A year ago when I first joined the CSEG executive, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve volunteered on other committees before, but what surprised me the most was the magnitude and scope of services that the CSEG provides. There is an amazing number of volunteers who spend countless hours making sure this society provides its members with the best possible bang for the buck.
It took quite a while to understand what all the CSEG committees did, but as assistant director of finance I quickly understood they all needed funding. Not coming from a financial background it also took quite a while to understand the ins and outs of financial statements. I really want to thank Brock Hassell and Jim Racette for their patience and guidance each month as we combed through those statements trying to identify where and why we were off budget. I think as the year progressed we implemented quite a few improvements in how we analyzed the data, and that should help the financial directors in the future.
Analysis aside, the biggest current challenge we face as a society is declining revenue, mainly due to decreases in event attendance, and reduced advertising in the RECORDER. Fortunately in 2009, we were able to offset many of these revenue reductions with an extremely successful micro seismic workshop, and ended 2009 with a small surplus. I don’t expect we will be that fortunate in 2010.
When we did the budget for 2010 we were not only faced with continuing industry decline, but also with an unrelated reduction in Convention revenue. The convention is the largest source of revenue for our society and with eight societies participating in GeoCanada 2010, our share of the profits will drop by about 45%. This alone reduces our revenue by $130,000. Note that we will return to the regular joint convention format in 2011.
We carefully scrutinized the books to identify where we could reduce costs in other areas, but in all honesty the executive runs a very tight ship, and virtually any cost reduction would result in reduction of services. I feel our membership is extremely appreciative of the vast array of services the CSEG provides, and cutting any one of them would be a significant loss. After lots of discussion within the executive we believe 2010 will be an anomalous year, and thanks to prudent management in the past, we have a significant rainy day fund which will tide us over. We are all hoping the next boom starts in 2010, and there have been many positive signs already this year. If this trend continues it should bode well for our society.
Finally, I’d like to welcome Pratt Barndollar to the new executive as Assistant Director of Finance. I’m looking forward to working with Pratt and the rest of the executive in 2010.
It’s been great so far, and I would encourage everyone to get involved in the CSEG whenever they can.