Finance & Budget Director
Welcome to the positions of Finance & Budget Director of the ASUW. You have been selected from a pool of highly qualified applicants as the best candidate for performing the duties and upholding the responsibilities of this position. Herein, you will find a great deal of information dealing with the position and its responsibilities. I encourage you to read this wiki page in its entirety and refer back to it frequently as you progress throughout the year. My hope is that it will be a valuable reference and tool for you, helping to guide you through the year.
- Serve as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors without vote.
- Chair the ASUW Finance and Budget committee.
- Chair the ASUW Special Appropriations committee.
- Complete a Finance and Budget quarterly report for the Fall and Winter Quarters, and submit it to the President by the second week of the following quarter.
- Complete and initiate projects as directed by the President.
- Attend all regularly scheduled Board of Directors meetings or special Board of Directors meetings unless officially excused by the President or Vice-President.
- Maintain accountability for 25 office hours per week, including 20 scheduled office hours during which time the Budget Director’s activities and/or whereabouts are known to the front office staff; (meetings and appointments may be scheduled during this time); the remaining hours shall be utilized to complete projects, schedule meetings and appointments, or otherwise facilitate the work of the ASUW. A schedule of these hours shall be submitted to the Personnel Director by the first week of each quarter.
- Keep the ASUW President and BOD informed of ASUW Budget status through regular reports.
- Monitor ASUW Commission/Program budgets, identify potential problems and recommend review and action.
- Responsible for reviewing all budget requests submitted to the ASUW.
- Maintain record of expenditures, fund balances, and ensuring ASUW funds are spent according to appropriate ASUW, University, and State guidelines.
- In conjunction with the Finance and Budget Committee, establish guidelines and timelines for annual budgeting process to be approved by the ASUW Board Directors.
- Review program/event funding evaluations submitted by groups funded by the Special Appropriations Committee and provide reports to the Finance & Budget Committee and the Board of Directors as needed.
- Meet weekly with the Student Activities Office advisor.
- Oversee the ASUW annual budgeting process.
- Advise the ASUW BOD on all financial matters, including spending priorities, budget process, and financial status.
- Meet with ASUW Programs and Net-Zeros to ensure proper execution and implementation of provisions provided in the ASUW corporate budget.
- Keep a permanent record of event and program reviews as delineated in the by-laws.
- Attend all ASUW training sessions including, but not limited to, ASUW fall orientation.
Using Your Assistant
The single best piece of advice I can give you is: USE YOUR ASSISTANT.
Don't make the same mistake I did and undervalue/estimate what your assistant does/can do for you, especially now. With expanded responsibilities, such as your seat on SAF and the current financial situation that the ASUW finds itself in, your assistant will be even more important to you now than they were to me.
It's been commented to me various times that the position of F&B Director is greatly understaffed. If you found an equivalent position in the real-world that dealt with a one million dollar budget you would probably find a full-time director and a full-time assistant. You are tasked with working as a half-time director with a quarter-time assistant. Yes, there are some differences, such as the reliance on the SAUF Accountant to do much of the nitty-gritty, but there is still a void. There are many different ways to use your assistants time, but I will suggest a few:
- Full control over meeting scheduling, minutes, contacting committee members, etc.
- Organizing, filing, archiving the large filing cabinet in the office (maybe you can find a better use for this hunk of metal than I could)
- Keeping the Special Appropriations Spreadsheet up to date
It will take a bit of time getting used to the idea that you have the services of an assistant. Try and build up this relationship early in the year (coffee, lunch, something like that) in order to help foster trust. I know the hardest part for me was learning to trust that things will get done when I hand them off; when you get to that point, you will realize how beneficial an assistant can be. As I mentioned in the pre-hire, use this person as a sounding board for ideas for your committees and other challenges you deal with in the year. Input from others, especially someone who becomes intimately familiar with the day-to-day workings of your job, can be essential.
Special Appropriations Committee (Chair)
Special Appropriations Online Interface (SAOI)
You know it, you love it. This online web application is the point of contact for RSOs that wish to request funding from the ASUW. The back-end administration is pretty self-explanatory and you can access it with the F&B Director's UWNetID. It's more beneficial to play around with the application than for me to explain it, so have at it.
Finance & Budget Committee (Chair)
You sit as a non-voting, ex officio member of the Board of Directors. Trust me when I say that not having a vote works in your favor a lot of the time. It can be frustrating not being able to say "ay" or "nay", but it allows you to truly be objective and fulfill your job responsibilities.
