Lorelei R. Johns, C.A – Accounting services to not-for-profit organizations

Eyes are the window of the soul,  this is especially true of horses.

 

2013 Holiday Season Greeting

“I’ll be there with bells on…”

As the days pass and Christmas comes closer, I try to take time each day to enjoy the season.  For me – it’s the simple things; the smell of pine, the shiny iridescent quality of a snowflake and the sound of bells.  

In particular, I have loved the sound of sleigh bells since I was a child. And now that I have a horse friend, it’s even more special.  And of course, my horse Red is one of the colours of the season. 

This leads me to the question – where does the phrase “I’ll be there with bells on” come from?  According to www.phrases.org.uk there are several meanings. 

I believe the one most suitable for the holiday season is:

 

“Bells that were added decoratively to the harnesses of horses

in parades and especially in circuses or other gala circumstances,

as depicted on old Christmas cards and the like.  Someone coming

to a party ‘with bells on’ wasn’t just coming, he was planning to

come in with a flourish to boost the festive spirit.”

 

So, in conclusion, enjoy the holiday season in warmth with your cherished ones and bring the festive spirit everywhere you go.  To all my family, friends, blog followers, and clients – a very special thank you for supporting my entrepreneurial spirit.  And remember to listen for those bells…Red and I may

be just around the corner arriving with a flourish.

 

Lorelei and Red

 

Fall 2013 Message – SKY Magazine

MY MUSE:

His is a world not known to many, but revered by all.  He symbolizes freedom to some, to others strength and power.  He is the embodiment of nobility, grace and beauty.  I am mesmerized by his beauty, as I stand in admiration and respect of his equine essence.  His body muscular, yet fragile, has for centuries carried civilizations into times of war and peace, from captivity to freedom, from darkness to light.  His eyes are soulful, as if to tell the stories of his herd, past and present.  He is Red, and he is magnificent.

Since joining the entrepreneurial world in search of the freedom to live and work in my own vision, Red has been my muse, my teacher and my friend.  He inspires me to do good things and help others who would do the same.  He inspires me to connect to the community in a way that makes a difference.

And so I commit myself to helping non-profits and charitable organizations, who like Red, have a purpose to deliver people to freedom, to help others live a life of dignity and grace.  I ask that you look to the community and ask how you can help by getting involved in charitable organizations and non-profits.  If you see a need, start an organization that can fill that need.  I would love to help you help others find their freedom and live well.

Be sure to click on the link provided.  Lynn Armstrong, publisher of SKY Magazine, has written a lovely blog about Red and I, featuring additional photos from the fall photo shoot.

 

Happy “Audit” Trails,

Lorelei & Red

(more…)

Summer 2013 Message – SKY Magazine

Life is about making memories with those who enrich our lives and help us to accomplish our goals.  I enjoy working with non-profits as their Chartered Accountant.  Together, we have travelled the journey of accounting, auditing, assurance and governance.

Life is a balance of doing the things I love to do and spending time with my friends and family who feeds my soul.  My family continues to inspire my way ahead, as does my friend Red, a 5 year-old 590 kilogram gelding who, at times, challenges me and teaches me about building relationships and being the kind of person that I aspire to be.

Since Red and I began this journey together, we have learned from each other.  There have been days when, despite my best intentions to spend time with Red, other things got in the way, like the weather and other commitments.  When Red and I are able to spend time together, I learn that having a mutually successful relationship takes time, energy, and sacrifice.

It’s summer time, and I am looking forward to hitting the trail with my trusty steed Red.  We will build some memories and learn from each other, no doubt.  I hope you are able to spend some time under the sun with those who inspire the way ahead.

 

Happy “Audit” Trails,

Lorelei & Red

Winter 2012 Issue – SKY Magazine

My horse Red inspires me.  He is a 5 year-old, 590 kilogram gelding who at times, challenges my leadership, especially when we disagree on things like direction and strategy.  He wants to zig, when I am thinking zag.  He wants to gallop when I am in the mood for a slow walk.  At first, I was intimidated by his size, power and stature.  The more time I spent with him, the more I began to understand what it means when he flicks his ear, swishes his tail or stomps his foot.  We have developed a trust and a respect as a result.

Off the pasture, I work with non-profits navigating requirements through accounting, auditing, assurance services, and governance expertise.  As we move into the Audit season, emotions can ride high.  Just like my relationship with Red, I have found that respectful, two-way communication and good process is the key to working together.

Standards are constantly changing like the wind.  Audit planning has changed significantly since the new Canadian Auditing Standards (CAS) became effective for fiscal years ending on or after December 14, 2010.  One of the most important changes is that communication between the auditor, management, audit committee, and the board of directors is now mandatory.

