Background of the Problem 

             The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) primarily represents the highest position level  

of fiscal leadership and financial management service in the business sector. As a  

member of the organization’s executive leadership and management team, the CFO  

currently occupies a very crucial and viable position in today’s global business society.  

            However, this present level of CFO’s recognition has not always been identifiable  

or appreciated by non-for-profit and profit organizations. May (2001) stated that “CFOs  

are some of the most misunderstood people on the planet. Somewhere along the way,  

they got mistaken for accountants” (p. 12). As the position of the CFO continues to  

evolve, so will the expectations of the position and the need to communicate those  

expectations in the organization. 

      “Twenty years ago, many CFOs were expected to know about finance and be able 

to report financial results accurately and in a timely way.  Now they have to understand  

the business intimately and be an equal partner with the business manager” (Goldstein,  

1997, p. 46-51). Randall (1999) notes that new challenges in finance will require that CFOs spend “less time…on financial tabulations and reporting, and more time adding value to the organization through analysis” (p. 30-32).

          The role of the CFO has also developed in response to the changes in today’s global society such as, but not limited to, large corporate business expansions and failures, changes in human lifestyles and living conditions, and the demand for greater accountability and services from governments and corporate entities. Ewing (1998) recognized “that the role of the CFO has itself changed.  The focus has shifted from the traditional control and compliance to business advocacy to providing value-added services. Today’s finance leader must be fully involved in the business, have a keen understanding of its costs and strategic drivers and an obsession with servicing the rest of the organization. Rather than being enforcers of uncertain and complex rules, they now share financial data and must help their internal customers understand procedure and financial processes.” (p. 22-26)

      The position of treasurer in the local conference, which serves as a territorial legal business entity in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church organization, operates in a similar fashion to the position of the chief financial officer in other institutions of profit and non-profit operations.  Just as CFOs in academia, business, health care, and other industries are responsible for the financial leadership in their respective industries, the SDA North American Division Working Policy (2001-2002) states “the treasurer shall be responsible for providing financial leadership to the organization” (p. 143-144).

           However, differences exist in the how the expected role, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer are defined and communicated by the SDA organization in comparison to other business entities as it relates to “financial leadership”.  The SDA North American Division Working Policy identifies “financial leadership” more in terms of accounting and managerial functions such as “receiving, safeguarding and distribution all funds in harmony with the actions of the executive committee…remitting all funds to the union/division/General Conference in harmony with the Division Policy…providing financial information to the president and to the executive committee…furnishing copies of the financial statements to the union officers” (p. 143-144). However, “financial leadership” in this changing business and global society, as the literature reflects, is defined more in terms of partnering, decision-making, visioning, modeling, strategizing, directing, leading and managing change, delegation, mentoring, building and establishing relationships, creating and adding value to their organization. Less emphasis is being placed on the CFO performing the traditional accounting, managing, and reporting as reflected in the North American Division Working Policy statements.

            While there are “many roles of today’s corporate treasurer” (Financial Executive, 1993, p. 18-24), both CFOs and treasurers occupy “active roles in their company’s success” (Jorgensen, 2001, p. 28), handle “all financial organization tasks” (Financial Executive, 2001, p.72), and serve as “a key decision-maker in crafting the company’s strategy” (Barton, 2001, p.48-52). One of the essential roles that all financial leaders share is the role of “protector of the company’s assets” (CFO, 1999, p. 20) regardless of the industry type, organizational mission, or revenues. 

      In some conferences and related institutions in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

organization, the treasurer may carry the title of chief financial officer as the conference

treasurer thereby functioning under both titles while performing the same role and

responsibilities as the financial administrator and leader in the organization.  This

occurrence is due primarily because conferences have evolved and expanded their services in some areas comparable to those in the corporate arena such as the operations of credit unions, housing complexes, community and inner city entities, and recreational facilities.

      Treasurers in local conferences serve as members of the administrative leadership team while functioning as officers of the conference and association top management team. Similar to other organizations, some vital responsibilities of the position include the management of financial operations in the conference, “preparing for and executing communications strategies” (Heffes, 2001, p. 26-27), “analyzing the financial performance of various business units” (Copeland, 2001, p.28-32), and working “closely with legal counsel to ensure legal and regulatory compliance” (Calnan, 2001, p. 22-26). 

      “Twenty-first century businesses worldwide operate in environments where forces such as globalization, technology, the Internet, deregulation, restructuring and changing customer expectations – are creating much uncertainty and prodigious risks” (Barton, Shenkir, & Walker, 2001, p. 48-52). In managing their organizational environments, treasurers perform similar tasks to CFOs in the corporate sector as they consult with their presidents and CEOs regarding financial matters and other organizational concerns, and provide financial information and reports to the executive board on matters affecting the total operations of their organizational entities.

      In recent times, since 2001, the position of the treasurer and chief financial officer has been targeted because of the financial collapse of one of the largest corporations in America as the result of its accounting and financial reporting practices.  Yung (2002) states that “corporate America is taking a hard look at the recruitment and oversight of chief financial officers since the collapse of Enron Corporation was linked to the man who steered its accounting practices” (p. 1H). It was stated that “Enron manipulated the reserves to help it report steady profit growth to Wall Street and credit rating agencies” (Barboza, 2002, p. 7A).  Fink (2002) stated “the reworking of Enron’s financials eventually led to the company’s bankruptcy” (p. 17).

      In order for local conferences to continue to efficiently operate in the current periods of intense changes in ethical accounting and reporting practices resulting from Enron and other business collapses, treasurers and CFOs in these entities, like those in the corporate segment, will need to continue to adapt to changes in the global business and economic society as reflected in some of the studies referenced in the literature. Krell (2002) states that “CFO’s who turn their backs on problems are more likely to repeat lessons learned at Enron” (p. 29).

       Studies conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (1999) and Buckingham & Coffman (1999) reflect the growing importance of worker “relationships” in achieving organizational success.  Also essential is for organizational leaders to clearly articulate and communicate their CFO’s expected “evolving role” (Moriarty, 2001, p.36, 38), and identify their responsibilities that are stated to be “increasingly fluid” (Corporate Finance, 2000, p. 17).  Dresner (2000) states that the “responsibilities of private and public CFOs don’t seem all that different” (p. 33-36). Congruence with the expectations and perceptions of presidents, treasurers, and executive board members must also be established pertaining to the position of the treasurer.

      The position of the treasurer serving as the organization’s chief financial officer in the world-wide organizational structure of leadership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to expand in organizational influence, importance, and vitality.  Some key contributing factors for this change include explosions in membership growth

resulting in re-engineering in organizational designs, re-focus of mission and purpose,

accumulation of assets in properties, plants, and equipment, and the allocation and

management of fiscal resources.  Visible establishment of the Seventh-day Adventist

Church organization is reflected in its diversity of institutions: churches, schools, colleges and universities, health care institutions, and publishing associations. 

      The emerging role and responsibilities of treasurers in organizations are not unique to the Seventh-day Adventist Church Organization.  An example of this is reflected in a research study conducted by Farrell (1997) on the Baptist Sunday School Board. Ferrell (1997) stated:

         As the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Baptist Sunday School Board,           

         Sullivan had a tremendous responsibility to the churches of the Southern

         Baptist Convention.  Between the years 1891, when the Sunday School Board

         was founded, and 1953, when Sullivan took office as Executive Secretary-

         Treasurer, the Sunday School Board had overcome considerable adversity to

         become the primary publishing operation of the denomination. As an agency of

         the Southern Baptist Convention, the Sunday School Board was accountable to

         the Convention for its service to the churches.  At least as far back as 1923

               the Convention sought to define and coordinate the responsibilities of its    

               agencies, including the Sunday School Board.  During Sullivan’s term as

               Executive Secretary-Treasurer, the responsibilities assigned to the Sunday   

               School Board by the Southern Baptist Convention came into ever-clearer     

               focus. (p. 27)  

       The recognition of Sullivan’s role as Secretary-Treasurer in Farrell’s study reflects the possibility of the position of the treasurer in the organization.  Sullivan encountered a number of challenges during his leadership tenure that required a plethora of skills as a visionary, financial officer, administrator, communicator, change agent, and human resource manager to respond to the difficult times his organization faced.  Some of the critical issues that Sullivan had to deal with, according to Farrell (1997), included a “decline in evangelistic growth” (p. 140), “increasingly diverse constituency” (p. 142), theological issues” (p. 143), “polarization among Southern Baptists on the race issue” (p. 159), “increase in geographical mobility for the churches…as one… reason for the decline in the evangelistic growth and literature sales  of the Sunday School Board” (p. 161), and prevailing social issues such as “the Vietnam War” (p. 165) and “youth counter-culture movement…known as the hippie movement” (p. 166).

            Early in leadership, Sullivan was able to accomplish significant changes in the organization using a strategy that many organizations are presently using to downsize or reorganize their companies.  Ferrell (1997) stated “in order to maximize the benefits of administrative reorganization, Sullivan led the Sunday School Board to contract Booz, Allen, and Hamilton of Chicago, one of the top management consulting firms in America.  The trustees of the Sunday School Board implemented most of the recommendations given by the firm,” (p. 129) and Sullivan “brought several key players into the organizational structure” (p. 130).

            According to Mermigas (2001), financial leaders “have to think about the implication of what they are putting into place and what limits they may impose down the road” (p.16-17) to ensure the financial health and vitality of their organizations. One of the most important aspects and expectations of the chief financial officer’s position is “to support and further the success of the CEO” (Millman, 2001, P. 24-26), “be available to the board” (Gray, 1998, p. 48-49), and equally important is exemplifying “credibility” (Milligan, 2001, P. 28-32).  

          As governmental regulations affecting the CFO and business financial reporting  

continue to increase due to large business failures such as Enron and WorldCom, the role  

of the CFO will continue to evolve and change in organizations. A lack of understanding  

by the CEO and executive board pertaining to federal regulations and changes in  

financial accounting standards impacting the CFO may lead to conflicts in work  

expectations, relationships, job dissatisfaction, and eventual separation if expectations are  

not clarified. 

               Doody (2001) stated: 

         A recent comment made by a health system CEO about his organization’s 

               search for a senior finance executive demonstrates perhaps the most sweeping

               change in the role of a CFO: “We want someone who has a top-line mentality.

               It’s not enough anymore to focus on the bottom line. New or expanded sources

               of revenue are essential to our survival and growth, and our new CFO must have

               that perspective.” The CFO who emphasizes revenue growth can infuse energy

               into a flagging organization by ensuring that there is sufficient funding to

               maintain stability and promote development. (p. 90)  

      According to Bruce (2002) “the role of the chief financial officer (CFO) has changed dramatically in recent years, and the metamorphosis is set to continue as the finance function increases in importance” (p. 54). The evolving roles of the chief financial officer include but are not limited to functioning as a financial leader, business partner, strategic partner, problem-solver, visionary, value adder, spokesperson, risk manager, consultant, technology assistant, legality representative and analyzer.  D’Arcy (1996) states “there is a new breed of CFOs that focuses on showing internal clients that finance can add value. This new CFO is breaking the perceptual barrier that the finance function is simply accounting” (p. 60-63).

           Yung (2002) stated that “a number of CFOs have also taken on the task of formulating corporate strategy and direction” (p. 1H). In analyzing the evolving role of the CFO, D’Arcy (1996) states the “best-practiced CFOs have a renewed vision about the role of finance. They are reinventing themselves to add value to the organization and are fulfilling the needs articulated by the CEO” (p. 60-63). Another key business leader stated in an article that “the role of CFO change over the years within various industries to one of supporting the CEO” (Financial Executive, 2001, p.30-36).

