Annual Report (2000)
February 15, 2001Submitted by Trudy Jacoby (Treasurer, ARLIS/NA)
The Treasurer is just completing the first year of a two-year term.
I traveled to New York before taking office to meet two times with Kitty Chibnik, outgoing Treasurer. This was most helpful.
Annual Meeting, ARLIS/NA Board
Conference Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC), Los Angeles
Kanata, visit to new headquarters
Mid-Year Meeting, ARLIS/NA Board
Hosted meeting, Dec. 2000, preliminary St. Louis planning (Ted Goodman and Ann Whiteside, ARLIS President-Elect and VRA President)
In July the Treasurer visited the new headquarters in Ottawa with the President. Meetings were held with the office financial and general staff. A number of new procedures were put in place. For example, the new management firm has the policy of not signing checks for their organizations. Thus, an additional duty of the Treasurer is the signing and mailing of all Society checks.
Upon taking office in March 2000, immediate attention was needed for the smooth transition of headquarters from ADI to Clarke.
Priorities for the period of April-June included:
Bank accounts and signing authority were transferred from California to Ottawa. All new accounts had to be opened in Canada. The investment account (Barnett/Schwab) had to have access authorizations changed to accommodate new officers and change of management firms. Other accounts set up included credit cards accounts and money market accounts.
Setting up new accounting structures in the Ottawa office
Review of the 1999 books and participating in the preparation of 1999 tax returns
Final review and reporting of the Pittsburgh conference budget. Although this was largely completed by early summer, remaining details were not fully resolved until September. This was a very successful conference.
The success of the silent auction at the annual meeting in Pittsburgh allowed the Society to complete the funding for the Anniversary Fund. The first internship award was given this year! The board approved the establishment of a new designated fund at the mid-year meeting this year after much work by the Development Committee. This fund will be dedicated to the enhancement of the conference program by giving support to bring in speakers who are not members of ARLIS/NA.
Served as liaison to the Finance and Development Committees.
The chair of the Finance Committee resigned in July and a new chair, Floyd Zula, was appointed. The relationship of the Treasurer, the Board, the Finance Committee and the Financial Advisor is being closely examined at this time. The safety and growth of the Society’s funds is of paramount importance. To date, the relationships with financial advisors have not resulted in great growth of resources for the society.
The Development Committee has been working very hard on fundraising and various databases with great success. The importance of outside support for Society activities must not be underestimated. Our new Executive Director has some ideas for improving our overall fundraising program.
Revised and distributed forms for board members’ reporting of expenses.
The Treasurer has recommended that normal and recurring invoices up to $500.00 be paid directly by the headquarters staff after being authorized by the Treasurer. This will save much time and stop late payments of checks that were written, sent to the US for signing, and then mailed. This is being put into practice and will include items such as monthly telephone and postage. Clarke does a check run for ARLIS once a month (similar to the OMG procedure). This process will be examined to be sure it allows payments to be processed in a timely manner. Financial reports are issued once a month.
Overall budget and planning is of the highest priority. The actual costs of two transitions of management firms in less than two years were unbudgeted expenses. There was a cash shortfall in Fiscal Year 1999 caused by a change in the fiscal year. Unbudgeted expenses in 1999 and 2000 also contributed to the need for an evaluation of the cash shortfall and the need to withdraw funds from the investment accounts to cover expenses at the end of FY2000.
The Treasurer, the Executive Director, and Bonnie James, our financial manager at headquarters, produced the FY2001 general operating budget. As all of us were new to this process, the budget was based on the FY 2000 budget with updates to reflect changes. Normal and recurring expenses such as membership dues in other organizations will be moved out of committee budget lines (a mid-year board decision reversing a previous board decision). The move to a Canadian management firm has caused some uncertainty about some of our costs, particularly in the areas of publications and postage. These expenses will be closely examined this year and the budget will be revised.
The conference budgets were produced and updated on a regular basis by Lorraine Perrotta with input from the President and Treasurer.
ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
Costs of the publications program must be fully examined. This includes the financial aspects of publishing the Handbook, Art Documentation, Update as well as the Occasional Papers. The procedures of advertising sales and billing for all publications (including AWS) will be reviewed.
An ad hoc Finance Advisory Subcommittee of the Executive Board was formed by the President (Treasurer, Vice-President/President-Elect, and Western Regional Rep). The investment strategy of the Society and the advisability of moving to guaranteed investment instruments as opposed to speculative instruments are being examined at this time. In addition, the charge of the Finance Committee is under review. Three finance professionals have advised against holding individual market investments such as stocks and bonds. The desire for high returns as opposed to the guaranteed preservation of principal with lower returns is still an issue for the Board and for the Society. Hopefully some reasonable path forward will be implemented this year.
The tasks to be done in 2001 include a thorough review and updating of Section J of the Policy Manual, updating the Financial Matters information on the AWS, and creating a specific "management calendar" for financial matters. A review of the dues structure, as well as comparisons to other organizations structure and services will be a priority.
One long-term goal is an increase in financial support for board members. The people serving on the executive board receive no compensation for the large amounts of time volunteered to the organization. It can be quite expensive to travel to required meetings and regional chapters. A small increase was included in the budget for 2001, but this will be a continuing concern.
CLOSING COMMENTS :
There are some difficult decisions to be made in light of relatively small revenue streams and large ambitions. We have occasionally unrealistic expectations without sufficient financial resources to fully realize our goals. We must be more careful about monitoring costs and operating within set budgets.
The Treasurer is increasingly aware of the time and knowledge required to adequately discharge the duties of this office. This year has been quite difficult due to the transition to a new management firm. I believe the next year will be much easier as both the Treasurer and the headquarters staff will be more familiar with the financial management of the Society. I know that this has been a difficult year for our management staff as well, and their efforts are greatly appreciated by the Treasurer.