“That’s How We Have Always Done It”
PORAC’s Budget Committee, composed of Executive Committee Directors Barry Donelan, Randy Beintema, Anthony Sanders, Laren Leichliter and me, has been very busy through this budget cycle. The committee decided to take a look at portions of the budget where we felt the organization could be more efficient. While some of the choices became topics of lively discussion at the August Board meeting, the Budget Committee focused on areas that needed to be addressed. The committee has taken its fiduciary responsibility very seriously and is not afraid to ask tough questions. Its decisions and directions are focused on doing what is best with your money. Therefore, some of the areas were targeted for potential cuts on the basis of helping PORAC utilize its money wisely and efficiently. The committee delved into a difficult concept, which is changing what is known as business as usual. It looked at areas where the budget could be streamlined, along with increasing efficiency and reducing potential unnecessary expenditures. The committee did this by undertaking a paradigm shift and evaluating the idea of “That’s how we have always done it.”
“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 “how we have always done it,” the real question is “Why should we continue doing it that way?” That is exactly the approach taken by the Budget Committee this year, and it has led to an unprecedented five meetings. However, I believe the committee has been 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 the practice, 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). Those areas that were looked at by the committee were being evaluated on whether PORAC is getting the best ROI from them.
Unfortunately, budget decisions are not evaluated in a vacuum, and those who are affected by the budget decisions believe the changes are a result of retribution, personal attacks or other ill will. Budgetary decisions are not made with malice or thoughts of revenge; they are made to ensure that we are being fiduciary with the members’ monies. If the organization can save a few hundreds or thousands of dollars by curtailing certain practices, we need to consider those changes. While the 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.
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 2016 budget for your review at Conference, along with the opportunity to provide you with additional insight on the positive work being accomplished by the 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, and we need to ensure that it continues being financially strong through prudent fiscal management and oversight.