            Along with the “changing roles” and “expectations” of CFOs is the need for CEOs, presidents, and organizational leaders to establish and articulate “how” the CFO’s role is defined. According to the Financial Executive (2001) as the position of the CFO continues to evolve, it is vital to the organization’s success that the CEO, president, and CFO have an “understanding of the goals of each or the other” (p. 49-50), and how the “CFO who is joining a company should sit down with the CEO and the president to discuss how the CFO role should be managed” (p. 49-50).

            In a recent study (First, Break All The Rules) by Buckingham & Coffman (1999),  

it became clear that an understanding of expectations at work is critical for satisfaction  

and retention in the work environment. Ward & Armor (1992) stated that “in the future,  

CFOs will delegate many traditional responsibilities, especially daily financial  

operations, and focus on strategic information planning, analysis of operations and plans,  

design of administrative and information infrastructure, and relations with outside  

constituencies such as investors, government, and the general public” (p. 79-88). 

      While it has been known that “CFOs have traditionally held a pivotal position in

corporate America” (Yung, 2002, p. 1H) as financial leaders, their position in local SDA conference organizations is defined more in terms of financial  managers in the governing NAD policy with less clarification  of role expectations and how those role expectations are communicated by CEO, president, and executive board.   

Statement of the Problem 

            Clearly defined expectations are critical in job satisfaction (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999). In a climate of increased globalization and technology, job expectations for CFO’s are changing from an emphasis on accounting to strategic business partners. Changing expectations of CFOs have resulted in changing skills needed to handle the new challenges encountered in this global society. The Seventh-day Adventist system continues to function with policy statements emphasizing accounting, managing, and reporting of funds. The local conference treasurer in the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization does not have clearly defined roles, responsibilities, or expectations of relationships with the conference president and executive board members. Yet there appears to be “tacit” knowledge about how treasurers should do their work. These expectations may be different for the president and board members and that further confounds the issue of expectations and how these changing expectations are communicated.  

Purpose of the Study


      The purpose of this study is to describe the expectations and perceived roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer from the perspectives of the treasurers, presidents, and executive board members in Seventh-day Adventist local conferences.


Research Questions 

      In order to carry out the purpose of this study answers will be sought for the 

following questions concerning the position of the treasurer. 

       1a. What are the expected roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer  

             as perceived by treasurers, presidents, and executive board members? 

       1b. Is there congruence between the expectations and perceptions of the  

             treasurers, presidents, and executive board members as it relates to the roles,  

             responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer? 

       2a. How are the expected roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer 

             as perceived by treasurers, presidents, and executive board members  


       2b. Is there congruence between the perceptions of the treasurers, presidents, and  

             executive board members as it relates to how the expected roles, 

             responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer are communicated?  

    Rationale for the Study 

      This study will be conducted to respond to the problems involving the need for clearly defined expectations of one of the most critical and important positions in the local conferences of the Seventh-day Adventist church organization, the treasurer as the chief financial officer. With assets in the billions of dollars being managed by conference treasurers, a clearer understanding of the treasurer’s role, responsibilities, and relationships to the president and executive board will continue to be needed because of the constant changes in business and governmental expectations that influence and regulate non-profit and profit entities which may have a significant impact on the well-being of the organization.

           Specific guidelines from conferences, in conjunction with the managerial policies specified in the NAD and GC policies for treasurers, are needed along with minimal qualifications, job descriptions, and job specifications for the position of the treasurer to ensure that the most qualified person is selected to occupy the position, and that expectations of the position are understood and realized by the CEO and executive board. Global business practices and societal expectations are constantly changing as evidenced in the evolving roles, responsibilities, and relationships of CFOs. 

           The development and utilization of materials identifying the “expectations” of role, responsibilities and relationships pertaining to the position of the treasurer will provide the leaders of the organizations with essential information to maximize performance and organizational efficiency.  Organizations representing all sectors of services should also be encouraged to make the necessary adjustments with the changing trends of globalization to remain competitive and viable in its services. This is inclusive of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a religious organization.      

      “When recruiting a CFO a company should be clear about what kind of candidate

it wants” (Corporate Finance, 1999, p. 13). It is therefore very important that the role,

responsibilities, and relationships of this position be clearly understood by the conference

president and executive board in order to ensure that the right individual occupies the

position and that the proper level of respect for the position is obtained and maintained

professionally throughout the organization. Essential qualifications and traits of a treasurer will also be identified by the participants in study as it relates to what type of individual is expected to serve as a conference treasurer. 

            This study is formulated to do what McMillan and Schumacher (2001) states “to describe and explore and to describe and explain” (p. 397) how the position of the treasurer functions in the areas of the roles, responsibilities, and relationships.  

Importance of the Study 

      This study is important because it will provide in-depth analysis, awareness, and

information into the expectations of the position of the local conference treasurer in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and how those expectations are communicated. This study is also important because the treasurers’ roles, as CFO, are changing – as the roles of CFOs appear to be changing in the corporate world. Training and development resources will be created that define and document the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of conference treasurers in the North American Division from a practicum perspective utilizing the participant’s “educational theory”, “knowledge”, and “practice” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001, p. 99). 

      The importance of the position of the treasurer in managing billions of dollars in

organizational assets impacting lives of millions of members and centuries of work as a church can not be over emphasized.  Seabrook (1996) states “a close relationship and regular communication with financial management are required to prevent undesired effects on the financial statements” (p. 9).

      This study will also serve as a valuable reference to educate individuals aspiring to the position of the treasurer. Organizational presidents and executive boards entrusted with the responsibility of assigning or electing a treasurer will greatly benefit by acquiring a greater understanding of the role, responsibilities, and relationships of that position. This is congruent with Sternberg (1981) statement that “implications of the study have to do with how the findings of one’s dissertation might be used practically” (p. 97).  

Definition of Terms 

      For the purpose of this study the following definitions were formulated: 

  1. Local Conference: Consists of members organized into churches defined by

          geographic boundaries of a given state (s) or province. The conference provides  

          administrative leadership, direction, and support in addition to other services to  

          those churches in its boundaries, and represents the legal body of their existence  

          and purpose. 

    1. Union: Consists of local conferences defined by geographic boundaries in given

            states and provinces.  There are nine union conferences in North America and  

            unions provide coordination, leadership, and operating support to local conference  


      1. Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer (CFO): The financial leader of the conference/ 

        organization and its related financial function and services. 

        1. President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO): The leader and chief administrator of

                the conference/organization and also chairperson of the executive board. 

          1. Stakeholders: Employees, members, subsidiaries, vendors, and other entities

                  related to or affected by the Seventh-day Adventist organization. 

            1. Executive Board/Executive Committee: The governing board/committee that

                    functions as the primary authoritative and decision-making body for the  

                    conference/organization.  In the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization it is  

                    the authoritative body in between conference scheduled sessions.  

              1. Seventh-Day Adventist Church Organization (SDA).
              1. North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD): consists of nine  

                      union conferences and provinces which produce resources for the local churches  

                       and also provides leadership and support for all its subsidiaries in its territory. 

                  1. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC): consists of twelve divisions

                          around the world with the primary responsibilities of leading the church  

                          throughout the world fielding all aspects of its total operations for mission,  

                          ministry, organizational policies, purpose, and service as a denomination. 

                    Limitations of the Study 

                          This study will be limited to the responding treasurers, presidents, and executive

                    board members selected for the in-depth case study analysis using interviews and site

                    observations. Conference treasurers and presidents in the North American Division will

                    also be sent survey questionnaires for additional data collection. 

                          Primary factors that will influence the study include changes in the individuals

                    occupying the positions of treasurer, president, and board member prior the completion of

                    the data collection process.  A lack of participant disclosure or response to requested

                    information.  A situation affecting the researcher’s ability to complete the study that is

                    unexpected and beyond the researcher’s control to resolve.

                          Other reasons for the “restrictions in the study” (Rudestam & Newton, 1992, p.

                    74) are limited to time factors in acquiring data, financial costs related to conducting the

                    study, and the availability of the researcher to conduct a study including the entire local

                    conferences in the North American Division and General Conference territories.  

                    Delimitations of the Study 

                           The study will exclude the Southwest Region Conference located in

                    the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist from the research because the

                    researcher presently serves in the position as a treasurer of that organization.  A bias may

                    result from the research if a collection of data from its own organization and position of

                    services are included in the results.  

                          The researcher is able to control the information gathering process in the study, targeted study population, researcher biases, process of participant and site selections, and work scheduling and time allocated for this study.


                    The Context of the Study - The SDA Local Conference  

                           Local conferences of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, organized in 1860, have

                    endured over 142 years of productive service as a nonprofit religious institution. “The

                    religious denomination known as The Seventh-day Adventist Church had its rise about the middle of the nineteenth century” (SDA Commentary, Volume 9, p.933).

                          The name, Seventh-day Adventist, “is based upon two of the distinctive beliefs they hold, namely, the observance of the Sabbath of the Scriptures, and the imminent, personal second advent of Christ” (SDA Commentary, Volume 9, p. 933). The SDA church organization has experienced continued world-wide growth as a religious institution in its primary service areas of evangelism and church growth, educational services in the elementary, secondary, colleges and university levels, healthcare services including dietary reforms and hospital facilities, and the printing and publications of books, magazines, and other printed literature related to the mission of the organization.

                          With the establishment of its “first publishing house in Battle Creek, Michigan” (SDA Commentary, Volume 9, p. 934), and the increasing growth of membership and churches, the need for accountability of the organization’s assets in terms of financial resources, properties, plant, and equipment necessitated the formation of the treasury in a more corporate structure. 

                          “In order to decentralize and distribute administrative responsibility, local state

                    conferences are grouped in fairly large areas as a union conference with a union corps of

                    officers” (SDA Commentary, Volume 9, p. 934). The term, local Conference, was

                    derived because as stated in the SDA Commentary Volume 9 (1962) “in some large states

                    there are two or more of these conferences, and as a matter of convenience the term

                    “local conference has come into us” (p. 936). With the formulation of these local

                    conferences, the position of the treasurer was instituted to manage the financial

                    operations of that conference according to the denominational guidelines and policies of

                    the SDA Church organization. Local conferences were organized in the Seventh-day Adventist church organization to manage the “general supervision of the churches and their work” (SDA Commentary, Volume 9, p. 936) in a similar fashion to the managerial structural philosophy of many corporate entities where the system of higher level of management and reporting are formatted in corporate headquarters, regional, district, and field services. 

                          There is also a legal responsibility that governs the local conference in the operational functions of the organization.  “The conference association, or corporation, serves primarily in a legal and trustee capacity” (North American Division Working Policy, 2000-2001, p. 58), and the treasurer is normally responsible for the accounting and management of the organization’s legal requirements and stipulations.

                          The top management in the local conference is similar to those in other entities,

                    profit and not-for-profit, consisting of executive officers that “shall be a president,

                    secretary, and a treasurer” (North American Division Working Policy, 2000-2001, p.142).  Treasurers serving in local conferences during these time periods and the years to follow play a key role in leading their organizations in similar fashion to their

                    counterparts who serve in other profit and not-for-profit sectors.

                          As a recognized corporate entity, the Seventh-day Adventist church has had to adopt a flexible structure to facilitate the growth and mission of the church.  In reviewing the structural system of accountability of the SDA Church, the “local conferences/missions are responsible to the union conference/mission organization of which they are a part, and are administered in harmony with the policies which govern the union” (General Conference Working Policy, 2001-2001, p. 53).

