While the 2013 Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT)—held July 16–20—attained record-breaking attendance of more than 5,000 young people, those numbers don’t tell the full story. The event resulted in a financial loss, even with revenues higher than budgeted. 

An internal staff review of the causes was initiated in early 2014. Later, in April, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s Audit Committee directed the agency’s Internal Audit Department to perform an Internal Audit Review and report back with the results. 

According to the Audit Committee’s Sept. 4 minutes, the Internal Audit Department’s report showed actual expenditures for the 2013 Youth Triennium exceeded the original approved event budget of $2,050,813 by a total of $598,901. (The total Presbyterian Mission Agency budget for 2013 was $85 million.) With increased revenue from greater than expected attendance, there was a net deficit of $287,213 for the event. The report was then referred to the Legal/Risk Management Services Office to work with the Internal Audit Department “to develop specific proposed changes to contracts and procedures for the upcoming [2016] Triennium.” 

A report has just been published by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s Audit Committee following their conference call on Jan. 26. 

The staff planning the 2016 PYT has been working diligently to address the specific issues identified in the audit, some of which contributed to the net loss for the event. 

Presbyterian Mission contracted with a financial consultant in October 2014 to help set up systems within the Evangelism & Church Growth ministry area, including ones that will ensure compliance with the policies mentioned in the report of the Audit Committee. 

“Presbyterian Youth Triennium was a life-changing experience for more than 5,000 young people,” said Linda Valentine, Presbyterian Mission Agency’s executive director. “We are grateful for the extraordinary, faithful, creative, and logistical efforts of staff and scores of volunteers that make it so. At the same time, adhering to budgets, plans, and financial controls is an important responsibility. Several new measures for stronger financial oversight, management, and overall accountability are already in place, and others will be implemented to ensure the future programmatic and financial health of the 2016 and future Trienniums.” 

Some of these measures include the use of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in-house registration and accounting systems rather than outsourcing conference-planning services. Contracts will be in place for all external work completed. Presbyterian Mission staff members will work through the agency’s Information Technology office for all computer purchasing. 

“We will ensure compliance with all policies regarding hiring and contracts, and financial results will be tracked much more closely, effective immediately,” Valentine said.