Dan Lamson 2015 Q&A: Finances, Group 2

Note: Dan has withdrawn from the race, but he completed his answers before withdrawing, so they will be posted to the site.

Can you describe your ideal setup for OTW finances going forward, given that many of you flagged the current situation as an issue?

I think the treasurer is a position that needs back up and accountability. One idea that I think has merit is to find a bookkeeper to help carry the load. The treasurer would still do a lot of the day to day work, but the bookkeeper looks over everything on a monthly basis. This would also allow a second pair of eyes between money and a volunteer, which is always a good thing, for everyone involved. I would also love to see the org hire a CPA to check things regularly and to make sure that things will be ready to go come tax time, so there’s no surprises—also they can do the annual taxes, which for an organization this size probably should be done by a professional.

I also think the treasurer should work closely with DevMem to make sure that the committee is fully informed of changes to budget or new expenses that need to be accounted for in our fundraising efforts.

Basically, being treasurer of the OTW is a big job, and having backup would be good for the org as well as the person serving as treasurer.

There is currently no internal or external auditing structure checking the OTW’s bookkeeping (no legal worries, here: the Delaware state laws do not require annual auditing from nonprofits). If you join Board, is this something you would like to change? If so, how?

Audits! I love them. The OTW is long overdue for one, and I would push hard as a board member to get one done, and hopefully one every year or two going forward. Audits are a fundamental part of running a nonprofit, financial transparency. We are well past the point when it became a good idea to have one just so we could see that our financial practices meet acceptable standards. Basically, having an audit completed looks good, it shows potential donors that we are solvent and stable and treat their money well.

Our finances are currently being overseen by only one person with actual decisional and content-producing power, which is concerning in terms of transparency, and efficiency. If elected, how would you go about building a sound administrative Financial structure for the Organization?

I am not sure I would say that one person has decisional power, because all expenses are approved by the full board. That said, it is possible the treasurer not pay for something the board tell them to pay for. Board currently has very little recourse in that instance, but I would hope that the treasurer chosen by board would be willing to follow board’s direction. Going forward, we should also work on a better system and document it so the knowledge is preserved if something happens to the treasurer.

Further, as I mentioned above, I would love to see infrastructure built to help the treasurer do their job better and for more transparently and efficiently.

I saw many concerns about finances in the candidates’ statements, but I did not see outsourcing financial oversight mentioned as a solution. I’d like to know what the candidates think about outsourcing (paying for) some responsibilities, in particular engaging a company with a background in financial services for non-profits.

As I stated above, I would be very much fine with the org bringing in outside CPAs or bookkeepers or an accounting firm. I think it would be something the org could and should pay for, if necessary.