Organization that sent the volunteer: Grameen Foundation
It has been my pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with GreenLife Coconut Product Philippines, Inc. for a second time on an addendum to an earlier project. The objective of this project was to help GreenLife further streamline their financial management operations. This organization’s social mission is to create jobs and employment for the coconut farmers and help create a self-sustaining household in the coconut producing community. What started out as a small vendor in 1992 has now grown into a vibrant and innovative firm that sells a variety of coconut-based products to vendors both in the domestic and the overseas markets. Like many organizations, its financial systems are challenged to capture the entire life cycle of transactions that comprise it business operations thereby impacting GreenLife’s ability to optimize its resources and revenues.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team could not travel to the GreenLife location and instead obtained all relevant financial information virtually. The Grameen team conducted weekly meetings using Zoom to validate our understanding of the data and proved to be highly effective in obtaining an understanding of the current operations as well as using this information to compare with best practices used by the industry. The results of a gap analysis resulted in a list of recommendations that GreenLife management could consider for implementation. Recommendations included consideration of setting up a cooperative to help coconut farmers improve their revenue recognition methods, helping GreenLife capture all related business expenses that can be legitimately deducted for income tax purposes and the need to hire an external audit for conducting an independent audit of GreenLife’s financial records. I would like to commend my colleague, Mark Lagamia, who provided deep subject matter technical expertise as well as the legal implications of doing business in the Philippines. In addition, my heartfelt thanks to GreenLife management (Ms. Frances Rubio and her entire accounting staff) as well as Michael Pascual and Judith Agnoletto of Grameen Foundation for the leadership and project management skills to keep this project on track.
GreenLife’s management expressed their appreciation of the recommendations made by the volunteer team of advisors as they obtained a better grasp of the best practices used in the financial reporting of the agricultural industry operations. The issues identified were a critical aspect of financial reporting that will help reduce GreenLife’s tax burden. It will, further, attract external investors to inject capital to expand GreenLife’s operations beyond the borders of Philippines.
I hope that I have future opportunities to leverage my experience working on the GreenLife engagement and gain additional knowledge of the people, business practices, and culture of the Philippines.