The Role of the Cooperative Accountant

AHC attorney David R. Cook recently spoke to a group of cooperative accountants about the role of accountants in cooperatives’ board meetings.  The presentation focused on the duties of directors, officers, and in-house accountants to the cooperative and to each other.

Accountants and chief financial officers provide essential information to the board.  Without the information provided by accountants, the cooperative could not function as a cooperative, or as a viable business entity.  The board relies heavily on accountants and the information they provide to make informed decisions that benefit the cooperative and its members.

They also help assist the board in complying with its own duties to the cooperative, such as the duty of good faith, due care, loyalty, and compliance.  The board’s ability to make good and informed decisions depends on cooperative accountants providing accurate, relevant, reliable, and timely data.

Accountants, therefore, play a critical role in cooperative operation and are essential to fulfilling the core cooperative principles.

The presentation also focused on duties that accountants (who may or may not be directors or offices) owe to the cooperative.  To illustrate the importance of accountants and their duties, David discussed several important real-life cases in which officers and accountants fulfilled their duties and failed to fulfill their duties.  Finally, he also discussed real-life examples of the particularly important role that accountants play in cooperative operation.

In addition to the presentation, David has also written an article in the upcoming edition of The Cooperative Accountant (a publication by The National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives) which discusses ways to effectively manage capital credits, and the role cooperative accountants play in this process.  As a former auditor and accountant for cooperatives, David is keenly aware of the importance and necessity of cooperative accountants in fulfilling the cooperative’s duties to its members.

Be sure to frequently check the AHC Cooperative Law and Energy Blog for a link to the article when it is published.

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