Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett was mistaken in his recent newsletter. As a two-term treasurer for the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, here is the truth.
The arts center did audits for eight years, from its 1996 opening through 2003.
The arts center accountants are Robinson Grant & Co. They are recognized experts in non-profit accounting, which has separate federal regulations.
In 2004, Robinson Grant recommended the arts center consider an Accountants’ Review, since its financial controls were so strong, rather than the costly audit. The board agreed and continues to approve this action each year.
An audit is not required by most funders — however the IRS Form 990 is, particularly for accommodations tax grants. And, if otherwise requested, an Accountants’ Review has been accepted.
All of our federal, regional, state, Lowcountry and local grantors have accepted the Accountants’ Review with the exception of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.
Furthermore, an Accountants’ Review is acceptable to our lenders.
Arts center trustee boards have always been heavily weighted with career bankers, investment managers and financial professionals.
In total, the arts center’s finance committee, executive committee and full board review monthly year-to-date financials at minimum 16 times annually.
The arts center would never be so irreverent to its funders, donors, patrons and the community, in not having annual financial reports by an outside certified public accounting firm.
To say the arts center operates “without financial accountability” because there has “never been a financial audit” is not only wrong, but also irresponsible — and an insult to trustees past and present.
Hilton Head Island