I recommend a face-to-face meeting with the board of directors to provide a smoother and happier audit trail.  Just as Red and I have discovered, direct, understandable one-to-one communication is the foundation of a strong relationship.

Here are some helpful tips to creating a happy audit trail.

  • Establish an audit plan that outlines the scope of the audit.
  • Ensure two-way communication is timely and in-line with the requirements.
  • Discuss critical factors one-to-one on a timely basis.
  • Remember your audience.  Your members and banker must feel confident that the statements are fairly presented.  The board and management are looking for an interpretation of financial performance, ideas on how to improve internal controls and advice on any other significant matters.
  • Consult your auditor throughout the year regarding any changes to your industry, organization, business processes, accounting and auditing standards and governance.

Happy “Audit” Trails,

Lorelei & Red

 

Horse Sense Blog – My First Blog

“There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the
horses have most of it.” Anonymous

You are probably wondering what “Horse Sense” has to do with a Chartered
Accountant whose practice is exclusively dedicated to providing audit and
accounting services for non-profit organizations.

Well, “horse sense” is defined in various dictionaries as: common sense;
wisdom; levelheadedness; practical knowledge and good judgement about
ordinary life. Those sound like pretty good attributes to look for in any
person or organization … and it’s what I try to bring to my professional
practice and client relationships.

The term “horse sense” dates back to the American West in the mid-1800s,
where horses were valued partners in farming, hunting and travelling.
That’s recent history for these animal survivors. In their fifty-five million
years on earth, “horse sense” has seen them through ice ages, volcanic
periods, meteor strikes and dinosaurs.

As you’ve no doubt guessed by now, I’m a horse person. I thirst for
knowledge about the physical and emotional health of my noble steed.
Every day I look for ways to communicate more positively and effectively
with a 1,300 pound animal. To work, that communication needs to be
positive, direct, simple and above all honest and sincere.

Those same characteristics are the keys to strong, constructive
professional relationships. I see providing and sharing audit and accounting
knowledge in a common-sense fashion as my way of supporting the non-
profit community … those who are making a difference in our world today.

With “Horse Sense” I hope to provide the non-profit community with valuable
information and the opportunity for two-way communication.

My professional mission is to provide the Executive Directors, Boards of
Directors and Audit Committees of non-profit organizations with “valued
real-world knowledge”. This includes the practical basics of emerging
trends in accounting, auditing, assurance services and governance for non-
profits.

Fiscal requirements and standards for non-profit organizations are
constantly changing and evolving. I pass on what I learn through reading,
courses, seminars, conferences and networking with other industry
professionals in a boiled down, plain English form.

For example, did you know that audit planning has changed significantly
since the new Canadian Auditing Standards (CAS) became effective for
fiscal years ending on or after December 14, 2010? One of the most
important changes for your NPO is that communication between the
auditor, Management, Audit Committee, and Board of Directors is now
mandatory.

The CAS states that “an auditor “shall” communicate, with those charged with
governance (Board of Directors), an overview of the planned scope and timing of
the audit.” While it is sufficient to communicate this overall audit strategy
in writing, I believe a face-to-face meeting with the Board of Directors
provides a smoother and happier audit trail. Direct, understandable one-
to-one communication is the foundation of a strong relationship, whether
between a horse and rider or an organization and its auditor.

The overall audit strategy sets the scope, timing and direction of the audit.
Remember, planning is not a discrete phase of an audit. It is a continual
process that begins after completion of the previous audit and continues
until the completion of the current audit.

The audit strategy provides an opportunity to learn about the “scope” of
your organization’s audit. Scope includes the determination of the overall materiality of the audit, the determination of risks and the related audit
procedures to be performed by the auditor. (Watch for more information on
materiality in an upcoming “Horse Sense” blog.)

Timely, two-way communication between your organization and the auditor
is a requirement throughout the new Canadian Auditing Standards. Audit
planning, audit findings and internal control deficiencies must be presented
to management and the board; at the end of an audit, the auditor must
evaluate the adequacy of two-way communication throughout the process.

While the CAS allows presentation of this information in writing, I believe
these critical factors should always be discussed one-to-one on a timely
basis if communication is to be truly meaningful.

Remember, an audit is equally about the people and the numbers. Your
members and your banker want to feel confident that the statements are
fairly presented. Your Board of Directors and management are looking for
an interpretation of financial performance, ideas on how to improve internal
controls and advice on any other significant matters.

Be sure to consult your auditor throughout the year regarding any changes
to your industry, organization, business processes, accounting and auditing
standards and governance. This communication and sharing of knowledge
is the cornerstone of client service … and the reason behind my blog.

The best way to learn is to keep your stable door open and accessible so
horse sense can walk into your NPO.