INTERNATIONAL: US trade bodies admit to accounting errors

SAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK: The PR industry's two largest US associations are in financial turmoil.

SAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK: The PR industry's two largest US associations are in financial turmoil.

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) has admitted to 'huge errors' and an 'unbelievably sloppy level of accounting practices' at its most recent board meeting.

Now the PRSA has also admitted losses of more than pounds 450,000 for 2000, despite projections it would break even.

PRSA chairman and CEO Kathy Lewton blamed 'problems with policy, software that doesn't work, and poor judgement calls'.

The troubled body had projected generating pounds 267,000 from its annual convention, she said, but instead made only pounds 29,000.

Compounding that loss, it discovered pounds 69,000 in unpaid bills from 1999 and found it had unexpectedly crossed a tax threshold that year, costing it pounds 93,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest.

In an attempt to cut spending, the PRSA has decided to bring its quarterly publication Strategist in-house. Outside 'professional fees' for the title were more than pounds 100,000 in 1999.

The PRSA's full audited figures will be released in April.

IABC interim president Lou Williams has summed up four key errors that contributed to her organisation's current state: a poor 'unwieldy' board; 'inappropriate' communication; 'lack of financial management'; and 'resources miscalculation'.

Williams also stated that the IABC's highly criticised website - TalkingBusinessNow.com - is too costly.



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