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 CNS Story:

VATICAN-CONSULTANTS Dec-19-2013 (480 words) xxxi

Vatican hires firms to streamline communications, improve accounting

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to streamline and modernize its communications structures and bring its accounting practices in line with international standards, the Vatican hired two international consulting agencies.

The global management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company and the Netherlands-based financial and administrative consultation firm KPMG were hired after a "bidding and selection process," the Vatican said in a written statement Dec. 19.

The new partnerships were initiatives of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See, a panel of business and legal experts Pope Francis created in July to help the Vatican simplify and better coordinate its scattered resources, budgets, properties and assets.

McKinsey & Company was hired to provide recommendations for an "integrated plan" that would help make the Holy See's communications' outlets more "efficient and modern," the Vatican statement said.

The Vatican has nearly a dozen separate communication outlets and offices that operate independently of each other. They include the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano; Vatican Radio; the Vatican television station, CTV; the Vatican Information Service, VIS; the Vatican press hall; Fides missionary news agency; the main Vatican website; the news.va news aggregator; the Vatican publishing house LEV; and the Vatican printing press.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press hall and general director at Vatican Radio, told journalists that McKinsey would consider how to coordinate or integrate the many different outlets and adapt them to the world of digital communication.

He said what was "interesting and new" would be an "overarching look" at the situation from an objective "eye from the outside."

The company was to report its findings in the next few months to the papal commission, which will then make its recommendations to Pope Francis, Father Lombardi said.

KPMG will work with the commission to determine how to bring the accounting practices of every Vatican body and office in line with international standards, the Vatican statement said.

South African Cardinal Wilfred F. Napier of Durban told Catholic News Service in July that one major problem for the Vatican was the lack of a "unified finance controller and policy."

The cardinal, who is a member of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, and regularly reviews the Vatican budgets, said some Vatican offices work together and some are independent when it comes to budgeting and oversight.

Uniform and thorough budgeting approaches and accounting methods were lacking, he said.

The Vatican recently hired an international financial risk-management company, Promontory Financial Group, to review all the accounts and procedures of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See and the Vatican bank.

It also hired a team from Ernst & Young to carry out a "verification and consultation on the economic and administrative activities" of the office that runs Vatican City State.


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