                    The Conference Treasurer- Roles and Responsibilities

                          One of the major roles of the treasurer in the local conferences is to provide

                    financial leadership for the organization and to serve as one of the officers in the overall

                    administration of the conference.  This role, inherited in the election or appointment to

                    the position by the conference constituents or executive committee, is non-inclusive of

                    other roles that this position reflects and has not clearly been defined or understood as

                    it needs to be defined.

                               The responsibilities of the local conference treasurer according to the North

                    American Division Working Policy (2001-2002) is stated as follows:

                      The treasurer shall be responsible for providing financial leadership to the        

                      organization which will include, but shall not be limited to, receiving, safeguarding and distribution of all funds in harmony with the actions of the executive committee, for remitting all required funds to the union/division/General Conference in harmony with the Division Policy, and for providing financial information to the president and to the executive committee.  The treasurer shall also be responsible for furnishing copies of the financial statements to the union officers. (p. 143-144) 

                          The General Conference Working Policy (2001-2002) states “the treasurer shall,

                    in behalf of the corporation, sign all deeds, mortgages, powers of attorney, annuity

                    agreements, or other instruments of writing of similar characters and import” (p. 173).

                          The NAD policy focuses primarily on managing fiscal resources, but it does not provide guidelines for instructing or modeling the roles, responsibilities, and relationships that treasurers have to assume and perform in the local conferences. It only states what the treasurer is supposed to do in processing and handling funds and reporting information in compliance with the organization. These policy statements do not fully reflect the expectations of the treasurer from the perspectives of presidents and executives boards of the organizations where the treasurer will be serving and expected to perform. There are often other duties that are germane to some conferences, but not to other conferences.  And likewise there are some responsibilities that may govern the work of the treasurer depending on the size of the organization in terms of revenue, membership, staffing, and number of churches, schools, and other institutional services.

                                Diversity in the SDA church composition may necessitate that conferences look to employ treasurers with diverse professional qualifications, traits, and leadership styles to meet the unique needs of their organizational climate and culture if they are to be or remain a viable entity in a constantly changing world in addition to the universal requirements and qualifications that may pertain to a financial professional in business.  How the expectations of the role, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer are communicated by the conference leadership is vital to how the individual occupying the position responds to those expectations.

                                In the local conference, the treasurer “audits the books of the church treasurer within the conference, unless a regular auditor is appointed to that work” (SDA Commentary Volume 10, p. 404). One of the most important responsibilities in the position of the treasurer is the preparation of financial reports “in accordance with applicable denominational accounting manuals prepared by the North American Division” (North American Division Working Policy, 2001-2002, p. 510). The preparation and distribution of the organization’s financial statements is a standard requirement for any institution that may be required to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), or the accounting and auditing standards that govern the accounting profession and practices of all entities seeking compliance at the time of service. 

                          In local conferences the method used for financial reporting is mainly transcribed via the auditing process to the board and governing body at the conference session.  The North American Division Working Policy (2001-2002) states “audited financial statements and auditor’s opinions on the financial statements are to be presented to conference sessions as a regular procedure when financial statements are read” (p. 95). 

                    The Conference Treasurer - Relationships

                          The North American Division Working Policy (2001-2002) states “the treasurer,

                    associated with the president as an executive officer, shall serve under the direction of the

                    executive committee” (p. 143).

                          In the local conference setting, the treasurer and president serve together as officers of the organization and the treasurer serves as the financial advisor to the president on company matters. This relationship, however, does not define other requirements and expectations that the treasurer may have of the president or what the president may have of the treasurer.

                                For example, the treasurer is responsible for providing and presenting financial reports to the executive board.  The treasurer may believe in full disclosure of the organizations’ financial condition especially if there are fiscal shortfalls.  The president may not want certain financial information disclosed to the executive board and will tell the treasurer not to discuss or comment on certain items pertaining to the finances of the organization, which restricts the treasurer from performing a vital responsibility as the CFO of the organization. An experience was shared by a former conference treasurer where the president candidly commanded that the treasurer was not to disclose the conference indebtedness or inform the constituents that the conference was having serious financial problems.  To make such a report was implied by the president to be a cry of “poormouth” and the treasurer was expected to comply with the president.  Millman (2001) states “a CFO has to communicate with the CEO, and more often than not be on the same page, but yet be strong enough to stand up to the CEO when you disagree” (p. 24-26).

                                Another example exists when there is an ethical dilemma that occurs when the treasurer is expected to support the president on issues that are clearly adverse to the organization’s financial viability. For instance, major budgetary concerns involving personnel issues, program development and funding, and capital projects or business ventures. When disagreements between the president and treasurer become conflictive or results in a negative relationship, then the treasurer may have to consider other employment options.  Millman (2001) states that “if you get somebody swing from the tree as CEO, to the point where the CFO in good conscience can’t serve that CEO, then a parting of the ways is probably required” (p. 24-26).  

                              Stern & Shachtman (1990) states “there are CEO’s who, while nominally reporting to a board of directors, actually control their boards; these men have something that in business approaches absolute power, power equivalent to autonomy, a free hand in running the corporation” (p. 43). This becomes evident in some local conferences where the officers of the organization, (president, secretary, and treasurer), are recognized as the administrative leadership team and are expected to be responsible for the operations of the organization along with the executive board.  However, the president is elected as the first among officers and is primarily given the opportunity for assembling the rest of the administrative team in conjunction with the governing committee. This facilitates a tacit presidential system that potentially holds the other officers accountable for actions, decisions, and directives to the executive board that may not necessarily reflect an “administrative team decision” but a “compliant expectation of officers” as members of the executive team. The president, in this scenario, is in essence “controlling” the organization and the other officers are “expected” to provide “support” as members of the administrative team.

                                A lack of understanding of the relationship in these areas can and often will result in organizational conflicts, misunderstandings, and other conditions that may have a negative impact on the conference, potentially leading to a separation and change in one or more of the positions stated.

                          The treasurer’s relationship to the board, while a little more defined in the corporate environment, has not been as clearly understood in the local conferences. The working policies of the SDA Church cite the treasurer’s relationship to the board from an approval and reporting policy. The NAD Policy (2001-2002) states “the treasurer, associated with the president as an executive officer, shall serve under the direction of the executive committee. The treasurer shall report to the executive committee of the conference after consultation with the president” (p.143). However, the NAD policy does not define the relationships between the two from the human expectation perspective of what board members look for and expect from the treasurer as a business professional and financial leader in the organization. Also, what should the treasurer expect from the board in terms of understanding the role, responsibilities, and relationships ascribed to the position.

                              Local conferences in the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization rely very

                    heavily on the executive board to fulfill the mission of the organization.  In defining

                    the composition of the executive board membership in the local conference, the

                    following statement is recorded:

                      The executive committee (commonly referred to as the conference committee) is composed of from five to nine members and it is elected at each session of the conference.  The president is a member of the committee and is the chair.  The ministry and laity of the conference are also usually represented on the committee. (SDA Commentary Series Volume 10, p. 405) 

                          The memberships and composition of the local conference executive committee will also vary depending on the articles and constitution that govern that conference within the scope of the policies governing the institution at large as an organization.

                          In defining the board structure in the SDA Church, the North American Division 

                    Working Policy (2001-2002) states:


                      The board of directors or trustees (or comparable governing body if not a

                      corporation) shall serve by appointment of the corporate membership, constituency or shareholder, who shall have the right to elect, appoint, or remove any member of the board. (p.97)


                          Treasurers are members of the executive board as officers of the organization, and they are expected to make periodic financial reports, and “shall report to the

                    executive committee of the conference after consultation with the president” regarding

                    the financial affairs of the organization and other accounting and treasury matters of the

                    board (North American Division Working Policy, 2001-2002, p. 143).

                          Due to the election process that local conferences are governed by as it pertains to

                    filling positions of leadership, it may possibly create opportunities for individuals to be elected to the position of the treasurer who may not necessarily have comparable qualifications of individuals eligible for the position in the business and corporate sector. Conferences that employ individuals to serve as treasurers that lack comparable qualifications to those in the business and corporate sectors may limit the individual’s capacity to fulfill the financial leadership and management “expectations” and “requirements” that pertain to the position. A criterion should be established and used as a guideline when individuals are being considered for the position of the treasurer that reflects the “expectations” of the position to minimize the risk of the selection of an unqualified candidate and facilitate the success of the individual selected.

                             Where the SDA Church organization makes provision for the treasurer

                    to receive training upon the election or appointment to office by the union treasurer,

                    (North American Division Working Policy, 2001-2002, p. 40), the local conference still

                    need to identify the background and qualifications of the position relating to character and personality traits, level of education, employment history, and professional accomplishments and certifications. These entities should also establish their own additional criteria for the individual who occupies that position as a financial leader and professional identifying specifics germane to their organization.  These procedures are important because some conferences have a unique climate, culture, language, and style of leadership that requires specific skills and qualifications to respond to that organization’s expectations. Serious problems occur when leaders try to fit a square box into round hole, and the results usually end in conflicts, failures, isolations, and separations.


                    Chapter Summary and Proposal Outline 

                          Chapter I provides a brief introduction into the background of the problem

                    regarding the need for a study to clarify the expectations of roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the conference treasurer with the president and executive board members.  Information pertaining to the origin and growth of SDA local conferences and the role, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer as the CFO of the organization are outlined to reveal the evolving position of the conference treasurer in its changing environment. 

                          Chapter two focuses on the review of the literature related to the position of the chief financial officer in the organizations representing diverse entities pertaining to this study. The literature will reflect information on the roles, responsibilities and relationships of the chief financial officer as well as qualifications and traits that are desired for occupying the position.

                          Chapter three discusses in depth the procedures that were followed in the

                    preparation of the research study. Chapter four will present the analysis of the data, and

                    chapter five will summarize the finding and implications of the study and offer recommendations for further study relating to the research conducted.


                    CHAPTER TWO 


                    Introduction to Chapter 

                          The purpose of this chapter is to present a review of the literature which pertains to the role, responsibilities, and relationships of the chief financial officer who “in most

                    organizations …is setting the general (financial) demeanor of the company” (Katz, 1998, p. 1). McDonough (1997) states that “a well – conceived internal treasury management can significantly influence an organization’s financial performance” (p. 28-32).

                          This review is presented in five sections: (1) how the role of chief

                    financial officers is changing; (2) organizational operational influences on the chief 

                    financial officer; (3) background and qualifications of chief financial officers; (4) the role 

                    and responsibilities of the chief financial officer; (5) the relationship of the CFO to the

                    chief executive officer (CEO) and the executive board. 




                      The Changing Role and Responsibilities of the Chief Financial Officer


                    How CFO’s Role and Responsibilities are Changing 

                                The office involving financial management in business organizations, profit and not-for-profit entities, has always required fiscal managers to process and report the business activities of the company to the chief executive officer and board. This is crucial 

                    for organizational effectiveness.  Drucker (1992) states “the best nonprofits devote a  

                    great deal of thought to defining their organization’s mission” (p. 205).  Calnan (2001)  

                    states that “perhaps more than any other decision maker, the CFO is circumspect about  

                    changes in business process” (p. 22-26). 

                                With the emergence of American businesses and industries in domestic and

                    international markets for much of the twentieth century, Yung (2002) states “the CFO

                    position developed in the early 1980’s as the analysis of financial markets became much

                    more important and the popularity of different financing options grew” (p. 5H). The role of the CFO became more valuable with the growth of the financial markets, because CFOs, according to Vames (1998), has “the best understanding of companies’ fiscal performance” (p. 28) and “how companies should grow” (p.28). 

