Charity groups should be more transparent

By Hua Ge
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail People's Daily, December 14, 2012
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It is reported that the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children (CCAFC) has issued an apology on its official website, claiming that the amount of 475 million is mistakenly listed as 4.75 billion in the foundation's aggregate accrual for short-term wealth management due to mistakes of financial staff. CCAFC admitted that it is a profound lesson, whose reasons are still unknown.

Obviously, the explanation cannot satisfy the public since the account should be strictly audited before disclosure. Why did the financial staff who input the original data, the leaders in charge of verification and the accounting firm responsible for auditing unanimously fail to detect the mistake? Is it an occasional error?

Actually, it is not the first time that the CCAFC financial account has been suspected. In October, some netizens doubted that nine members of CCAFC used the donation for business trip overseas while the CCAFC explained that the expenditure was from short-term wealth management. The serious accounting mistake this time is also related to short-term wealth management. It seems that wealth management is a mess in income and expense.

Any problem related to charity organizations are likely to lead to collapse of the credibility. The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) came under fire in 2011 after a young woman calling herself "Guo Meimei" claimed in micro-blog posts that she worked for an organization under the RCSC and detailed her lavish lifestyle. After that, reform has been carried out in RCSC. For example, it has recently set up a special committee composed of 16 members to supervise the collection and management of donations, established thorough process of management and made constant improvement on transparency, which win wide recognition from the society.

Other charity organizations should learn from RCSC. Of course, for RCSC there is a lot of room for improvement. For example, it may open wider to the public in the future and invite enthusiastic professionals from all walks of life to join the special committee.

Official charitable funds should further improve the management transparency and establish clear account disclosure system and accessible information platform convenient for people to look up, which is the pillar of long-term vitality of charity funds.


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