Archdiocese Local

New internal auditor delighted to be ‘back to serving’

Nancy Oviedo is the new internal auditor in the finance department of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. She replaced Mike Horn, who retired. It will be Oviedo’s job to review the financial procedures and safeguards at archdiocesan parishes and other Catholic entities. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — “In Spanish there is a saying, ‘We all have a place in our Lord’s vineyard,’” said Nancy Oviedo.

After 12 years of working at the nonprofit philanthropic organization Unbound, she thought she was on track to return to the corporate world. However, we all have a place . . .

“Guess what? Somebody had a different plan for me, because here I am, back to serving!” said Oviedo, a member of St. John Paul II Parish in Olathe. She has four adult children.

On Feb. 19, Oviedo became the new internal auditor in the finance department of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. She replaced Mike Horn, who retired from that position on Dec. 31, 2023, after serving for 15 years.

It will be Oviedo’s job to review the financial procedures and safeguards at archdiocesan parishes and other Catholic entities.

“I think what I do is a way of serving,” said Oviedo. “It’s a very important job. It’s very important for the church to have credibility and show transparency. Having an internal auditor gives that transparency and credibility.

“I see my work as more of a cooperation. Each parish is trying to do a good job. They want to do a good job. My job is to cooperate with them and see where we need to improve, praise them for what they do that is good and to see if there is any gap we can help them with.”

Oviedo is the right match for the job, said Carla Mills, archdiocesan chief financial officer, who hired her.

“I was looking for someone with significant audit experience, and Nancy’s former position auditing internationally for Unbound was very similar, in that the organizations she audited were all under the Unbound umbrella but could be very different depending on their country and focus,” said Mills.

“This is similar in that our parishes and schools have similarities,” she continued, “but also can be very different from one another.”

Oviedo was born and raised in Villarrica del Espiritu Santo in Paraguay, a Latin American nation between Argentina and Brazil. She came from a big Catholic family of nine children. Growing up, she could speak Spanish and Guarani, the latter an indigenous language.

“I grew up speaking Guarani,” she said. “I can write and read in Guarani perfectly.”

She came to Kansas in 1994. Her expectations had been shaped by television.

“I thought there were a lot of trees,” she said. “I came in April. It was very green. In my mind I had two ideas. Big, tall buildings like New York, and another was like the [Westerns]. I thought it would be like ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ but it wasn’t.”

Television was more helpful in a linguistic sense.

“I learned English watching ‘The Price is Right’ on TV,” said Oviedo.

She first attended Kaw Area Technical School in Topeka, which was administered by Washburn University. Today, it’s the Washburn Institute of Technology. She studied first at Kaw and then Washburn, earning a bachelor of science degree in accounting in 2007.

After graduation, Oviedo worked for the state of Kansas, and later for accounting firms in Topeka and Manhattan, one which sent her to audit community banks all over western Kansas. Prior to coming to the archdiocese, she was the audit and investigative director for Unbound. Her work took her to several countries in Africa and Latin America, as well as the Philippines.

Unbound and the archdiocese have some things in common. Although not affiliated with the Catholic Church, Unbound was founded by Catholics and has a lot of those Catholic perspectives and values in its DNA.

Having spent parts of her career in both the secular, for-profit world, and the nonprofit world, she can see differences.

“The drive is different,” said Oviedo. “[In nonprofits] there is a sense of community and service, whereas the secular sector is driven by profit and performance. Here [at the archdiocese] I am back to serving. . . . God has brought me back and I feel at peace. That’s a great thing.”

She won’t be a globetrotter anymore, but as internal auditor she’ll be traveling all over the archdiocese. At present, she has 164 parishes, schools and cemeteries to visit.

“It’s vital that our entities have a strong system of internal controls set by their management to effectively safeguard assets and maintain good stewardship,” said Mills.

“We have had a good experience making internal controls a focus for the last 15 years or so,” she added, “and I hope for that to continue. I look forward to Nancy looking at our operations with a fresh set of eyes and to hearing what recommendations she has for improvement.”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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