                                The trends of business growth and activity continued in the business areas as well as other service industries, and according to Yung (2002) “by the early 1990’s, CFO’s had become regular fixtures in the executive suites throughout the country” (p. 5H). In 1990 the federal government passed the CFO Act that stated “every large agency was required to have a CFO with proper financial management credentials, and to conduct business according to accepted accounting principles – including the production of auditable financial statements” (Dresner, 2000, p. 33-36). With the diversity of titles spanning several industries, the nature of the CFO’s position is not as diverse as are similarities in the functionality of the position.

                                Studies such as the one concluded in 1986 study called “Sound Financial Reporting in The US Government: A Prerequisite to Fiscal Responsibility” concluded that “A lack of accountability caused by inadequate information can help produce a fiscal crisis” (Dresner, 2000, p.33-36).  Referring to governmental agencies Dresner (2000) stated that “before 1990…there were no CFOs at most agencies and little financial control.  There was no appreciation of the CFO’s role in government” (p. 33-36). Another serious problem that emerged in organizations during the mid 1990’s that CFO in organizations was asked to participate in solving was an “aging technological infrastructure” (Sauls, 1996, p. 33-36). Data-warehouses were developed to collect and store organizational information that resolved the problems stated.

                                Ripepi (1995) stated that “one of the financial executives’ many roles is to prepare information that will be provided to creditors, investors, employees and others interested in the financial resources of an organization” (p. 326-328). Chief financial officers have been charged with the management of the organizations’ “internal and external financing” (Bedell, 2000, p.15) which often requires that they make tough and unpopular decisions. Millman (2000) states “the traditional role of the CFO is the bad guy in the company” (p. 12-15, 19), while Barsly & Jablonsky (2000) states the role of the chief financial officer as “formulating implementing business strategy” (p. 52-56) in their organization.

                                In defining the responsibilities of the financial leader in business, Drucker (1974)

                    states “the treasurer of a company, the man responsible for the supply and use of money

                    in the business” (p. 391) occupies an important position in the management of the

                    organization and its assets.  Phillips (1997) states “the treasurer is responsible for looking after liquidity management…risk management, employee benefits management, and financial institutions relationship management services to the organization” (p. 69-81).

                    The chief financial officers are also advised as risk managers in their organizations to

                    “shop your policy” (Hays, 1999, p. S14-S15) for the best insurance coverage available for

                    that period. Katy (1997) states chief financial officers and treasurers are getting more

                    involved in risk management” (p. 1) in their organizations.

                    .       Another study entitled “Business Redefined: Generating Returns” revealed that senior management is counting on CFO’s to restore the basic financial discipline that

                    was abandoned during the last phase of the 1990s bull market by focusing much more

                    closely on projected returns” (M.L., 2002, p. 22) in the business. 

                                Titles referring to chief financial officers differ depending on the industry the CFO serves. Some of the names often used are chief financial officer, vice president of

                    finance, treasurer, business manager, and controller to name a few. More critical to the  

                    identification of the position name is the role, responsibilities, and relationships that the 

                    position generates as expressed in the statement that “in any corporation, the CFO plays  

                    a pivotal role- aligning shareholders’ demands with business strategies and capabilities”  

                    (CFO, 1999, p. 12). Ewing (1998) states CFOs in the organization still remain the driving  

                    force in leading “a high performance finance team” (p. 22-26). 

                               Vames (1998) states “for most companies, the CFO’s job has also developed into a sort of financial ambassador to Wall Street” (p. 28). “CFO’s play a crucial role in

                    leading their firms from a product-centric to a client-centric paradigm” (p. 22-26). The

                    challenges of organizations enduring constant changes in today’s global society

                    necessitates that CFO have “a willingness to push through change, even when that change

                    may shake up the status quo” (Corporate Finance, 2000, p. 17). “CFOs are now expected  

                    to interact with their management boards and in particular with the CEO” (Corporate  

                    Finance, 1999, p. 13).  Millman states “it is important for the CFO’s relationship with the  

                    board to go beyond reporting…. business judgment must be well-established” (p. 24-26).


                    Millman further states “trust and diplomacy are the hallmarks of a good CFO-board  

                    relationship” (p. 24-26).           

                                Bruce (2002) stated that “CFOs have become and will continue to be dominant forces in their organization” (p. 54). Randall (1999) states “today’s “new” finance role

                    requires the ability to communicate complex financial data to individuals in such

                    departments as marketing, information technology, and operations during joint efforts

                    to develop creative solutions to business issues” (p. 30-32). Based on subsequent events influencing the need for change in the global business community, the future had indeed come for CFO while it is presently still evolving.

                                Piturro (2001) views CFOs “as the bridge between the world of finance and

                    technology and as the architect that concentrates on internal processes and applications

                    that cut across departments to connect customers, suppliers, and other business partners

                    electronically” (p.24-29). CFO’s in business, Yung (2002) states “their power stems from

                    their control of funds, their role in determining the cost of business moves and the

                    importance of their revenue and income forecasts” (p. 1H).

                                CFOs are required to perform a variety of duties in the organizations like “restructure the Finance departments” (Brewis, 1999, p. 17), “assist in research and development” (Corey, 2000, p. 75), “protect the company’s assets against theft and embezzlement by employees” (Zeume, 2001, p. 16-21), “keep managers focused on technology goals, boast company valuation and safeguard cash for a rainy day” (Azhir, 2001, p. 98), be “responsible for all financial business development, M&A, legal and HR functions of the company” (Corporate Finance, 2001, p. 10), and “delegate many traditional responsibilities” (Ward & Armor, 1992, p. 79-88).

                                Chief financial officers who are committed to fully developing their fiscal qualifications may also acquire the highest level of professional success that the position facilitates as the business of the 21st century continues to evolve and redefine itself into new area of services and technology. In a study of CFO’s, Tully (1995) states “individuals like these…shape strategy, earn millions- and can be worth billions to a company and its shareholders” (p. 277) because of the attributes of those of extreme talent and capabilities who may occupy the position.

                                One critical aspect where the chief financial officers’ influence is vital involves the work to “set strategy, lead crucial change initiatives and act as real partners in decision-making with their CEOs” (CFO, 1999, p. V). Chief financial officers must continue to nurture the financial and leadership philosophy of “looking forward, not backwards” (CFO, 1999, p. 267) when it comes to the operations of the company as a competitive organization in its respective services.  Ewing (1998) states that a “finance leader must be fully involved in the business, have a keen understanding of its cost and strategy divers and an obsession with serving the rest of the organization” (p. 22-26).

                                Williams & Hart (1999) interviewed a CFO who was “responsible for the

                    corporation’s tax, accounting, insurance, treasury, purchasing, internal audit, and

                    information systems functions” (p. 38-40). With the increasing use and dependence

                    of computer technology in society and global business, Trombly (2001) states “CFOs

                    need to understand the vocabulary of the internet and how to use new technologies to

                    launch a marketplace” (p. 32).  CFO acquiring this knowledge will find themselves

                    “pushing technology implementation” (Electronic Business, 1997, p. 44-48) to ensure and enhance the competitive advantage of their business or institution in the market place.

                          In an interview held with a CFO in a healthcare system, there were five essential

                    responsibilities that were emphasized and are identified as “the five-c job.”  The

                    functions are: “Count (are financial statements accurate, timely, and useful?); Control

                    (strategic financial planning, budgeting, and monitoring); Create Capital (managing

                    cash, borrowing money, etc.); Counsel (executive management teams, boards, etc.);

                    Contribute (community involvement, etc.)” (Healthcare Financial Management, 2000,

                    p. 29-32). A summary of the literature reviewed referenced at least thirty-two different

                    responsibilities that chief financial officers and comparable financial leaders held in the

                    various organizations.

                                A world-wide study was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers involving the role and responsibilities of the chief financial officer targeting global organizations.  The results were published in the book, CFO, and the information from the study is being used to help provide guidance for current CFOs and models to shape the development of future CFOs in corporations and business entities. The study reports “in every industry, CFOs shift from managing the finance function – with an emphasis on accounting and control – to providing leadership for business unit management and, more importantly, working as partners with CEOs” (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 1999, p. 262).

                                An example of one CFO 2000 survey asked the question: What proportion of time/ human resources does the finance function spend on processes in relationship to past (1997–1999) and future (2000-2002) CFO finance responsibilities? The results indicated that CFO allocated their time in the following manner for the various responsibility areas: “1. Financial Strategy (past 13%) (future 18%), 2. Investment Management (past 13%) (future 15%), 3. Treasury/Tax Management (past 14%) (future 14%), 4. Cost Planning/Budgeting (past 20%) (future 17%), 5. Financial Operations (past 24%) (future 18%), and 6. Performance Management (past 16%) (future 18%)” (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 1999, p. 16).

                                   Another CFO 2000 survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) asked        

                                   CFOs to prioritize a list of initiatives that they considered would be important to

                                   their business over the next three years.  The results of this survey question is

                                   reflected in the following list of initiatives given by CFOs: (1) Integrating

                                   financial/non-financial systems, (2) Replacing obsolete financial systems, (3)

                                   Implementing new technology, (4) Culture change programs, (5) Streamlining

                                   reporting entities, (6) Reducing number of management layers, (7) Introducing

                                   payment/reward structures, (8) Reducing number of suppliers, (9) Simplifying

                                   inter-company accounting/transfer pricing, (10) Common chart of accounts,

                                   (11) Introducing shared service centers, (12) Outsourcing business operations,

                                   (13) Reducing number of manufacturing sites, (14) Reducing number of

                                   products, (15) Reducing number of customers. (p. 152)  

                    Each of the surveys provide critical information that CFOs are able to utilize to help them  

                    create and manage change strategies in their organization from a financial leadership  


                                A CFO 2000 study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) asked CFOs “What is the role of the finance function in the business initiatives?” (p. 265) CFOs responded with the following list of initiatives pertaining to the finance function: “(1) Strategic/shareholder- value management, (2) Corporate restructuring/ cost reduction, (3) Major capital investment, (4) Enterprise-wide business systems/IT Strategy, (5) Corporate reward/compensation structures, (6) Culture change program, and (7) Production/operations efficiency” (p. 265).

                          The CFO in Management Practice and Theory

                                Literature pertaining to the position of the chief financial officers has been written in articles and journals spanning diverse businesses, industries, and institutions.  While the services of each organization may differ, many of the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the chief financial officer and treasurer in some organization are germane to this study. However, limited literature or no research has been identified in the Seventh-day Adventist organization pertaining to the position of the treasurer in the local conference. 

                                Individuals occupying the position of the chief financial officer have acquired skills reflective in their abilities to “be a strategic thinker” (Doody, 2000, p. 52-57), “respond confidently to changing situations” (Ballein, 1997, P. 86-87), and have what Russis (1999) states “a good command of technology and how it’s used to run a business” (p. SB8-SB9). Efficient and effective chief financial officers according to Lapovsky and Moak (1999) “are always seeking ways to expand and improve their analytical capabilities” (p.118), while “acquiring a broader knowledge of the company”. (Moriarty, 2001, p.57-58). They must also be able to as Randall states “communicate complex financial data…to develop creative solutions to business issues” (p. 30-32). 

                          The perspectives and theories expressed in the literature from the “best practice

                    CFOs” (D’Arcy, 1996, p. 60-63) will assist in the formulation of the framework essential

                    in understanding the phenomenal experiences of the treasurers that will evolve from the

                    research. Davis and Parker (1997) statement of “the theory base of theory foundation

                    provides the basis for a contribution” (p. 56) also validates this assertion.  

