On April 22, 2014, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) held its spring semester dinner meeting in Niagara University’s Bisgrove Hall. The event was sponsored by Niagara University’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), an international honor society for accounting and financial information students and professionals.
Presenting that evening was the Rev. John Gouldrick, C.M., Associate V.P. for Mission at Niagara University and who also has many years of experience as an accountant. He discussed “Accounting in a Church Organization” delving into various issues relative to church accounting, faithful stewardships, and internal controls.
Brian Krauss and Anthony Casilio, representing the IMA, each provided a brief welcome. Andrew Daum, BAP member and a junior accounting major who recommended Father Gouldrick to speak, was then invited to introduce him.
Father Gouldrick began his talk discussing his career in the priesthood and accounting, explaining how the two were often intertwined. He explained that it all started with an aptitude test in his youth, results showing that he had a propensity for accounting. He kept this in mind and came to Niagara University in 1959 as an accounting major, though by his junior year, Father Gouldrick started to feel the calling toward priesthood. Even though he wasn’t sure whether this was the path for him, he chose to leave Niagara for the seminary, where he stayed for four years (though he had only planned on a six-month trial period).
Instead of finishing up his accounting degree, the seminary realized that it would be faster for him to take a single course at LaSalle College to complete his B.A. through the seminary. In 1969, he was ordained, and throughout his many years as a priest, he bounced between teaching, service and accounting. During this time, he completed his MBA from Niagara and a doctorate in sacred theology, and worked as the provincial treasurer at Niagara for nine years, as well as being the treasurer general in Rome for the worldwide congregation of Vincentians. Throughout his years in the priesthood, Father Gouldrick developed a unique perspective on accounting. He stated, “Even in accounting you have to take into account justice with the people you serve.”
Father Gouldrick summarized his presentation with what he had learned in his many years and many various jobs. Through his association with religious people in financial ministry, he feels that he was taught a proper attitude toward money while working for a not-for-profit organization. Working in that field, there is a conviction that they were stewards over the money entrusted to them to be used for the poor. He also learned the importance of introducing strong internal controls into financial operations. He commented that there should also be a strong importance placed on professionalism and integrity.
Christopher Aquino, assistant professor of accounting, stated, “His career with the church included a number of interesting twists and turns, many of which required the financial skills he developed as an accounting student at NU. Father Gouldrick was both engaging and extremely candid when describing the workings of the church and the need for good accountants in the process. Thanks go out to Father Gouldrick for sharing the highlights of his fascinating career with our students and to the IMA and BAP for their support of this wonderful event.”