We asked the Audit Commission to tell us about the reform they are carrying out. Its President Luca Bisighini focuses on what could be improved and explains why he decided to present his candidature for this demanding European position, also talking us through his choice of the Subcommissioners. His future plans involve fostering clear communication and bringing finance back among the hot topics in AEGEE.
The AEGEEan: What is the Audit Commission?
Audit Commission: Well, I do not want to copy and paste what the CIA already says, so I will provide a personal answer. We are one (together with CIRC, FATF and the Financial Director of AEGEE-Europe) of the European Bodies dealing with Finances in AEGEE. We are entitled to check Financial Reports of Locals and AEGEE-Europe, to present our Activity Reports, and blablabla. But we can do more: we can help locals. We can provide locals with education, lessons of management and, in general, help!
What ideas do you have for improving the Audit Commission?
Lots of ideas: from communication (more channels and ways to communicate with us), to organisation (a NetCom-alike one), to promotion (massive), to education (necessary to have it widespread), to enhancing the quality of the data we have and we will have (through feedback and contacts), and to raising awareness on delicate topics (financial/legal regulation, quality of financial formal education, etc).
How do you think you could improve the communication between the Audit Commission and the Locals?
We implemented the team of SubCommissioners, probably the biggest one so far, to establish direct contact with the locals (even in their own languages), in order to allow them to be in a real forum for discussing about the problems they might have, we want to be there anytime they need us. The locals have been and always will be friends of the AC. It is good that we provide them a friendly reminder, with Cats and Cash.
Can you tell us something in advance about the Working Plan for the upcoming year?
I do not like giving spoilers just a few days before its official publication on the Members’ Portal. But you will be impressed.
Why did you create a new Communication Channel (Facebook Group for treasurers)?
As far as I know, Finances were the biggest Pandora Vase nobody wanted to open for years, despite every antenna had to and must deal with it.
Most of the projects/Interest Groups/Commissions and Committees and Working Groups had their own public space of discussion, mainly on Facebook. It is the easiest and the most widespread tool among the AEGEEans. Several people had the idea to open such groups in the past as well. Some of those groups were kind of active, but then abandoned.
Now, the Audit Commission has its own official group for the years to come, where everyone is entitled to express their own thoughts about our work, to hopefully enhance the overall level of AEGEE-Europe’s financial communications and discussions. It was more than necessary.
In AEGEE we use it very often, but for our readers who do not know: what is the Podio system and how do you think it will ease your work in the AC?
Podio is a web platform/app, mostly used in AEGEE by the Comité Directeur, Network Commission and
many other projects or committees. It combines a calendar, tasks, apps and much more. It is a good management tool. It is a very user-friendly working app like many others, nothing much difficult. We will use it mainly for the AC Financial Report of the 2016/17 Term. For sure, it will ease a lot the way of submitting the Financial Reports.
Tell us something about the new Subcommissioners. Which criteria have been chosen to select them?
They are 21, and all of them (Amy, Anna, Astrid, Avram, Blažo, Bruna, Ceyda, Cheyma, Dennis, Javid, Lavderim, Liis, Mareike, Maria, Marijana, Michele, Nils, Oğuzhan, Olivera, Teresa, Victoria) are special and great in their own way. I am proud of them and I think that despite the distances and our differences, we are an awesome team. They are enthusiastic of being part of this team and they expressed great points and ideas until now. I am deeply sure we will all do a remarkable job this year.
About criteria, I accepted most of them, they expressed enthusiasm and willingness to be part of this team. I also took a look at the non-formal education experiences, the AEGEE experience, the internship/jobs they had, volunteering and NGOs experience, other types of management tasks they had in the past and much more. Luckily, all of them have some kind of economic background to be exploited and the willingness to learn and make me learn, too. Unfortunately, for some antennae there were more than just one candidate, reason why I needed to discard some candidates and choose just one member. Of course, I chose the most experienced one with regards to AEGEE experience.
Which criteria have been followed to assign the Subcommies to each Local?
Mostly, spoken languages and geographical areas to cover, together with some previous experiences as well. Dividing the network was not that easy, and remember that SubCommies in Audit cannot take care of their own antenna: a transparency enhancement policy the Audit will respect according to CIA rules.
Why did you decide to apply as Commissioner and then President of the Audit Commission?
Actually, one great friend from AEGEE-Cagliari talked to me during the visit at Chernobyl, after Agora Kyiv, and I was convinced. It was my first Agora ever and despite the fact that the position was still being open, I did not want to show up when nobody knew about me. I was one of the usual fifty per cent newbies at the Agora, knowing nothing, despite my fellow delegate from AEGEE-Brescia was a guy named Gunnar Erth. Maybe you heard about him.
I was not aware about all the rules and first, I wanted to prove something to AEGEE, as a policy of trust. I also told this to Carina Van Hoof in Agora Bergamo, when she asked.
Moreover, I was finishing my second Erasmus+ in Turkey, I needed to write my thesis, I thought about applying to Autumn Agora Chisinau and I did not know about the opening calls for Bergamo. Then, there was a chance to run in Bergamo and I jumped in, with no fears.
Just a few days before the Agora, I graduated in my MBA in International Business and Trade, so I had the chance to spend my time in a space I could give my best.
Then, in Bergamo, I was asked whether I would have run for the Audit Commission in Chisinau, if I had been elected. I promised to do it. Well, I was elected, and a few months later, on the 23rd of August, ahead of time (the applications for Agora Chisinau had just started on the 22nd of August), I decided to run again. I hoped to be with somebody. Well, nobody showed up, so here we are.
Why do you think that there are only a few people showing interest in the activities of the AC?
Maybe for a very long time nobody tried to promote the Audit as one of the greatest commissions in AEGEE. Instead, we are restoring its allure, its prestige, not just doing the hard work and presenting the outcomes as everybody does. To me, it does not sound strategic at all to gather enthusiasm towards it, and everything but a long run successful thing.
For most of the people I know, the Audit Commission was something complicated, too far, enough of having heard questions like “What is Audit?” during an Agora from Delegates. Oh god.
That is why I decided to simplify it, and use one idea coming from the former president Mateusz Muszalski: using #CatsAndCash. Just a lot more. Dzieki Mateusz! Indeed, the most successful commission is the Network one, because they probably carry on the biggest tasks, but we also have lots of tasks and hard work to deal with that most of the people are not even aware of.
With the Juridical Commission, we are the oldest Commission, since we were both founded during the Autumn Agora Sevilla in November 1987. Yes, two Commissions born during the Franck Biancheri’s presidency era, something that should sound prestigious and remarkable to all AEGEEans. The Network Commission (NC) might be just in its 20s, while the JC and the AC will turn 30 in 2017. We are the older siblings of NC and MedCom.
In general, the interest towards the AC comes if you are able to deliver the messages in a clear and easy way, and if you are willing enough to stay close to the locals like some great Commissioners do and were able to do in the past. Finances were a ‘no’ topic or a topic for the voiceless in AEGEE? Well, we will be the voice of the voiceless. We need to bring back the interest and the discussions towards finances in a vibrant way. And then, maybe, the interest in the AC will arise till new and undiscovered peaks. I am sure we will get there.
Written by Matteo Lai, AEGEE-Cagliari.