                          The philosophies and concepts of the individuals occupying the position of the

                    treasurers and chief financial officers in organizations are often woven into the

                    framework of their function in the position and relationships in the organization.  It is

                    the researchers’ aspiration that the relevant theoretical and conceptual concepts related to

                    this study will be identified in theories related to financial management and leadership

                    understanding that “the framework may change as the study evolves” (Rudestam &

                    Newton, 1992, p. 37). 

                          The theoretical framework is based on the concepts involving work expectations

                    of the experts and thought leaders of the field being researched and studied as it pertains

                    to the topic area.  Buckingham & Coffman (1999) state work expectations in the form of 

                    the question “do I know what is expected of me at work?” (p. 28) In this research study,

                    the researcher gathers literature on the position of the treasurer (CFO) as it relates to

                    the role, responsibilities, and relationships to the president (CEO) and executive board in businesses, institutions, and industries.

                          In discussing theoretical frameworks, Rudestam and Newton state “identifying a

                    conceptual framework for a research study typically involves immersing oneself in the

                    research and theoretical literature of the field” (1992).  The researcher must also acquire

                    or have what Sternberg (1981) states “general competence grounded in the theory and

                    methods of one’s discipline” (p. 51).   

                                In a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999), CFOs representing organizations world-wide were asked “how can finance drive change in the business?”(p. 20-21)   This question reflected the expectations of the role and responsibilities of the CFO in providing financial leadership in their companies. The response of the CFOs consisted in the following summary: “(1) Use traditional analytical skills to improve performance, (2) Use specialist knowledge to support decision-making, and (3) Use your unique organizational positions to influence structural change which involves integrating changes in finance with changes in business” (p. 20-21). The researcher’s study will also seek to understand “how the role, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer drives change in the conference” from the perspectives of the treasurer and president in exemplary conferences.

                                A key theory that evolved from the study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) pertaining to the role, responsibilities, and relationships of the CFO centered on the philosophy of Value Based Management (VBM).  The essence of this management philosophy states that “An embedded VBM system takes the corporation and the CFO as its architect – into a new, very different world….In essence, this is a shift from number crunching to partnering the business” (p. 48).

                                The role of CFOs in implementing radical changes in the organization to facilitate the concepts of Value Based Management as a futurist management philosophy for current day business principles involves CFOs leading their organizations according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) study “(1) from incremental discount cash flow (DFC) project appraisal, to value based business appraisal, (2) from profits targets only, to targets for each of the value drivers, (3) from managing traditional functional structures, to managing value centers, and (4) from historical accounting, to predictive value reporting” (p. 48).

                                   Financial leaders in organizations are faced with constant changes in the business sector, and the expectations of roles, responsibilities, and relationships. 

                                   As CFOs develop strategies to facilitate the need for change, a

                                   PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) study reports seven imperatives that any CFO    

                                   delivering radical change must focus on: (1) Leadership: Get the right team

                                   around you and set a clear direction, (2) Momentum: Focus on the vision     

                                   always, but the basics first, (3) Integration: Use relationships to knock down

                                   silos, (4) Excellence: Find ways to delight internal customers, (5) Partnering:

                                   Build a bridge with operations, (6) Culture: Create a value mindset, and (7)

                                   Benefits: Budget for radical improvement. (p. 251-257) 

                    The CFO in Prior Research

                          Prior research involving similar studies pertaining to the position of the chief

                    financial officer in some capacity of role, responsibilities, or relationships were

                    conducted by Bava (2001), Peters (1999), Soroko (1997),   Idrees (1990), Ringuist (1990) and Steoodeh (1981).

                          Bava’s (2001) study involved chief financial officers for two institutions, A & B, and studied their role and responsibilities in the development and implementation of the responsibility center management, RCM, in academic institutions.  A major finding from Bava’s (2001) study revealed that the “CFOs assumed different roles and responsibilities depending on the stage of the RCM process” (p. 100-101, 124, 170, 178).

                          Peters (1999) studied the role of the chief business officers of small private

                    college and universities.  The findings include the confirmation from previous studies

                    those business officers have many responsibilities in higher education.  

                                   Peters (1999) stated:

                                   One finding of this study is that CBOs continue to be responsible for many 

                                   aspects of the non-academic management of colleges and universities.  Due to

                                   the tremendous amount of tasks involved in this administration, they tend to

                                   delegate a large amount of the task to staff members. They are most personally

                                   involved with budget matters and finance matters.  They are also highly

                                   involved to a large degree in construction-related projects. (p. 114)… A positive

                                   finding was that they enjoy a high level of influence with the president along

                                   with the chief academic officer. (p. 114)…They have influence with the

                                   board and are frequently responsible to report directly to the board on business

                                   matters. (p. 115) 

                          Soroko (1997) conducted research on a behavior analysis of a female chief

                    financial officer in higher education.  This care study examined the leadership of a female

                    chief financial officer (CFO) in higher education-a domain historically secured by male

                    leadership. A secondary purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the CFO’s

                    impact on institutional culture.  The evidence seems to suggest that male and female chief

                    financial officers interpret their roles differently.  Male CFO’s seem to espouse a

                    leadership style that was more closely aligned with traditional theory and practice.    

                                   Soroko (1997) stated: 

                                   The findings from this research suggest that the feminist leadership ethos of the

                                   chief financial officer has a significant impact on the culture, attitudes and

                                   demeanor of her institution and enhance the perceived productivity and

                                   effectiveness of the entire organization.  As such, this research offers a new way

                                   of thinking about financial leadership.  It also contributes to an understanding of

                                   women’s leadership and suggests that gender may influence a leader’s

                                   interpretation of their role within the context of their profession and institution. 

                                   (p. 125) 

                          Idrees (1990) researched “the role of the chief business officer in selected higher

                    education institutions of the northeast. Fiscal and financial management duties were

                    judged the most important functions of the CBO. Among the fiscal and financial

                    management duties, adhering to the budgeting procedure was the single most important

                    job function. There was very little difference between the role functions of CBO in

                    public and private institutions.” (p. VI – VIII) Idrees also states that “The findings of the research and the literature suggest that CBO’s role in higher education is changing.  It is no more a “bean counting” occupation.  This research shows that the role of the CBO is expected to expand in institutional management and in academic administration areas, although they still will continue to concentrate on business-related functions” (p. 95).

                          Ringquist (1990) conducted “a study of chief financial officers at large, four-year

                    public colleges and universities: perceptions of role, responsibilities, and relationships. 

                    Major/complete CFO responsibility for accountancy, finance (except budget

                    development) and general services functions was indicated by a majority or most of the

                    respondents who also indicated minor /no responsibility for business services (except

                    bookstore) functions. CFO board involvement was perceived as less that of presidents,

                    equal to provosts, and more than that of other vice presidents.”(p. 121-133)

                          Setoodeh (1981) performed a “study of the position of the chief financial officer in higher education institutions.  This study was concerned with determining the role,

                    responsibility, qualifications, and changing trends regarding the position of chief

                    financial officer in higher education institutions as perceived by presidents and chief

                    financial officers. The data established that the chief financial officer has great influence

                    on key financial decisions, that this level of administrative duties is greater than most of

                    the other senior administrators, and that his position has gained more prestige and

                    importance due to the problems in financing” (p. 112-118).       

                                In summary, the position of the chief financial officer continues to experience changes in roles in organizations due to the changing conditions in the global society in which organizations operate. Therefore CFOs must remain proactive in managing their professional growth to remain a high level of competence and capability while providing the needed services to ensure the viability and competitive advantage of the entities that they serve.  The changing expectations of CFOs will also necessitate that CFOs develop new skills to do what is expected of them in their respective organizations.     

                    Organizational Operational Influences on

                    Chief Financial Officers 

                          The position of the chief financial officer in organizations may be influenced by the following organizational factors: (1) organizational size and structure, (2) organizational financial status, (3) organizational reporting practices to the chief

                    executive officer, and the executive board. 

                    Organizational Size and Structure

                          According to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) in multi-national corporations, the position of the CFO may influence in a significant way the critical functions of the organization, such as” treasury, transaction processing, enterprise –wide systems, activity-based management, performance management and finance-business partnering” ( p. 258). 

                           Stern (1990) states that the work and exposure that is gained by an individual as an “apprentice” (p.10) with the CFO in a multi-billion corporation enables an individual aspiring for corporate leadership to be better prepared for the challenges and responsibilities of the position.  The abilities of the chief financial officer to handle and manage the fiscal operations of the corporation may be in direct proportion to the revenues and financial liabilities of the organization, its size and structure, and it capacity to respond to its obligations.

                                A global study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) with CFOs states “multinational corporations with vision of finance as a business partner have to change the way the function is structured” (p. 247). The results of this survey asking the question of how the role of the CFO finance function is organized in organizations stated that “today, many finance functions are conventionally structured: nearly half are organized primarily by business unit and a further 28% by geography or territory.  The results are listed in the following order pertaining to the primary division: (1) Business unit 47%, (2) Territory/geography 28%, (3) Function 22%, (4) Customer/market 2%, and (5) Product 1%” (p. 246-247).

                              However, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) survey further reflected that “CFOs are responding to business-wide restructuring initiatives that product ever more sophisticated, matrix managed organizations. The results are listed in the following order pertaining to the secondary division (if matrix structure):  (1) Function 27%, (2) Business Unit 27%, (3) Territory/geography 27%, (4) Product 12%, and Customer/market 7%.” (p. 247) The survey continues to state “in future, traditional business unit finance structures are likely to become less prevalent, as finance is absorbed into operational line management and process” (p. 247).

                    Organizational Financial Status

                         The organizational financial status relates directly to the financial health and solvency of the organization, and the role of the CFO as the financial leader and member of top management in the organization.

                                Companies have had to reassess their operations from a capital and investment perspective due to the rapid changes in the economic society resulting for the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States of America.  The financial position of an organization is reflected in its financial statements in terms of its assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity and/or fund balance depending on the non-profit or profit status of the organization.  The ability of an entity to meet its financial obligations in a timely manner on a short-term and long-term basis is vital to the financial health and longevity of the organization.  The expansion of the global economy and markets has resulted in more business competition for customers and services. 

                                However, the terrorist attack on the United States has also resulted in changes in the relationships between businesses and insurance companies. Chief financial officers, according to Brannen (2002) “need to meet with their business’s insurance partners to explain their operations and risks” (p. 4) regarding their organization’s business practices and conference treasurers are being required to follow the same practices in their organizational relationships also.  This issue of providing adequate business insurance protection will continue to be a major challenge for CFO as well as a costly venture for organizations as they continue to adjust to changing policies and regulations to combat terrorism.

                                The ability of the CFO to successfully manage cash, investments, and insurance coverage for assets of the organization in these changing times along with providing astute financial leadership will have a major impact on the financial status of the organization in its present and future operations.

                    Organizational Reporting Practices

                          The organizational reporting practices to the chief executive officer and executive

                    board is centered on financial accountability and responsibility from the financial leaders in the organization. Drucker (1992) states “without financial accountability, there is no accountability at all” (p. 246). Drucker’s statement applies to any organization that seeks

                    to operate at maximum efficiency and be a competitive entity in its field of service. 

                    Benson (1995) states that “not-for-profit (NPOs) face some crucial decisions” (p. 41-46)

                    as they make the necessary and ongoing adjustments in processing major changes in

                    accounting standards.  The federal government has also recognized the need for financial

                    reform with its agencies. Reason (2002) states “the goal of financial reform isn’t the

                    actual report; it’s to make sure that responsible federal officials have access to timely,

                    accurate, and useful financial information” (p. 44).

