UCD Students’ Union have released their full financial accounts at Students’ Union Council, which is currently on-going. The report of the SU’s accounts, which was presented at Council, has revealed that as of June 2011, the Union was €1.42 million in debt. The Union is understood to be seeking refinancing of between €800,000 to €900,000. This marks the first time accounts have been filed by the Union since 2007/2008.
The large scale financial report, conducted by McNally Business Services Ltd, has revealed large-scale mishandling of Union finances, including missing documentation, a lack of a regulated accounting system, and found finding accounting records “a challenge in itself.”
According to the report, there were between 22,000 and 23,000 bank transactions made through the Union since 2007/8, with no explanation for 8,000 to 10,000 of those. Total debt was said to be less than €100,000 in 2007/8, marking an exponential increase in debt over the following four years. It was further concluded by McNally that the SU did not have the resources to run a business of its size.
McNally also identified issues with the structuring of the SU, with a number of past employees being paid in cash rather than being placed on the payroll. According to SU President Pat de Brún, poor structure for financial management in the Union, and a lack of individual responsibility and accountability, were the main reasons for the substantial amount of debt incurred. He also commented that UCDSU are in a “unique position” if they look to apply for bank loan, due to their yearly income of €700,000.
McNally further concluded that there was no indication of foul play within the accounts. If it were to be found that financial mismanagement had occurred within the SU during the period in question, the responsible parties would not be subject to regular sanctions as UCDSU was not a corporate structure at the time.
Final accounts will be released once they are cleared by external accountants, and are expected to be published in six weeks.