Awards program promotes Voluntary Sector financial reporting excellence

Posted on May 10, 2010

Deadline for entering is July 15, 2010

TORONTO – At a time when transparency in financial reporting is becoming increasingly important to organizations of all types and sizes, Ontario’s diverse and growing not-for-profit sector must keep up with the trend towards best practices. To help promote financial reporting excellence, the Voluntary Sector Reporting Awards (VSRAs) are back for a third year to promote openness and accountability.

“We need to see continued momentum on behalf of Ontario based not for profits in their reporting to their diverse constituency of clients and funders,” said Steve Salterio, Director of the CA-Queen’s Centre for Governance and coordinator of the competition. New to this year’s competition is a separation of the national and international organizations based in Ontario category into two separate categories.”

In the interest of promoting timely and accurate financial statements in the not-for-profit sector, the VSRA Program was created in 2008 by the CA-Queen’s Centre for Governance, which is a partnership between the Queen’s School of Business and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada LLP has been the sponsor of the program since its inception.

The awards are designed to recognize best practices for financial reporting in the not-for-profit sector and are open to registered charities that produce annual reports in Ontario. Organizations compete in three categories based on revenue size – less than $1 million, from $1 million to $10 million, and more than $10 million – as well as separate categories for national and international not-for-profits with head offices in Ontario.

Last year’s winners in the four categories were:

National or international NPO headquartered in Ontario

  • World Vision Canada

Total revenues over $10 million (tie)

  • Covenant House Toronto
  • United Way of Greater Toronto

Total revenues over $1 million but below $10 million

  • The Lifesaving Society (Ontario Branch)

Total Revenues of under $1 million

  • Sarnia Lambton Rebound – A Program for Youth

Covenant House Toronto, the United Way of Greater Toronto and Sarnia Lambton Rebound were all repeat winners having won their category in 2008 as well.

The winners in each category will receive $5,000. Charities that are organizations whose principal activities are run by or for municipalities, universities, hospitals or school boards are not eligible for this year’s competition as they have other means of demonstrating their accountability to their stakeholders.

Nominated organizations are asked to submit their annual reports, including audited financial statements. Awards will be given to those reports demonstrating the highest levels of accountability and transparency and displaying highly effective communication with beneficiaries, donors and other stakeholders. All entrants will be provided with a detailed technical screeners’ completed checklist and a summary of the judges’ comments about what they saw as the best features of the financial reports they judged so the organizations can see where they met expectations or fell short. “Continuous improvement in reporting is the goal of the VSRA” said Salterio. “Hence, we welcome multi-year submissions so that organizations can use that feedback to improve future annual reports.”

Nominations are being accepted for the awards at the CA-Queen’s Centre for Governance website, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ website and at the ICAO website The deadline for applying is July 15, 2010 and the winners will be announced in November 2010 at an event in Toronto.

“Many volunteers and donors generously donate time and money to a variety of worthy charitable causes,” said Brian Leader, the Institute’s Vice-President of Learning. “By nominating a not-for-profit for its financial reporting practices, people have a chance to reward and recognize a deserving organization. While the $5,000 prize that comes with the award is sure to be welcome, demonstrating that a charity’s financial statements stand out from the crowd may also attract more donors and volunteers.”

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For more information, please contact:

Lisa Brophy-Gervais
Queen’s School of Business
Perry Jensen
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario
416-969-4271 or 1-800-387-0735 ext. 271
David Rowney

About the CA-Queen’s Centre for Governance at Queen’s School of Business:

CA-Queen’s Centre for Governance goal is to raise the bar on Canadian governance research with respect to transparency and financial accountability and convey that research’s implications to academics, students and the public at large.  Situated at Queen’s School of Business , one of the world’s premier business schools, the Centre conducts cutting edge basic and applied research on governance dealing with such issues as fraud prevention and detection and improving the quality of Canadian securities’ regulation. The Centre’s premiere not for profit program is the Voluntary Sector Reporting Awards that rewards voluntary sector organizations for transparent Annual Reports and financial accountability. 

About the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario is the qualifying and regulatory body of Ontario’s 33,000 Chartered Accountants and 5,000 CA students. Since 1879, the Institute has protected the public interest through the CA profession’s internationally recognized standards of qualification and the enforcement of its rules of professional conduct. Ontario CAs contribute greatly to international and domestic investor confidence in the soundness of the Ontario and Canadian economies.  

About PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP:

PricewaterhouseCoopers provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 163,000 people in 151 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and its related entities have more than 5,300 partners and staff in offices across the country.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.