Most 3.* Board Bills will be presented by you. This type of bill is a financial bill. The most common type of 3.* bill you will present is to approve a Special Appropriations allocation that is over $750. Here are a few other examples of 3.* bills:
- Capital expenditures
- Line item transfers
- The Budget
- Allocations from the General Fund (Late Night, etc.)
- Approved internal allocations that have come from F&B
There may be others that I am forgetting, but that should cover most of them. You can find plenty of examples in the files that I've left you.
Speak frankly with the Board. They are relying on your financial advice and prowess to help them through decisions involving money. A lot of questions will be asked on any 3.* bill, because it means you're spending money, especially this upcoming year.
This is one of the most difficult parts of sitting on the Board: the less you talk during topics that have no financial bearing, the more power you will have and the more people will listen when you talk about topics that DO have financial bearing.
The Budgeting Process
Quarter by Quarter Guidance
This is going to be a somewhat rough outline of what you should be doing during each quarter. Most of this is cumulative and will add onto each other throughout the year (read: you will get busier as the year goes on and more things get piled on top). I will try and go into a bit of detail with each point.
- Become familiar with the office
- Get things oriented in the office and settle in. Talk to Rene about getting your keys early.
- Familiarize yourself with the budget
- This is less for you and more for future F&B Directors, but make sure you understand the ins and outs of the budget. You are supposed to be the expert, make sure you are.
- Orientation presentation?
- Talk with Rene and Coop about what (if any) the orientation presentation will look like. It would be very beneficial for the entities to hear directly from you at orientation so they know your face and understand who to contact in case of questions. Be involved with the orientation! It will help to expand your network early.
- Contact Rene to see if she has extra binders or if you need to order them! Decide on the materials you want included in the binder for each committee. You can find examples on top of the filing cabinet for the past 3-4 years. Make it your own, try and enlist the help of your assistant early.
- Meet your assistant, start to build that relationship
- Once again, I cannot stress this enough. The earlier you start talking and working together the easier it will be during the year. Try and meet up before school starts at some point!
- Meet people!
- There are a lot of people required to make the Association run. Not the least of which are those advisers who are above you. Meet all of the SAO Advisers, not just Rene. This will make your job SO much easier. They are your primary contacts when working with Special Appropriations proposals and they have a wealth of knowledge. If you have questions about the budget, especially on the technical aspects, Mark Schoen is your number one resource. He's an awesome guy who really knows his stuff. Meet the entity directors, the Board, office staff, everyone! This network will not only make your job easier, but much more fun.
- Start Special Appropriations
- If I remember correctly, you should have a functioning committee by the very first day of school. That is a huge leg up for the year. Work with the Vice President to appoint the remaining volunteers and stress to the Senate how important it is that their liaison is appointed. Start meeting with them immediately so they can become comfortable with their responsibilities. The more comfortable they are with each other, the more effective the committee will be and the more efficient it will run. I cannot stress this enough. Trust me, you won't have to advertise for Special Approps. RSOs will seek you out.
- Start Finance & Budget
- This will be your cornerstone committee for the year. With the new financial challenges that face the Association, you will rely on this group of people more than anyone else in the Association. You have enough people to get started, but there are quite a few other representatives that need to get filled. Work with the VP to get the other At-Large reps appointed. Senate has two reps. Get them on the ball and appointing their liaisons. Let them know that things are getting started early and you don't want them to miss out and be behind in what is going on.
- Committee Ice Breakers/Events
- As I mentioned above, the more comfortable your committee members are with you and each other, the better your committees will run. Try and setup some sort of event to help break the ice.
- Bowling in the HUB Games Area
- Lunch downstairs
- Coffee downstairs
- Dinner on the Ave
- Review entity budgets
- Look over the quarterly reports, get access from the Computer Tech if you need it. See how spending is going. If certain entities seem to be behind on their spending, bring it up to them to see what's going on. If balances aren't moving, constituencies or customers may not be being served.
- Start budgeting process
- Balance your time, it's going to get busy
- What with school, grey skies, and your ASUW responsibilities, this can be a tough quarter. Make sure you are balancing your time and don't spend too many extra hours in the office.
- Stay focused
- Spring quarter is busy and its usually beautiful outside. Stay focused on pushing through to the end of the year.
- Present final budget to Board in April
- The largest and most important deliverable in the ASUW. Put a lot of time and pride into this document, it is used by every single employee in the Association at one time or another. Know when you have to present to SAF. Figure this out EARLY in the year. That way you can layout your budget timeline so that the Board has two weeks to go over the budget.
