes doing so would bias the process. We will address any issues that arise from the audit only once all facts are collected, processed, and understood.

Has the Metropolis conducted an audit in the past?

No, this will be first certified financial audit of the Metropolis.

Who will oversee the audit?

As per Section 6, Article 12 of the Archdiocesan Regulations, a standing Audit Committee of the Metropolis Council has been established and will oversee the audit. Members include: Theo Coulis (chair), Nick Boosalis and Michael Laudizio, Sr., all of whom are certified public accountants. 2 How much will the audit cost? Given that this is the first audit being conducted by the Metropolis, it is likely that an extended time frame and further work will be required. While an initial budget has been allocated, a final cost is not yet known. The Metropolis will publish total, final costs associated with the audit at the conclusion of the process.

When will the audit be completed? As part of the Metropolis’ desire to provide the accounting firm a free hand to conduct a thorough audit, no timeline has been established. The Metropolis Council will communicate audit progress and ultimate completion to our stakeholders, including stewards and parishioners, as appropriate.