OCCUL Technical Manager visits Micronesia and Philippines

By Luse Tamani, OCCUL Secretariat Officer

The Oceanic Confederation of Credit Union Leagues (OCCUL), the peak credit union body for the Pacific, provide ongoing technical assitance to their credit union members. Amal Kumar, OCCUL Technical Assistant travels far and wide to provide asssistance, he shares his latest travels with CUFA.

In early January the Oceania Confederation of Credit Union Leagues (OCCUL) Technical Manager travelled to the Federated State of Micronesia (FSM) to provide support to Mesenieng Credit Union (MCU) for the second year of the OCCUL Technical assistance program.

Planning for the trip transpired last year with a visit scheduled for November 2013 but due to the busy schedule for the OCCUL Technical Manager the trip was postponed to January 2014.The Micronesia trip was the second one for OCCUL Technical Manager, Mr Amal Kumar to the island of Pohnpei. Welcomed by the General Manager Mr Johnny and his team the Technical Manager felt as if he were home. This visit involved training the staff on Bookkeeping specifically the completion of tasks that the staff were having difficulties completing and assistance was provided with special focus on Bank Reconciliations. The request from the Mesenieng Credit Union (MCU) Manager Johnny was for Amal to conduct an audit of the current information system and the accounting system. The Credit Union also invited one of their representatives from the Philippines to help and answer any queries that the Amal had and also perform their annual maintenance on the system.

With the assistance provided to the team, the MCU staff managed to complete all outstanding tasks that they were assigned for the project. Amal completed the audit of the system and the interim findings were highlighted to the Board and the General Manager of MCU with regards to the information system that is currently being used by MCU. The audit highlighted that the system’s banking software didn’t capture some of the accounting back-office functions that credit unions need to capture. Amal also found some inconsistencies in the General Ledgers that were highlighted to the General Manager which were later corrected with his help and the IT representative. The inconsistencies were mainly from incorrect posting and postings missed which highlighted that the credit union needs a qualified accountant so that proper entries are performed. Due to the system not performing bank reconciliations the staff off MCU have been assigned to perform bank reconciliation manually to catch up with the current year while MCU Management looks into how to better solve the issues highlighted with the current system.

Following the FSM, Amal travelled to the Philippines to observe the support provided by the software company, MBphil. Discussions were held with the findings of the system audit and how it could be solved so that the system can capture other important features such as bank reconciliations and accounts payable that were not previously part of the system. Following several meetings, a proposal was provided by the software company in the Philippines, MBphil, on how to capture the items highlighted in the system audit. They also reviewed the possibility of implementing an accounting system to compliment the current system at MCU so that the current items that are not captured by the current system are included.

OCCUL will continue to assist MCU on the outstanding issues in the bid to see them having a fully automated system. Amal would like to thank Mr Johnny and the team for all their assistance during his time in Pohnpei and Manila.

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