- Present budget to SAF in April/May
- Be professional. You're now wearing the ASUW hat, not the SAF hat. Abstain from the vote. Answer questions directly. The President or other voting Board member should be there to answer any policy questions that you don't necessarily have authority to answer.
- If it's May/June and you don't have much to do, you better be updating this wiki!!
Top 10 Contacts
The structure of the F&B position does not really require a great deal of outside contacts. Most (if not all) of your work is centralized within the Association so this contact list may contain many more internal folks than external. (However, after the fact, I'm finding more external people than I had originally thought!)
These are not necessarily in any specific order of importance.
- Rene Singleton (Your SAO Adviser)
- Use her for everything. Keep her in the loop on what you're doing and use her to vent. She will be the person you talk to the most and will offer the most help to you throughout the year.
- Mark Schoen (SAUF Accountant)
- Your primary contact on all things ASUW budget related. He is an accounting whiz. Don't be intimidated to ask questions or go meet with him. He is often free throughout the day and open to talk with you about whatever you need to know.
- You will be talking with Anita as ASUW looks to draft and finalize a contract for the Late Night venture. She'll be your best bet for talking with HFS.
- Link up with Jerome or Cullen when beginning the discussion about Night Ride again. Teresa should still be your contact at Property and Trasportation Services.
- Lincoln Johnson (Director of SAUF)
- While you'll have less direct contact with Lincoln regarding the position, he is an excellent resource and a great friend. Keep in touch with him throughout the year.
- Malia Langworthy (GPSS Treasurer)
- Last year was the first year that the ASUW and GPSS Treasurers had a large amount of contact. This was mostly due to the existing relationship Sean and I had from working in student government in the past. However, I found this to be a great avenue to bounce ideas around with a fellow financial mind. Try and open up that dialogue during Fall quarter.
- Steve Railsback (SAO contact for equipment purchases)
- While I expect capital purchases to be much less in this upcoming year, Steve will be the person you need to stay in contact with during computer equipment purchases. He does a great job of trying to maximize the ASUW dollar when purchasing equipment.
- Assistant to the President and F&B Director (Valerie Yandall)
- As if I haven't said it enough, use your assistant.
- ASUW President (Cullen White)
- You will work closely with Cullen throughout the year. Keep him in the loop when it comes to working through the financial situation. He will need to be your biggest ally.
- ASUW Vice President (Jerome McCuin)
- Get started early on appointing volunteers, it will help to make the year run a great deal smoother.
Top 10 Successes & Failures
Top 10 Successes
- The Budget, SAF Form & Narrative
- Special Appopriations Online Interface
- Seat on SAF
- Late Night at By George
- Night Ride
- Special Appropriations Bylaw Updates
- Use of my assistant
- Unprecedented level of trust between SAO, SAF, SAUF and F&B Director
- This wiki
- Extracuricular Involvement
When I was looking at these top 10 successes, I was very pleased to see that you had been involved with F&B and Special Approps during quite a few of them.
During my two years in this position, I was able to completely transform the budget and the budgeting process. It was in a horribly ugly format prior to 2004-05 and had quite a bit of convuluted and old information. Footnotes had been carried forward that no longer hand any bearing, numbers were incorrect, and it was difficult to sift through. Though it took me two years to get things in order, we now have, for the first time, a complete and all-encompassing look at the ASUW Budget. Unfortunately, what was uncovered puts you in a difficult position of guiding the Association through a rough time financially in order to compensate for the budgeting errors that have spanned decades. I know that I have left it better than I found it, and genuinely hope that no further errors exist.
The SAOI was the very first change that I implemented at the beginning of my first year as director. It also completely transformed the way that ASUW dealt with RSO direct funding. For the first time, RSOs could submit their proposals electronically and the F&B Director no longer had to account for and organize proposals on paper. Demand has skyrocketed over the past two years and I only expect it to increase further. Updates to the bylaws were implemented at the end of 2005-06 in order to help spread the money out to as many groups as possible, among other things. It will be important to follow the bylaws as rules and not guidelines. Trust me, it will make your job that much easier to have something to fall back on when something is not funded. I have made my best effort to ensure that the SAOI is fully functional and won't give you troubles next year or into the future. Hopefully my effort has paid off.