                          The reporting of financial statements to the chief executive officer and executive

                    board has been expanded from the traditional preparation of statements using paper

                    formats to Internet as a medium for reporting financial statements which will result in

                    “improved efficiency” (The Controller’s Report, 2002, p. 7) in the deliverance of

                    business information.  According to Leahy (2002) “a standard language for reporting

                    over the Internet, XBRL (Extensive Business Reporting Language) makes financial

                    information more visible to all interested parties” (p. 15).

                          Failure to present timely financial reports to the board has been a trend, according to Drucker (1998) “in every single business failure of a large company in the last few

                    decades, the board was the last to realize that things were going wrong” (p. 135).

                    Whether reporting for profit or not-for-profit, there is no different in reporting

                    responsibilities, in that the need for board members to receive the financial reports of the organization in a timely manner to review the financial conditions of the organization is vital to effective board governance.  The use of the Internet, which “the SEC, (Securities and Exchange Commission), encourages using…to disseminate information broadly and rapidly” (Leahy, 2002, p. 16) will facilitate the availability of the organization disclosing its financial information.

                          As time progresses in business financial reporting, chief financial officers will probably become more “expansive in their presentation to the boards” (Yung, 2002, p.

                    1H) and presidents (CEOs). Some of the primary reasons for this change resulted from the problems associated with the collapse of one of the nation’s largest corporations being Enron Corporation in 2002 and the lack of financial understanding that was associated with the reporting from the board’s perspective.     

                    The Qualifications and Traits of

                    Chief Financial Officers 

                          The background qualifications and traits of chief financial officers in the organizations may vary depending on the perceptions of the organizations employing the position from the chief executive officers’ and executive boards’ position. 

                          In a study conducted in PricewaterhouseCoopers in CFO (1999), “there were five

                    qualities that were categorized as being important to CFOs in the future and they were

                    identified as creativity, versatility, intuition, drive, and rigor (p.277)” The study also

                    shared the importance of the CFO’s “credibility” (p. 263), and the need for the individual

                    to possess characteristics such as “insightful, pioneering, and persuasive” (p. 277) in the

                    survey conducted. The results of this study originate from a word-wide study of CFO in

                    business corporations. 

                                CFOs were also asked in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999) CFO 2000 survey what two skills are the most valuable in developing the role of the finance function for the next three years (2000-2002), and the past three years (1997-1999). The results for the future period (2000-2002) are listed in the following order: “(1) Problem solving/creativity, (2) Financial accounting/control, (3) Teamwork, (4) Business/line experience, (5) Change management, (6) Financial Systems/technology, (7) Communications/language.  The results of the past period (1997-1999) are listed in the following order: (1) Financial accounting/control, (2) Business/line experience, (3) Problem solving/creativity, (4) Financial systems/technology, (5) Teamwork, (6) Change management, and (7) Communications/language” (p. 279).

                          Other essential qualifications and traits of a competent and capable chief financial officer includes “guts” and “courage” (Williams & Hart, 1999, p. 38-40), “successful presentation” (Herrmann, 1995, p. 55-59) skills, “speaks his mind” (Azhir, 2001, p. 98), has “relationship-building” (Ballein, 1997, p. 86-87), has “excellent written and oral communication skills” (Russis, 1999, p. SB8-SB9), and “sees the whole organization, and not only understand the numbers but knows how to use the numbers to understand what’s happening and why ” (Millman, 2001, p. 24-26).

                      As business organizations continue to undergo changes as a result of some negative and unethical financial reporting and accounting practices which occurred was associated with the Enron Corporation bankruptcy, Yung (2002) states “the role of the CFO is going to become much more important….These people are going to be stronger and much more communicative” (p. 1H, 5H) in its business and financial reporting procedures. 

                    The Role and Responsibilities of 

                    Chief Financial Officers 

                          In the corporate setting, the chief financial officers’ role and responsibilities varies depending on the industry type and the requirements for the position. Some organizations may use the terms differently to identify a specific function pertaining to someone’s role such as calling the chief financial officer an accountant.  The Oxford (2001), in identifying and defining a role uses the term “function” (p. 725).

                                “The CFO’s role has also become more creative in assessing today’s ubiquitous electronic commerce challenges” (Zorko, 2001, p. 36-38) as “formulation and implementation of an effective e-commerce plan” (Stewart, 2000, p. 12) are developed.  The September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States has also necessitated that the CFO and business insurers meet on a regular basis “consolidate long-term client relationships and to ensure that loss control efforts accommodate all critical aspect of a company’s business plan”(Ceniceros, 2001, p. 10, 17). The role of the chief financial officer has continued to emerge from a traditional role and functional expectations to a more adaptable, diversified, financial and organizational leader.  According to Vames (1998) “a CFO should constantly convey what is going on inside the company to the financial community.  The communicators and the translators” (p. 28). 

                    The Traditional Role and Responsibilities of Chief Financial Officers 

                                  Vames (1998) states that “a CFO used to be the person who did a company’s accounting” (p. 28). Katz (1998) stated that “the most typical CFO role is still that of aligning risk-financing plans with corporate goals” (p. 1). Ewing (1998) suggests the previous CFOs were more occupied with “traditional control and compliance” (p. 22-26) issues than their counter-parts in financial leadership today.

                          Previously CFOs were able to experience success by “simply having the right skill set” (Corporate Finance, 2000, p. 17) which included strong knowledge in accounting and finance from the technical perspective. Other skills such as communications and being able to work closely with others from a human relationship venue were not as essential. Possibly due to the CFO’s emphasis on the accounting and finance aspect of the organization, Lapovsky, & Moak, 1999) stated “in many respects the CFO become the messenger for the bad news.” (p. 30)

                          As organizations continue to change, the role of the CFO to “assure a company the financial flexibility and balance sheet strength needed to seize opportunities and grow” (Mermigas, 2001, p. 16-17) will remain constant. 

                    The Relationships of Chief Financial Officers 

                          The position of the chief financial officer necessitates and facilitates a wide spectrum of relationships within in the context of internal and external stakeholders that are impacted by the organization’s financial resources.  Drucker (1974) identifies those

                    entities that exist and are influenced by the organization as being apart of the “financial

                    community” (p. 391).  A crucial component to the effectualness of fulfilling the

                    organizations’ mission is the chief financial officers’ relationship with the chief executive

                    officer and executive board.   Gary (1998) states “the trend among companies is to have

                    the CFO develop a close working relationship with the board while serving the best

                    interest of the CEO and company” (p. 48-49).

                          This dual responsibility of reporting to the executive committee creates a relationship between the chief financial officer and the chief executive officer that enables CFOs to “act as real partners in decision making with their CEO’s” (CFO, 1999, p.V). Carver (1997) stated that “the fiscal officer and the CEO confer with the treasurer prior to a board meeting” (p. 142) when business information is to be presented to the executive board.  This practice ensures that both officers are speaking the same language on the same issues when the board meets which facilitates the perception of organizational effectiveness and unity between the chief financial officer and chief executive officer.

                                In a CFO 2000 survey pertaining to chief financial officers relationships in their organizations, the following question was asked.  “What percent of your time will you spend on these relationships over the next three years?  The results of this survey reflected the following regarding CFOs time spent in relationships in the organization:

                    1. Business unit executives (27%), 2. Accounting and controls (25%), 3. CEO (23%),

                    4. Shareholders/stakeholders (14%), and 5. Board of Directors (11%)” (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 1999, p. 264). The results of this survey highlight the evolving shift of global CFOs away from the finance function and “most respondents say they’ll devote less time to accounting and control, and more to business managers and the CEO.  And many will respond to another trend: greater emphasis on investor relations” PricewaterhouseCoopers, 1999, p. 264). 

                    The Chief Financial Officers’ Relationship to Chief Executive Officer 

                          In many organizations, the chief financial officer and chief executive officer serve

                    together as officers of the organization, and “one of the most important challenges a CEO

                    will have to face is bring unity of purpose to the leadership team” (Strategy &

                    Leadership, 2000, p. 34-35). However a different view in the Financial Executive (1998) states “it is rare to find a company in which the CEO, President, and CFO works together smoothly” (p. 49-50).  Regardless of whatever differences that may surface, as members of the organization’s top management and leadership team, it is essential to the well-being of the company for CEOs and CFOs to work together to maximize the value of the organization in all aspects of its operations.

                           Throughout industry and institutions, CFOs, treasurers, and financial leaders are

                    generally knowledgeable of their advising and reporting duties to the CEO.  In creating

                    workable chemistry, CEO have looked for certain traits in a CFO stated by Ford (2000)

                    such as “superb financial skills, strong interpersonal skills, political sensitivity, the

                    ability to participate in and lead teams, strategic-thinking abilities, creativity, expertise

                    in macro and micro thinking” (84-85). Kroll (1997) in interviewing a prominent CEO

                    quotes him as saying he challenges his CFO to “run finance for the good of the company,

                    not for the good of finance” (p. 83-84). 

                          Major corporate bankruptcies and failures such as Enron Corporation have resulted in the Securities and Exchange Commission now requiring the “chief executive officer and chief financial officer…to personally certify, under oath, that their most recent financial statements are complete and accurate. The new rule applies to public companies with annual revenue in excess of 1.2 billion” (Fick, 2002, p. 1B). Both leaders are held jointly and legally accountable for the reporting of their corporations. 

                    The Chief Financial Officers’ Relationship to the Executive Board 

                          When making these reports to the executive board, Drucker (1992) states “it should always be remembered that financial reports are made for the information of members” (p. 166). 

                          Laporvsky & Moak (1999) states that a CFO’s “minimum responsibility is to provide the committee with essential information and to ensure that it is aware of the importance of policy decisions” (p. 58-59), and make “annual reports” (Roberts, 1998, p. 165) to the board. Millman (2001) comments that “boards have different personalities, and the relationship of the CFO with the board will be dictated in part by personalities involved and in part by the circumstances of the company” (p. 24-26).

                          Some executive boards will establish a “finance committee” (Carver & Carver, 1996, p.5) to assist the treasurer and chief financial officer in the review of the organizations financial operations in areas such as financial reports, operating budgets, and internal and external events that impact the fiscal operations of the organization.  The finance committee may also be a recommending committee to the executive board depending on the guidelines established for the purpose of the committee. 

                               There are organizations where the CFO is not a member of the executive board. However, as the challenging trends in the global business society and economy continue to fluctuate, this will impact the composition of executive boards.  The established need for clarification of financial reporting will continue to increase due to the recent bankruptcies and failures of large corporations. This condition will necessitate that CFOs, according to Livingston (2000), be added as board “candidates because they have years of experience facing the real operational challenges of control financial reporting, in addition to bring extensive general business to the table” (p. 6).

                          Boards are generally composed of “a group of people who collectively make decisions to facilitate accomplishments of goals over time” (Healthcare Financial Management, 1998, p.48-50) in their organizations. Corporate Finance (1999) reports “most boards do not focus on one effective individual but are more concerned about teams working together” (p. 13). In business organizations Carver (1997) states “the governing board is as high in structure as one can go and still be within the organizational framework.  Its total authority is matched by its total accountability for all corporate activity” (p. 2) and it is generally practiced that some form of executive governing body will be created to govern the affairs of the company.  Carver (1997) identifies the body that governs the organization as “corporate boards”, “board of directors”, “board of trustees”, “board of regents”, and similar titles denote groups that have authority exceeded only by owners and the state” (p.2) who Drucker (1967) identifies as “special organs whose purpose is to meet” (p. 45) and conduct the business of the organization. 

