GRAP 103 season has started, and is already in full swing as museums, libraries, archives, and galleries rush to meet the deadlines for financial reporting at the end of this financial year. We are offering a range of support to help your institution prepare and to improve your GRAP 103 readiness.

GRAP 103 is an accounting standard for addressing the need to account for heritage assets, which were not previously considered as assets for financial accounting, where these financial assets are commonly referred to as Property, Plan, and Equipment – being assets which are used in the production activities of the organisation. Heritage Assets include anything preserved for future generations, and which are managed under curation processes rather than as formal inventories of stock etc.

GRAP 103 requires that you have records of your collections which are fit-for-purpose for accounting reporting, including:

  • what you have in your collections?
  • do you own these? do they belong to others? are some of your collections outside of your control?
  • where are the collections located?
  • what is the condition of the objects?
  • what is the value of these objects?

Answering these questions may be easy or difficult in your case, and in the worst-case situation every one of these questions is a challenge for you to answer. It is common for you to need help, but also common that most institutions lack funds for full-scale external project.

For the national museums, those falling under the Cultural Institutions Act, there has been a concession to delay qualification for non-compliance, based on the issues arising in complying. However, this concession period is coming to an end and many museums are still unprepared, and they also contain the largest collections in the country.

I have assembled a broad team of experts to support GRAP 103 implementation, consisting of project managers, accountants, subject-matter experts, inventorying specialists, and database experts. Over the past few months we have been adapting our ETHER Base collection management system to provide GRAP 103 support to assist with the creation of electronic inventories, including a small scaled-down version which can run for GRAP 103 data capture on site in your institution.

My focus is to increase your readiness for a successful GRAP 103 audit, and to show what you can do to get yourselves organised. I am a strong believer in institutional self-sufficiency, and this is a core motivation for the creation of our ETHER Education business unit in 2012, which has had more than 300 participants on our wide range of museum and heritage workshops. My focus is on capacity development, while also providing the larger-scale project support as required.

We are now offering the following GRAP 103-related services, using both our internal teams and incorporating our large base of associated experts and consulting firms:

  • A Two-Day Workshop on “GRAP 103 Readiness”
  • Collection policy and procedure development
  • Project management of GRAP 103 projects
  • Data management, including the consolidation of a variety of different records into a consolidated electronic inventory using data migration, data cleaning and data beneficiation.
  • Inventory development, auditing of inventory information (including verification of location and condition)
  • Subject-matter inventorying
  • Cataloguing (not required for GRAP 103)
  • Valuation of cultural and natural history collections
  • Preparation of GRAP 103 financial statements

We can also extend this to provide related support for museum and collection management improvements, including:

  • Cataloguing – including collection-specific catalogue records
  • Collection Management Systems implementation and customisation
  • Condition checking and conservation support
  • Conservation materials (through our ETHER Conservation business unit)
  • Digitisation (through our ETHER Digital business unit)

I plan to follow up regularly with blogs on specific GRAP 103 topics of interest and I welcome your inputs on what is of interest to you.

Please send comments to me as well as anything you may wish to know further about what we can offer to help you build up your capacity towards self-sufficiency. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr Roger Layton (roger.layton@ether.co.za)

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