[Linux-aus] Pre-AGM Treasurer's brief

Anthony Towns aj at linux.org.au
Fri Jan 8 16:21:05 EST 2010

Hey all,

So this is my last year on the council (free! [0] free! [1]) which
is making prepping the treasurer's report a bit more complicated --
both due to trying to finish off as many of the things I wanted to get
done as treasurer as possible, and trying to document all the procedures
we've put in place to keep things somewhat organised, so that they don't
have to get reinvented again [2].

But with the caveat that this is is based on draft figures that are still
subject to finalisation and whatnot, here's roughly where LA stands from
a financial perspective.

a) Balance sheet

Our books are split into two this year, our regular Australian accounts
and our NZ accounts specifically for LCA 2010. The Australian accounts
represent the overall state of our finances:

         Deposits         $210,000
         LCA 2010 seed     $75,000
         Tax refund        $15,000 (est)
         LCA 2010 surplus  $80,000 (wild-ass-guess)


      Net Assets:         $380,000 (est)

The NZ accounts currently look something like:

         Deposits:        $255,000 NZD
         Receivables:     $110,000 NZD (est)

         Conf expenses:   $250,000 NZD (est)
         Tax compliance:   $10,000 NZD (est)

      Net Assets:         $105,000 NZD (wild-ass-guess)

b) Profit and loss

The figures for LCA 2010 should obviously be taken with a huge grain
of salt: LCA 2010 hasn't even happened yet, after all. For comparison,
the figures I gave prior to the last AGM for LCA 2009 were:

On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 01:09:47AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
>     LCA:              2007      2008      2009
>     ------------   -------  --------  --------
>     Profit:        $40,875  $120,251   $86,451  (..at 2008/12/31)
>     Receivables:         -         -  $120,000  (est, outstanding)
>     Liabilities:         -   $25,000  $200,000  (est, outstanding)
>     ------------   -------  --------  --------
>     Totals:        $40,875   $95,000    $6,000  (est)
> The LCA 2009 estimates are pulled completely out of the air, and are
> likely to vary significantly by the time the conference has actually
> happened. [...]

The draft finalised LCA 2009 figures come out to:

    Expenses: $340,794
    Income:   $392,659
    Profit:    $51,865

To me, this is particularly impressive considering that it was run during
the depths of the financial meltdown in late 2008, early 2009. (Note
the figures above don't include the additional $25,000 raised for
the Tasmanian Devil Foundation at the dinner auction, or LA's $10,000
contribution to the same, which in effect comes out of the conference

In any event, it's reasonable to expect that LCA 2010 may end up varying
from the estimate above at a similar scale in either direction.

I haven't yet analysed the various non-LCA expenses LA's done this year
to provide a summary of those, unfortunately.

c) The fruits of procrastination

Over the past few years the LA treasury has gotten somewhat out of
control; in particular the 2006 conference in Dunedin, New Zealand
brought up a number of international tax and accounting issues that were,
frankly, beyond us. With the conference visiting New Zealand again in
2010, and the proactive stance taken by the LCA 2010 team, we've now
resolved those issues, and the books for LCA 2006 are consequently closed.

As a consequence of the NZ tax issues, we've also been behind in filing
activity statements in Australia. Fortunately, since the surplus funds
from LCA are usually less than the amount of international sponsorship
received we have been generally paying more GST than we receive resulting
in a net GST refund. And as a result of resolving the NZ issues, I'm
expecting that we should be able to submit those BASes over the next
week, and answer any further questions the tax office may have, getting
us fully up to date to the end of 2009.

There have been a number of other payments from previous years that had
fallen through the cracks and have now happily been dealt with too,
including a speaker reimbursement from 2006, outstanding invoices
for our support of the UNSW Unlocking IP research project, and the
LCA 2008 Penguin Foundation donation. To the best of my knowledge the
only outstanding transactions that need to be dealt with are either
LCA 2010 related, are payments from other parties we've invoiced but
haven't received, or are reimbursements we've authorised but have not
yet received invoices for us to be able to actually pay.

d) Procedures

I mentioned briefly that we've got a number of procedures in place now
to make the treasury function of the organisation run more smoothly --
these include a somewhat customised trac install for tracking invoices and
payment status that's been used for the last of the LCA 2009 expenses,
most/all of the LCA 2010 income and expenses and almost all of the
LA expenses since approximately March 2009. Reconciliation, reporting
and activity statement preparation are being done using the Banklink
tools for the Australian accounts, which seems to be working well. It
may be feasible in the future to come close to fully automating the
reconciliation step by scripting the trac to Banklink link; I've toyed
with a python script along those lines this time round and it's been
useful already. We've been monitoring the LCA 2010 budget this year via
OpenOffice spreadsheets checked into git, allowing the council to be
completely up to date with LCA 2010's planning without requiring any
nagging or communications lag; it's been very effective.

I hope to be able to go into a little more detail on the procedures we've
established in the full report for the AGM.

e) Miscellania

In my time as treasurer, I've been focussed pretty heavily on the overview
side of things -- trying to make it so we can understand what's going on
with our money, and that we've got reasonably straight forward processes
to maintain that understanding while we keep running conferences and do
whatever other things people might think up to support Linux in Australia.
I'm pretty happy with where that's gotten us, and if I can manage to
tie together all the stuff that's almost done before the AGM, I think
it'll be very satisfactory.

The downside to this is I haven't done much of a job at keeping things
ticking over: updating bank details, pestering people for invoices, making
sure submitted invoices turn into payments, making sure payments actually
achieve the results they were meant to, making sure communications to the
treasurer actually make it to the rest of the council, etc. That that
lack hasn't resulted in more problems for LA and LCA than we've had is
particularly thanks to Terry Dawson and Steve Walsh who over the past
two years have gone well above and beyond their obligations to keep LA
functioning decently, and I'd be very remiss in not thanking them for
their efforts. So, thanks. Heaps.


[0] As in speech!

[1] As in beer!

[2] Or, at least, if they get reinvented anyway, to help ensure that the
    benefits of the current systems don't get lost in seeking new systems
    with new benefits.

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