                          The constitution of boards and committees differ depending on the organization,

                    industry, and geographical location.  Regarding the location of the business as it relates to

                    the structure of the boards, Drucker (1974) states “different countries provide for

                    memberships” (p. 627) which reflects the idea and reality that “boards are essential”

                    (Drucker, 1998, p. 135) to the organization because members can provide “advise and

                    counsel” (Dell, 1989, p. 21) to executive leadership that will enhance the success of the


                          The effects of the collapse of the Enron Corporation has sparked these comments

                    that “if boards are really going to do something useful, the first thing they need to do is

                    is make the truth their number one priority” (Lucus, 2002, p. 10). Fink (2002), also

                    referring to the effects of Enron on corporate governance issues states “how the board

                    is functioning, whether it appears to investors that there’s board independence, and

                    committees that have the competence and ability to do the job” (p. 46).

                          In analyzing board structures and the effectiveness of boards, Drucker (1992) says that “making a board effective requires spelling out its work, setting specific objectives for its performance and contributions, and regularly appraising the board’s performance against these objectives” (p. 249).   As executive boards and committees meet to discuss the business of the organization, Thomsett (1989) states “the purpose, format, and

                    attendance all dictates the nature of a meeting” (p. 7) that will be held with the members of the board.



                                The literature presented in this section reveals the position of the chief financial

                    officer in the scope of roles, responsibilities, and relationships pertaining to profit and not-for-profit organizations.  The qualifications and traits desired to occupy the position, and also the organizational operational influences that affect the position of the chief

                    financial officer.

                          The position of the chief financial officer will continue to change and evolve in

                    organizations as industries world-wide continue to experience constant change as a result

                    of changes in the societal and global climates that influence the economic community.  


                    CHAPTER THREE 




                          The general intent of this chapter is to explain and present the methods and procedures that will be used in the research process of this study involving the position of the treasurer in local conferences in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.  

                          This chapter is divided into the following sections for review:  (1) research design; (2) sites selected; (3) purposeful sampling process; (4) self as the researcher; (5) data collection strategies; (6) inductive data analysis; (7) validity; (8) generalizability. 

                    Research Design 

                          The research design is chosen to best answer the research questions proposed in the study. This study’s research design will consist of “mixed methods” (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2003). Creswell (2003) “define mixed methods research by incorporating the definition …that focuses on collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study” (p. 210). Other terms that are used for this research approach is “integrating, synthesis, quantitative and qualitative methods, multimethod, and multimethodology” (Creswell, 2003, p. 210).      

                              Priority in this study will be given to the qualitative phase which Rudestam and Newton (1992) stated “qualitative implies that data are in the form of words as opposed to numbers” (p. 31).  Some quantitative techniques will also be used to collect data along with the qualitative techniques which “employs interviews and observations” (Davis & Parker, 1997, p. 68).

                            Merriam (1998) stated “qualitative research is designed to inductively build rather

                    than to test concepts, hypotheses, and theories” (p. 45).  As the researcher engages in using the qualitative style of research Posavac and Carey (1997) conceptualized “the single most distinctive aspect of qualitative research is the personal involvement of the evaluation in the process of gathering data” (p. 217).

                          The research questions concerning the position of the treasurer are listed as follows:

                      1a. What are the expected roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer

                            as perceived by the treasurers, presidents, and executive board members?     

                      1b. Is there congruence between the expectations and perceptions of the 

                            treasurers, presidents, and executive board members as it relates to the roles,  

                            responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer?

                      2a. How are the expected roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer 

                            as perceived by treasurers, presidents, and executive board members


                          2b. Is there congruence between the perceptions of the treasurers, presidents, and

                                executive board members as it relates to how the expected roles,

                                responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurer are communicated?  

                    Sites Selected 

                          The sites selected for this study will consist of the locations of the conferences where the treasurers and presidents selected for in-depth interviews and observations are


                          A critical element in the research process involving the selection of the participants and the sites is the belief expressed by McMillan and Schumacher (2001) “that human actions are strongly influenced by the settings in which they occur” (p.16).  The “selection criteria used are essential in choosing the people on sites to be studies”

                    (Merriam, 1998, p. 61) and “gaining entry into the field requires establishing good

                    relations with all individuals at the research site” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001,


                          In the selection of the participants, the “potential harm to subjects that might result from their participation” (Patten, 2000, p. 25) in the study has been given thoughtful consideration. Eisner (1998) states “the researcher knows before the event this

                    is to be observed what the event will be and its possible effects” (p. 214) on the participants. 

                          On site visitations and observations will facilitate the study of the participants’

                    environment as the researcher seeks to understand “the social phenomenon from the

                    participants’ perspective” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001, p.15-16) in the areas where

                    the participants perform their professional services. 

                    Purposeful Sampling Process 

                         The participants selected for the study will consist of treasurers, presidents, and

                    executive board members of the local conferences.   “Selection of persons for in-depth

                    interviews begins with a description of the desired attributes or profiles of persons who would have knowledge of the topic” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001, p. 443). In this study they will be the conference treasurers and presidents identified for research case study from four selected exemplary conferences.

                          The researcher’s intent is to research a “few cases in depth” that will generate “many insights about the topic” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001, p. 401). This selected procedure results in a non-probability sampling approach which according to Chien (1981) is called “purposive”, and Patton (1990) calls it “purposeful” as stated by Merriam (1998, p. 61).

                          This type of sampling requires the researcher to target “key informants, groups,

                    places, or events to study” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001, p 401), and as Patten (2000)

                    states “purposively select those whom we believe will give us the best information as

                    participants” (p. 45) in the study.  Purposive sampling requires that the researcher first

                    establish the scope of the study and Pyrczak (1999) states “researchers should indicate

                    the basis or criteria for the selection of a purposive sample” (p. 59).      

                          The method of selecting the participants using “expert” treasurers and presidents from the division and union levels in North America who are not involved in the study enables the researcher to reduce potential biases in the selection of the participants. According to Endicott and Spitzer (1975) in the book Program Evaluations the usage of “experts not involved in the program being evaluated are the least biased sources of information” (p. 69) as it related performing direct observations in a research study by the

                    researcher.  In the study to be conducted, the research will be interactive with the

                    researcher engaging in interviews and observations, while using a non-interactive

                    quantitative instrument in the form of questionnaires to gather additional data for the


                         As researcher, I have selected the following process to identify the professional experts in the field pertaining to this study.

                    1. The treasurer and president of the North American Division of Seventh-day

                            Adventists will identify conference treasurers and presidents who exemplify and

                            model outstanding professional roles and relationships.

                    1. The treasurers and presidents in the union conferences will identify treasurers and

                            presidents in the local conferences in their territories who exemplify and model

                            outstanding professional roles and relationships.

                    1. Combining the expert suggestions from 1 and 2, I will choose 4 conferences that meet the following criteria.
                    1. Treasurers and presidents who are currently serving in the position with at least three years of experience.
                    1. Executive Board Members who are currently serving in the position with at least three years of experience as a board member.
                    2. Willingness to be a part of the study.
                    3. Conference headquarters whose geographical location is nearest the researcher.

                    Self as the Researcher 

                           The following story tells about my experience as a treasurer and chief financial officer whose encounter with an organization was frustrated by the lack of clear work expectations. The story captures my “lived experience.”

                          “I had been elected to the position of chief financial officer about three weeks

                    prior to my first executive committee meeting without any foreknowledge that a change

                    was coming. No one had asked me how I felt about the change, neither had I been

                    interviewed nor dialogued with regarding my feeling, interests, qualifications, or ideas

                    related to the prospect of assuming the new role.

                          However, I found myself in the position of chief financial officer.  Maybe, due to 

                    my prior experiences in the department it was felt that no orientation was necessary.  I

                    received no instruction, manual, or documents regarding my role, responsibilities, and

                    relationships as chief financial officer.    

                               About three weeks passed and it was time for my first executive board committee meeting. I soon discovered the challenges of leading an organization financially is an awesome task, especially when the resources needed to fulfill the mission of the

                    organization were not as plentiful as one would desire. It was amazing how different the

                    position looked when you are not occupying the position, sort of like being an arm chair

                    quarterback playing the football game from the chair or couch at home rather than on the field during the game. Thinking, desiring, hoping, wanting, and wondering how I could make a positive impact on my organization, I stayed up most of the previous night preparing for the morning executive committee meeting. Because of serious financial difficulties I planned to make major recommendations to the board.  The organization was challenged financially with major financial deficits and the fiscal obligations at that time seemed almost insurmountable and impossible to overcome.  In addition to improving the overall functional services of the treasury department, I had been elected to resolve the financial issues related to the fiscal operations of the organization. 

                          The board meeting that morning was filled with different agendas, agendas that in 

                    my mind were not as important as addressing the financial issues of the organization.  In

                    the meeting, with rising tones and captivating non-verbal actions and displays, I

                    communicated my sense of urgency as the chief financial officer of the organization. 

                    This perspective coming from me may have been more critical as treasurer, rather

                    than as a member of the board with the responsibility of needing to understand the bigger

                    picture of the organization. What I thought would be an opportunity for Christian

                    service, fellowship, and commitment to making a professional contribution in my

                    organization became the beginning of an emotional rollercoaster.    Sudden dips and

                    turns, highs and lows, would seem to last for years because of what appeared to be

                    major conflicts in relationships, leadership philosophies, and the role and responsibilities

                    of the treasurer as it related to the president (CEO) and executive board members

                    perspectives in the organization.

                           I have often wondered how different my early experiences may have been as a

                    treasurer and chief financial officer in my organization if I had been properly orientated

                    in the role, responsibilities, and relationships pertaining to the position.  Eventually, with

                    much prayer, trials and errors, I adjusted and learned, while the conference continued to

                    grow and achieve historical accomplishments even during the periods of intense change

                    in the culture and climate of the organization with me as its treasurer.  But the position is

                    still undefined as more individuals continue to struggle, experiencing anger,

                    frustration, anxiety, loneliness, wondering if they made a mistake by accepting the

                    position.  Others may simply choose to resign and work for another organization where

                    their role, responsibilities, and relationships in the organization are more defined.

                          Some individuals will continue to struggle silently and others openly, until the

                    problem of not knowing what the position of the treasurer is supposed to entail from the perceptions of the treasurer, president, and executive board is understood, documented and made available for orientation and reference to those occupying key relationships to that position in the local conference organizations.” 


                          The experience above highlights what Merriam (1998) states as “the first task,

                    then, in conducting a qualitative study is to raise a question about something that perplexes and challenges the mind” (p. 57).  It is evident from the brief encounter stated

                    in the treasurer’s (CFO’s) phenomenon that there are problems in understanding of the expectations of what the treasurers’ role, responsibilities, and relationships are and how the presidents (CEOs) and executive board may also perceive and view the position of the treasurer. 

                          The researcher will use research techniques that will enable “the researcher to

                    interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them” (McMillan &

                    Schumacher, 2001, p. 395). While engaging in a qualitative study, the research will need to utilize what Rudestam and Newton (1992) term as “important skills” that “include listening, observing, and forming an empathic alliance with the subject” (p. 33). 

                          Additional skills that the researcher role will require to be effective in conducting a qualitative study involve what Merriam (2001) states as a “tolerance for ambiguity”,

                    “sensitivity”, and “being a good communicator” (p.20-23) as well as being “detached

                    from the study to avoid to bias” (p. 16) while gathering data and interpreting the

                    information received in the study. 

                          The researchers’ role in collecting data should reflect what Erickson (1973) describes as “disciplined subjectivity” which involves “the researchers’ self-questioning and use of personal experimental empathy in data collection” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001, p. 411).   