The ASUW took on some important external projects while I was here. The U-Match Agreement, Night Ride, and Late Night at By George all occurred with my consultation. U-Match fell through due to a lack of service and a general bad taste in the mouth of the Association when dealing with, what turned into a, 3rd party merchant. Night Ride is also listed as one of my top 10 failures. We succeeded in launching the program with SAF seed money at the beginning of 2005-06. It will run through June 2007. I failed to keep in contact with Teresa (listed as one of the top 10 most important contacts) throughout this year and, honestly, am not sure where we stand on this. ASUW has the money from SAF to run the program through June 2007 and I would highly encourage you to sit down with Teresa and gather ridership statistics, etc. There is an exit clause in the contract that can be exercised if it is found by the Board and Property and Transportation Services that it is not a worthwhile service. Late Night at By George was the brainchild of Cullen White. Cullen and I worked very closely together throughout the year to see this come to a reality. I honestly belive that this venture can be a break-even business, if not make profit. Work with Cullen (and Scott, the new Director of Organizational Relations) over the summer, as well as during the year in order to solidify a contract and get this thing advertised to the student body; especially the freshman. Anita Bowers (also listed in the top 10 contacts) is your best contact at Housing and Food Services.
The F&B Director now sits on the Services and Activities Fee Committee. This gives a great deal of experience and insight to the director on the true "big picture" of student fees and what they fund. It also help to foster a high-level of trust between the ASUW and SAF, which is extremely important to the financial health of the Association. Remember that you wear three hats on this committee, one as the ASUW F&B Director, one as the Board of Directors representative, and one as an ASUW student representative to the committee.
I want this wiki to become the defacto source of all important information for the F&B Director. Make sure that you update it at least by the end of the year, if not on-going throughout the year. It is a great deal of information and I would hate to see it lost in the fray after all the work I've done to write all of this stuff down >:).
Remember that ASUW is only ONE of your commitments. Don't let it consume you. Don't let it become the only thing you think about. When you walk out that office door for the day, leave it behind. It IS possible to care too much. I was really starting to feel the burnout at the end of my third year in the ASUW, and much of it came from the fact that I did not give myself enough time away. Student leadership is hard. It takes a lot of time and energy to be good at it. Do well at what you do, but don't forget the other things in your life.
Top 10 Failures
- Night Ride
- Use of my assistant
- The Budget
- Contact with Daily about budget situation
- Education of the BOD when it comes to ASUW finances
- Use of the Current Situation Spreadsheet
- Contact with ASUW entities
- Late Night at By George
- Excess Special Appropriations funding
- Lax on office hours
You can look above for my rant about my Night Ride failure; unfortunately, it isn't pretty.
In my efforts to fix the budget during my first year, I ended up underestimating our SAF Request by $100,000. Yes, very, very, very bad. However, in retrospect, it may be the single greatest motivator the ASUW has ever seen. This short fall has allowed SAF to instruct ASUW to make changes to the way it deals with its finances and actually have something to back up their instructions. I'm not saying what I did was good, not at all, but it may end up being very good.
There is an entry in the F&B Director section within the ASUW bylaws that refers to contact the Daily with quarterly budget updates. I never quite understood what this entailed or if it had ever been done. It might be something you want to discuss with the Board in order to decide what information should be shared, etc.
It is the responsibility of any non-profit Board of Directors in the State of Washington to have an understanding of the corporation's financial situation. Talk with Rene and see if you can setup to have Mark Schoen come in during the Board of Director orientation at the beginning of the year for a presentation on the ASUW financial structure. The more knowledge the Board has, the more confident you can be that appropriate decisions are being made (or so logic would lead you to believe).
Stay connected with the various ASUW entities. Use the Current Situation Spreadsheet to keep up to date on entity spending habits and potential problems that are coming up. Get to know each of the entity director's and let them know that if they have questions about finances, you're the person to ask. It's the little things that help to make sure that larger problems never present themselves down the line. Stay on top of your office hours, even during spring quarter. It can be tough with nice weather and many other things to do, but it's important to be available and to be finalizing the budget and updating the wiki.
Keep Special Appropriations funding at the budgeted amount. I know there won't be a problem with this during the next year because of the discussions we've had one-on-one and in committee, but it doesn't hurt to reiterate. After this year, Special Approps really needs to be more strict and the ASUW as a whole needs to understand that money is a limited resource. Make sure everyone understands this; both within the Association and at the RSO level.
Everybody will have failures. Do your best to realize what has gone wrong and what you can do to fix them.
You should have my cell phone number if you need to get in touch with me. You can also reach me through e-mail here. It can be overwhelming at first with all of the various entities that you have to wrap your head around, so I'll understand if I hear from you quite a bit. :)
If not, that's great too!
- Board of Directors
- Finance & Budget Committee
- Special Appropriations Committee
- Special Appropriations Fund