Gospel for Asia's 2014 Audit is Late

Member organizations with of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability with are supposed to file renewal documents each year. When those documents are due depends on when the fiscal year ends.

The renewal information is due by January 31 if your fiscal year ended on April 1 through September 30.
The renewal information is due by July 31 if your fiscal year ended on October 1 through March 31.

Gospel for Asia in the U.S. operates on a calendar year schedule so their renewal was due July 31. As a part of the renewal, an audited financial statement is required. However, I have learned that GFA’s audited statement for 2014 is not complete. Those who inquire about the 2014 audited statement are getting this reply:

Currently, we do not have 2014 finance reports ready yet, as our auditors are in the process of auditing GFA’s 2014 year.

This means that GFA’s renewal is incomplete. However, not to worry, the ECFA gives member organizations an automatic two-month extension.

Financial Statements Policy

Current members should submit financial statements with the Annual Membership Renewal (AMR) by the due date. However, occasionally members are unable to supply the financial statements on a timely basis for a variety of reasons. ECFA will evaluate the reason for the delay, balancing a desire to help an organization through a possibly difficult situation not of its own making, and the necessity of maintaining standards to protect the integrity of ECFA, through the timely submission of information.
Policy

  1. Financial statements.Financial statements should accompany the AMR when it is due. (This provides the member a minimum of four months from the end of their fiscal year end to obtain the required financial statements.)
  2. Two-month extension.If all other AMR materials are submitted on time, an automatic two-month extension to submit the financial statements will be granted.
  3. Additional extensions.Members unable to meet the two-month extended deadline will generally be granted an additional two-month extension if the extension does not exceed 12 months from the end of the fiscal year. A request for this extension must include an explanation of the status of the audit, the reason for the delay, and the expected date of completion.

However, renewals can still be processed and that seal can still be displayed as long as the fees are paid.

Our financial statements are not complete. What should we do? Although your financial statements are due along with your renewal formif they are not available,  complete the renewal form without them (we understand the financial section of the renewal form will be incomplete). You will be asked to provide an approximate date the financials will be available and also to estimate your total cash contribution in order to estimate your membership fee. Once financials are finalized, please forward a copy to ECFA or to href=”mailto:AMR@ecfa.org”>renewal@ecfa.org. We will complete the financial section and refund or invoice for any payment difference. If the financials are complete but the Form 990 is not, please submit the renewal form and financials and send the Form 990 when complete.

Last year, the audited statement was dated June 13, 2014.
Regular readers can probably guess about why the audit is late.
While I appreciate that the ECFA’s audit requirement puts some pressure on an organization to disclose important information, at the same time, I believe the ECFA should flag those organizations which have not turned in the documentation. If donors rely on ECFA, they won’t know that after months of not answering legitimate questions, GFA hasn’t turned in an audited statement of their 2014 finances, even though GFA has had over 7 months to do so.

Gospel for Asia's Auditor Retains Attorney for Some Reason

This is getting interesting.
On Tuesday afternoon, I contacted Bland Garvey, the accounting firm which did Gospel for Asia’s 2013 audit. I wanted to know if BG had been retained to do GFA’s 2014 audit and perhaps learn why the audit is not out yet. As I understand it, GFA has to turn in an audited financial statement by July 31 to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability as a part of the requirements for membership. GFA is a charter member of ECFA. GFA has been referring to the organization’s membership in ECFA as a means of deflecting questions unaccounted for funds and so it is probably important to protect that membership.
When I called BG, I was referred to attorney Gary Kessler. I called and wrote Attorney Kessler with the following questions:

Is Bland Garvey doing the 2014 audit for Gospel for Asia? If not, why not?
If so, will BG correct the misstatements from the 2013 audit that GFA-US only gave money to GFA India and several other GFAs in Asia when in fact GFA-US also gave money to three other NGOs?
The amount of money GFA said they donated to GFA-India is millions more than what GFA-India reported to the Indian govt. Will BG mention this discrepancy?
Last years audit was complete by June 13; this years is much later. If BG is doing the audit then why has this audit been delayed.

He wrote back with the following:

Mr. Throckmorton,
Applicable law prevents a CPA from communicating the information you requested. I advise you to contact Gospel For Asia and obtain the information you seek.
Thank you.
Gary

I wrote back asking for citation of TX law that forbids BG from acknowledging their auditing relationship with GFA and asked if he was representing BG in any litigation. He wrote back to say:

Please contact Gospel for Asia for any information you desire regarding the organization. I will not be responding to any more of your requests.
Thank you.
Gary

And so Mr. Kessler joined a growing list of people from Texas who don’t want to talk to me.
Having looked at the CPA law, I can understand why BG cannot address all of my questions. However, just telling me that they are doing GFA’s audit isn’t as clear cut to me. According to TX law, if BG has told the anyone in the public that GFA is an audit client, then they are not required to withhold information. See this clause:

The provisions contained in subsection (a) of this section do not prohibit the disclosure of information already made public, including information disclosed to others not having a confidential communications relationship with the client or authorized representative of the client.

I already know BG did the 2013 audit so I know there was a relationship. And it is possible that others not now affiliated with GFA know if BG is auditing the books. This should be known soon enough because that audit should be available to the public if GFA wants to remain a member of ECFA. That is, of course, unless ECFA gives GFA a pass. Hopefully, then we will know if GFA corrects the misstatements in the 2013 audit.
What puzzles me is why BG didn’t just tell me that but instead referred me to an attorney who in turn referred me to GFA.