This, while at first glance a credible idea, wouldn't work for a number of
- it misunderstands how major accounting firms work. Even if one
accounting group carried out the work, the people doing the work would be
the local accounting firms (eg KPMG Hungary, KPMG UK). These firms would
have different methodologies and practices.
- Some chapters, including WMUK, have a legal responsibility to be
independent. Having someone else report our finances would jeopardise that
- Bigger chapters - and some smaller ones - already have established
reporting procedures and practices, which in some cases are better than the
WMF's systems. It would be extremely difficult to update our systems from
our own, to WMF-led ones.
- There would still be delays and errors in reporting - and the dates
would still change because each country has different tax years (etc).
- Every organisation measures things differently - we all have different
cost centres, nominal codes, departments etc - having the WMF come in and
change them would be very difficult and would run the risk of some
organisations losing accuracy in their reporting (or would run the risk of
having a massively complex system to account for everything). At its
simplest level, definitions of things like "governance" or "office
vary from country to country. For example, in WMUK, we count general
postage of letters as office costs, but items that fall under the Royal
Mail definition of parcels instead come out of the budget for a project. If
you're to have the same reporting for every country, you need to all be
using the same definition of "parcel"!
- Finally, every organisation's goals are different - and indeed our
funding streams are different. WMUK is mostly funded from outside the
movement, and as a result we are able to use our resources to fund
non-Wikimedia projects - for example, OpenStreetMap, or OpenCorporates, if
we wanted to. We can even fund political lobbying to a fair degree, which
is something the WMF can't do as easily. This means that the WMF has no
interest in counting that expenditure, because lobbying for open knowledge
is not a WMF goal in the same way that it's a WMUK goal. It would be funded
without using WMF funds, and would be spent on non-WMF goals.
Very complicated, and I'm sorry to write such a long email, but
standardising financial systems across continents is a very difficult thing
All the best,
0207 065 0992
Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and
Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513. Registered
Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.
United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a global Wikimedia
movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the Wikimedia Foundation (who
operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
*Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal control
over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
On 21 November 2014 11:38, Balázs Viczián <balazs.viczian(a)wikimedia.hu>
Hmm...I would love to *outsource *financial reporting
to WMF together with
a couple of other tasks as well (program evaluation for example).
Imo the best would be to contact our (that is WM Hungary) accountant
directly so they can get the data organized as wanted, on time, with
explanations requested, etc.
In long terms I would love to see a global contract with KPMG (as WMF is
using them, or another of the big four) where KPMG (or an alternative firm
if not present there) would take this task over from local chapters.
That would ensure that the data is collected the exact same way (with same
definitions and methodology used) in every single country, without delays
or errors in reporting and on the best dates for WMF.
Not to mention that it would decrease the workload of the chapters what I
think barely if ever happened yet.
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: