RSU AUDIT: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

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By Shirley Lin

A 20-year audit of the Ryerson Students’ Union cannot be completed in less than two weeks, says an auditor from one of the world’s top accounting firms.

“That’s impossible. We don’t have enough resources right now,” said Sam Persaud, associate partner of Deloitte & Touche in Toronto. Ryerson University recently introduced the RSU to Deloitte as a possible candidate to conduct their massive audit.

Persaud says that a year’s audit of an RSU-sized institution needs at least a week plus fieldwork and finalizing statements.

“It looks like they need a forensic audit of some kind…It seems like they don’t know what their scope is and they need to figure that out.”

On Jan. 15, the motion was passed by the board of directors to have a third party conduct the audit due to allegations of fraud and mismanaged funds. The report is due on Feb.6 — right before the RSU elections — and will be paid for by the university.

But it’s unclear how much Ryerson will dole out to cover the audit’s costs. President Sheldon Levy said limited funds will be available from the operating budget.

“There is no blank cheque on this,” said Levy.

Levy also made it clear that the results will be handed directly back to the board of directors and not be reviewed by the university.

“I look at this as RSU trying to do a review of itself, and I just don’t want to be a part of it other than pay a pretty modest bill,” said Levy. His ballpark figure puts Ryerson’s contribution at $100,000.

Dana Houssein, a faculty director for community services, originally moved the motion. An audit review committee, also created at the board meeting, consists of Houssein, and board members Osman Hamid, Chandan Sharma and Abdullah Snobar.

Houssein, says this audit will create more transparency within the RSU.

“This review will put our minds to ease that RSU is being run properly.” she said.

As of now, there are no cost estimates to this grand-scale audit, but Snobar said that the audit will go as far back as needed and will prioritize their items. Up on their list are the elections process, the health and dental funds, and finances.

They will choose between firms Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, or PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out the audit. Although the committee doesn’t have the numbers, Snobar, business faculty director, isn’t too concerned about the fees.

“The cost, I have no idea. But whatever the cost is, it’s worth every penny,” said Snobar.

Last year’s audit cost about $11,000 according to Toby Whitfield, vice-president finances and services. He is wary of this move.

“There are nine business days left. It’s going to take more than two years a day to complete this audit…It’s going to be very expensive.” Last year’s audit, which covered the year until April showed no mismanagement of funds.

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