                    Data Collection Strategies 

                                Data will be collected in two phases using the sequential exploratory strategy  

                    model as a part of the mixed methods research design.  Creswell (2003) states “this  

                    model is characterized by an initial phases of qualitative data collection and analysis, 

                    which is followed by a phase of quantitative data collection and analysis” (p. 215). 

                    He also states in this strategy, “the priority is given to the qualitative aspect of the study,”  

                    and “the primary focus of this model is to explore a phenomenon” (Creswell, 2003, p.  


                          Data collection, according to McMillan and Schumacher (2001), “may be done with measurement techniques, extensive interviews and observations, or a collection of

                    documents” (p. 9).  However, depending “on the cost of obtaining data, the type of

                    decision to be made on the basis of the evaluation, the size of the program, and the time

                    available to conduct the evaluation” (Posavac & Carey, 1997, p.70) will also influence

                    the study.  In the collection of data Sternberg states that “it is very important to remind oneself continually to what purposes the data are being collected, regardless of method” (p.113).   Most important in the collection of data, is the date in which the data was collected that will be used to help answer the research questions.

                          The following primary strategies have been selected for the collection of data in this study and they are listed as follows: (1) interviews; (2) questionnaires; and (3) observations.  Additional data that may be collected includes a written survey and

                    artifacts and documents which McMillan and Schumacher (2001) describes as “tangible

                    manifestations that describe peoples’ experience, knowledge, actions, and values” (p. 451). 


                          This study will consist of detailed, in-depth, face-to-face interviews of four

                    conference treasurers and presidents selected for this study using the purposive sampling

                    strategies criteria.  The purpose of utilizing this method of data collection is to capture the

                    perceptions of the treasurers and presidents as it relates to the roles and responsibilities

                    of the treasurer, and their working relationship as officers in the conference.  This data

                    will enable the researcher to further clarify the problems related to this study and answer

                    the research questions by sharing the experiences of experts in this field.

                          As the researcher conducts interviews in the study, Merriam (1998) states “the main purpose of an interview is to obtain a special kind of information” (p. 71).  Information from the participants in a study Merriam quotes Patton (1990) as stating is what “is and on someone else’s mind” (p. 278).  Conducting interviews requires the researcher to “listen to what people have to say about their activities, their feelings, their lives” (Eisner, 1998, p. 183).

                          The interviewing approach that will be utilized in this study with the treasurers and presidents in what McMillan and Schumacher (2001) state as an “Interactive Qualitative Inquiry” (p. 35) where the participants will engage in an in-depth, face-to-face interview  with the researcher in their natural settings at the selection site.  Participant questioning will be formatted to avoid “yes’ or “no” responses (Posavac & Carey, 1997, p. 222) as the researcher seeks to understand the participant’s perspectives in their life experiences and phenomenon as it relates to the study. 

                    Interview Protocol Guidelines and Questions

                                The participants in this study will be asked to provide information regarding the following topics: (a) personal data, (b) the expected roles of the treasurer: past, present, and future, based on their own experiences and perceptions as presidents and treasurers, (c) the expected responsibilities of the treasurer: past, present, and future, based on their own experiences and perceptions as presidents and treasurers, (d) the expected relationships of the treasurer: past, present, and future, based on their own experiences and perceptions as presidents and treasurers, (e) what are the minimum qualifications, skills, and traits that should be considered for a treasurer: past, present, and future, (f) how are the expectations of the treasurer’s roles, responsibilities, and relationships are communicated: past, present, and future, (g) how conference treasurers and presidents build and maintain positive working relationships with each other, (h) how treasurers build and maintain positive working relationships with the executive boards, (i) how organizational influences such as size, structure, financial status, and financial reporting influence the position of the treasurer, and (j) culminating questions.

                                During the interview process, a tape recorder and note pad will be used to record the conversations between the participant and the researcher.  The protocol questions for the conference treasurer and president are listed as follows:

                    1. Please identify your position in this conference.
                    2. How many years have you been in your position at this conference? How many      

                             years in total?

                    1. Please tell me your educational background and work experience.
                    2. What is your perception of the expected current role (s) of the treasurer?

                      4a.  What is your perception of the expected past role (s) of the treasurer?

                      4b.  What is your perception of the expected future role (s) of the treasurer?

                    1. In your opinion, what is the most important role (s) of the treasurer?
                    2. What is your perception of the expected current responsibilities of the treasurer?

                      6a.  What is your perception of the expected past responsibilities of the treasurer?

                      6b.  What is your perception of the expected future responsibilities of the treasurer?

                    1. In your opinion, what are the most important responsibilities of the treasurer?
                    2. Please describe the current expected relationship of the treasurer to the


                      8a.  Please describe the past expected relationship of the treasurer to the president?

                      8b.  Please describe the future expected relationship of the treasurer to the president?

                    1. In your opinion, how should the expected role (s), responsibilities, and

                      relationships of the treasurer be communicated to the treasurer currently?

                          9a.  In your opinion, how were the expected role (s), responsibilities, and

                                 relationships of the treasurer communicated to the treasurer in the past?

                          9b.  In your opinion, how will the expected role (s), responsibilities, and

                                 relationships of the treasurer be communicated to the treasurer in the future?

                    1. On average, how much time do you spend together on a weekly basis with the 

                              treasurer or president discussing conference matters? Engaging in leisure time?

                    1.   In what way does your time spent together with your president or treasurer   

                              enhances your relationship with that individual?

                    1.   Please identify some effective strategies a treasurer can use to build and

                              maintain a positive relationship with the president?

                      12a. Please identify some effective strategies a treasurer can use to build and maintain

                              a positive relationship with the executive board?

                    1.   Please identify some things that can create an adverse or negative relationship

                              between a treasurer and president?

                      13a. Please identify some things that can create an adverse or negative relationship

                              between a treasurer and executive board?

                    1.   In your opinion, what are some essential skills and character traits a

                        conference treasurer should have to serve in the position currently?     

                    1.   In your opinion, how has those current essential skills and character traits

                        changed from the past?  How will they differ or evolve in the future?

                    1.   Are there any questions that you wished I had asked and did not?
                    2.   Is there anything else you would like to tell me before we conclude this



                            In this study a survey questionnaire will be developed using the information from exemplary conferences to describe the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the treasurers throughout the North American Division. Once the instrument is ready, questionnaires will be mailed to all the local conference treasurers, presidents, and random sample of executive board members in the North American Division excluding the Southwest Region Conference. 

                            The data collected from the questionnaires will we be used to enable the researcher to further answer the research questions related to this study by analyzing the responses from the professionals who have experience in the field of study.

                            Questionnaires will be developed for all the participants in the study and the

                      instrument according to Kraut (1996) “should be written in behavior terms that minimize

                      rather subjectively and judgment, rather than in broad trait terms” (p. 127).  The

                      questionnaire will be designed to “be as concise as possible while still covering the

                      necessary range of subject matter required in the study” (Rea & Parker, 1997, p. 43).

                           The distribution of surveys to research participants will reflect what Kraut (1996) stated “as a general rule, it is best to maintain the anonymity of survey respondents” (p. 392) when conducting surveys which will enhance more open and honest responses to the questions asked by the researcher. 

                      Observations and Field Notes 

                            The researcher will visit the four exemplary conferences selected in the study to observe the treasurers in their natural environments in the specific area of financial reporting to their executive boards, and responding to and addressing issues related to treasurer’s position during the board meeting. In the observation process, the verbal and nonverbal mannerisms of the treasurers, presidents, and board members in the executive board meeting will be noted in response to the treasurer’s reports.

                            In order to gain a deeper understanding of the treasurers’ position including the roles, responsibilities, and relationships involved, the researcher will use the procedure of

                      recording field notes in the study.  In observing the participants, Rea and Parker (1997)

                      state “a primary characteristic of observation is that it involves the direct study of

                      behavior by simply watching the subjects of the study without intruding upon them and

                      recording certain critical natural responses to their environment” (p. 3). 

                            However, Patten (2000) stated “as useful as everyday observations often are, they can be misleading and often are misinterpreted” (p. 3) so the researcher must exercise care while using this data collection strategy.  The researcher needs to gather what Davis and Parker (1997) states as “a rich set of observations” (p. 68) as interpretations of the study continue to develop in the qualitative process.

                            The researcher in this study will be observing the participants to learn more about how treasurers interact with their presidents and boards while they are giving financial reports executive committee meetings.  The researcher will also be looking for specific

                      indications of confidence, articulation, disposition, responsiveness, competence,

                      mannerism, effective communications, and relationship interactions by treasurer as the

                      financial reports are being given and information is exchanged during the board meeting. 

                      Inductive Data Analysis 

                            Merriam (1998) describes data analysis as “the process of making sense out of the

                      data” (p. 178). In collecting the data, “inductive reasoning allows one to explore and

                      discover with an emerging research design rather that to test deductions from theories in a

                      predetermined design” (McMillan and Schumacher, 2001, p. 91).

                            As the researcher implements various data collection strategies mentioned in the

                      study, there must be what Rudestam and Newton (1992) state as “making sense of the

                      data in naturalistic sense” (p. 114) whereby inductive analysis is used and as McMillan

                      and Schumacher (2001) noted “categories and patterns emerge from the data rather than

                      being imposed on data prior to data collection” (p. 462).

                            To facilitate the process of inductive data analysis, a system of organization will be developed that will enable the researcher to identify data collected from interview

                      transcripts, tape recorded sessions, observation notes, documents, and questionnaires.

                      Information will be coded and placed in index boxes and The Ethnograph Research Software according to the categories it represents which will continue to emerge as theme and concepts as the study develop.




                            The “validity of qualitative designs is the degree to which the interpretation and

                      concepts have mutual meanings between the participants and the researcher” (McMillan & Schumacher, 2001, p. 407). The researcher’s study will reflect the phenomena of the selected participants in their natural setting and information utilizing instruments of collection that will minimize potential threats to validity.  Proavac & Carey (1997) describes “two threats” to internal validity as “real changes that occur in participants due to influences that are not part of the program” (p. 148).

                            While “one of the persistent sources of difficulty for those using qualitative methods of research and evaluation pertains to questions about the validity of their work”

                      (Eisner, 1998, p.107), the researcher believes that incorporating most of the following strategies applicable to this study design will address those questions.

                            McMillan & Schumacher (2001) “strategies to enhance validity” includes the usage of “prolonged and persistent field work, multi-method strategies, participant language; verbatim accounts, low-inference descriptors, multiple researchers, mechanically recorded data, participant researcher, member checking, and participant review, and negative case and/or discrepant data” (p. 407-410).




                            “Most generalizations are derived from life itself” and “direct contact with the

                      qualitative world is one of our most important sources of generalizations” (Eisner, 1998,

                      p. 202). Individuals tend to generalize using the natural abilities afforded to many in life

                      such as hearing, touching, taste, smell, and sight with facilitates the capacities to create

                      ideas, images, analysis, matching of images, and application of skills. Eisner (1998) further states that “What generalizes is what one learns, and for our purposes these can be regarded as skills, images, and ideas” (p. 199).

                                  Drisko (1997) identifies generalizability as “transferability”, and according to Drisko, “transferability of results is often important to the consumer of qualitative studies. Any claims to transferability should be clearly stated and should be consistent with the study philosophy, objectives, and sample” (p.188).

                            Eisner (1998) states “in qualitative case studies the researcher can also generalize, but it is more likely that readers will determine whether the research findings fit the situation in which they work” (p. 204), and “such studies are typically nonrandom, and as case studies they focus on the particular” (p. 207).



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