Robert Jacob, VP of Finance, summarizes SIGCHI's financial status
This is the time of year when the officers of SIGCHI have to prepare the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2006. This year, the current officers' terms will expire just before that budget begins, so we are preparing a budget for our successors.
This is the time of year when the officers of SIGCHI have to prepare the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2006. This year, the current officers' terms will expire just before that budget begins, so we are preparing a budget for our successors. But I'll take this opportunity to give you an update on our financial picture.
As many of you know, our financial history over the last few years has consisted of several very fat years followed by several very lean years, roughly corresponding to the boom and bust of the tech economy. Our finances are mainly driven by our conferences. While we keep our membership income and expenses roughly in balance, conference planning is much riskier because we must commit many of the expenses long before we know what the corresponding income will be. This tends to amplify the swings between lean and fat years for us.
For that reason, ACM requires us to maintain a reserve fund balance as insurance, which builds up in the fat years and which we can draw on in the lean years. In recent years that's what we have done, building up in the boom a few years ago and drawing down in the bust more recently. This is also why we have been operating more frugally in the last few years.
However, as of now, after a few years of austerity, things are starting to look better. We are slowly beginning to build our fund balance back up. CHI 2005 was the first CHI conference in several years to make a significant contribution toward rebuilding our reserve fund. We will need several more to get it back up to a safe level, but at this point, it looks like we're beginning to turn the corner at last.