Profile: Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman's Jim Larson

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May 01, 2017

Profile: Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman's Jim Larson

By Elizabeth Walsh

Director, Communications and Marketing

Industry Partner Profile: Jim Larson, Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman

Bethesda-based accounting firm Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman has been an InsideNGO Industry Partner for nearly three decades and was the first business to sign on in this role. In this profile, we meet Partner Jim Larson, who has been working at Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman for 25 years. He talks a bit about his work, changes in the financial reporting environment that are affecting NGOs today, and the benefits of the InsideNGO Industry Partner relationship.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your responsibilities at Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman.

As a partner, I am responsible for managing all phases of Uniform Guidance engagements for international private voluntary organizations receiving USAID and non-US government funds, and I travel extensively on behalf of clients in Africa, Europe, and Eurasia. I direct the audits of large organizations, including their field offices, and train their accounting and finance staff. This includes interacting with management and board members to communicate management comments, audit findings and specific issues, including improvements in accounting and operating systems, and systems of internal control. 

In March, you were in our training room as a participant in our flagship USAID Rules & Regulations: Grants & Cooperative Agreements workshop. You and some of your colleagues do this on an annual basis. Why?

Training is one of the most valuable InsideNGO assets. Not only do participants receive beneficial instruction on many technical topics through the workshops, roundtables, and the Annual Conference, my colleagues and I also participate for the networking aspect. There are very few places you can go and count on a room full of others engaged in international development.

The international development and NGO sector seems to be evolving at a rapid pace these days. What are you seeing, related to public accounting or changes in the financial reporting environment, that you think NGOs should be paying attention to?

One of the largest accounting concerns for international development organizations is the internal control environment. Some of these organizations have multiple field offices which makes uniform application of policies and procedures very challenging. Adopting a framework and testing internal controls is important for NGOs of all structures and sizes. This is the only way the organization can be sure that donations are applied appropriately to support important objectives.

Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman was InsideNGO’s first industry partner. What are the benefits of this partnership from your perspective?

In addition to what we experience working with our international clients, InsideNGO is how we stay informed about industry news and the trends that are shaping the development community. Our partnership also gives us additional visibility in a niche that is such a large part of our business.

This year, once again, your firm is a gold sponsor for the InsideNGO Annual Conference. Thank you! Will we see you at the Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman booth this year?

Yes. I look forward to seeing you, your InsideNGO colleagues, InsideNGO members, and many of our clients from around the world at this year’s conference.

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