Budget in the Works
PORAC’s Budget Committee — composed of Executive Committee Directors Barry Donelan, Randy Beintema, Anthony Sanders, Laren Leichliter and I — has been busy through this budget cycle. The committee continued to focus on areas of the budget where we felt the organization could be more efficient. Fortunately, the budget adjustments this year were not as controversial as last year’s. Moreover, the Budget Committee takes our fiduciary responsibility very seriously and is not afraid to ask tough questions or make adjustments as needed to ensure the financial health of the organization. The Budget Committee understands that our decisions and directions are focused on doing what is best with your money. Therefore, some areas were targeted for potential cuts to help PORAC utilize our money wisely and efficiently. The committee delved into a concept that is very hard to overcome, which is changing what is known as business as usual. Thus, we looked at areas where the budget could be streamlined, along with increasing efficiency and reducing potential unnecessary expenditures. The committee did this by looking at a paradigm shift and evaluating the concept of “That is how we have always done it.”
“That is how we have always done it” could eventually become a costly venture for our organization. While PORAC is fiscally strong and can continue to sustain practices along the lines of “That is how we have always done it,” the real question should be “Why should we continue doing it that way?” That is exactly the approach taken by the Budget Committee over the last two years. The Budget Committee also understands that this is an incremental process and not something that can be resolved in one stroke of the pen. However, we are willing to bring forth this concept in order for the rest of the Board of Directors to ask themselves the same question. While PORAC can financially sustain current practices, is the cost of the practice outweighing the benefit to the organization? This discussion brings to light the concept of cost–benefit analysis or return on investment (ROI). The areas looked at by the committee were evaluated for ROI, and whether PORAC is getting the best ROI from those areas.
Unfortunately, budget decisions are not evaluated in a vacuum, and those who are affected by them may believe the changes are a result of retribution or personal attacks. Budgetary decisions are not made with ill will; they are made to ensure that those proposing the changes are being fiduciary with the members’ monies. If the organization can save a few hundreds or thousands of dollars by curtailing certain practices, it needs to consider those changes. While these minor adjustments may seem insignificant in the greater scheme, over time they add up to significant amounts, which can be used to strengthen the organization’s financial footing or toward other projects. Yet it is important, while making budgetary adjustments, to consider the overall impact of the adjustment and not just make changes because it saves money.
On another note, remember that if you are on your association’s board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your members. They have elected you to keep their best interests in mind, especially when it comes to financial matters — which means that if you fail in your responsibility, you are subject to legal ramifications. Please take your responsibility seriously and make sure to review your association’s financial statements, ask questions, and ensure that there are checks and balances in place to avoid fraud and deception.
I am proud of the work being done by the Budget Committee and the rest of your PORAC financial team, consisting of President Mike Durant, Vice President Brent Meyer, and Finance and Administrative Manager Kim Busman. Everyone is working diligently to ensure that PORAC is a force to be reckoned with, along with protecting our members’ monies. I look forward to having the final draft of the 2017 budget for your review at Conference, along with additional insight on the positive work being accomplished by your PORAC financial team. Over the past several years, I have made a commitment to be your “fiscal watchdog,” and I continue to stand by that commitment. PORAC has made great financial strides over the past several years, and we need to ensure that it continues being financially strong through prudent fiscal management and oversight.