IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium
Guidelines and Procedures Manual
Prepared by Bob Alongi
The Chair of the Finance Committee (FC) serves as the Symposium Treasurer. He typically contracts with Bob Alongi to operate the financial system. The FC chair and Bob Alongi are responsible for implementing the financial policies of the IEEE/MTT Society and the Symposium Steering Committee to ensure the conference will operate within the budget approved by the Society Treasurer and the procedures established by IEEE Conference Services. These procedures are described in detail in the IEEE Conference Organization Manual available online at the IEEE website, www.ieee.org.
The FC and Bob Alongi are members of the Symposium Steering Committee and prepare the Symposium budget in coordination with, and input provided by the other Symposium Committee Chairs. The final budget is submitted through and approved by the Steering Committee/Symposium Chair for subsequent review by the Society Budget Committee and Treasurer. Approval of the Final Budget by ADCOM must be completed at least one year prior to the symposium and before submission to IEEE Conference Services for acceptance. A Preliminary Budget should be prepared at least two years prior to the symposium.
At least three years prior to the symposium, at the direction of the FC, Bob Alongi establishes a concentration bank account with IEEE in the name of the conference. Initial funding is established by requesting in writing (or email) a loan of $10K from the Society Treasurer. Bob Alongi maintains the account records, tracks the cash flow, pays authorized expenses and makes deposits of income and advance loans. The FC should also be familiar with, and make use of the bookkeeping software QuickBooks, for maintaining the financial records over a period of several years. The FC is responsible for coordinating with the treasurer of the RFIC and ARFTG conferences as described in Section 3.3. The FC is responsible for the preparation of the financial reports, protection of the symposium assets, repayment of all loans, and distribution of surplus money and physical assets, such as symposium digests and capital equipment, on behalf of the Symposium Steering Committee, as part of the conference closeout process.
The FC is responsible for all financial records and, together with Bob Alongi, preparing for an audit of the records. It is recommended that IEEE conduct the audit. If instead an independent CPA firm is used, it is recommended that they be brought on board at least six months before the symposium in order to become familiar with the required IEEE audit requirements. The FC shall supervise the maintenance of the chart of accounts, which will provide visibility of the accuracy and completeness of all financial transactions. All significant purchases should be invoiced, purchase orders issued and approved and receipt of products or services acknowledged by the responsible Subcommittee Chair before payment is made. Such a system is largely in place using the Purchase Order Form, Figure H-1, and QuickBooks software available from the AdCom Meetings and Symposium Committee's Finance, Accounting, and Audits Chair. Any contracts equal to or greater than $25K require the prior approval of IEEE by forwarding to IEEE Conference Services.
In 2009 the IMS migrated to a new financial system. There were two major changes. One, the accounts, classes and items were set up in a way to generate reports in the “matrix” format style that the IMSEC has adopted as the preferred method. In addition, the IMS budget will include both the traditional Steering Committee revenues and expenses and the exhibit revenues and expenses as part of this one budget, resulting in a much larger overall budget than in previous years.
The financial s/w (QBE) is housed on the MTT-S server and maintained by Tim Lee. This s/w allows up to 5 users at one time. Both the exhibits manager (MPA) and members of the current SC have access to that particular IMS “company” in QBE. This is accessed through “remote desktop connection (in the PC platform). There were three accounts under the 2009 IMS “company” on the QuickBooks Enterprise S/w on the MTT-S server. Two were managed by the exhibits Manger, MP Associates (exhibit checking and money market) and the other was the SC checking account managed by Alongi. The local SC, through Alongi had access to all the accounts for report generation.
Because of limitations on MPA’s internal exhibit s/w, they had to input their financial information on their internal QBE s/w and update the information on the QBE s/w on the MTT-S (the official financial information) twice a month.
A QBE expert, Eric Downs of Foothills, LLC was hired as a consultant to help develop and implement this new financial system.
It is strong recommended that each IMS Steering Committee (SC) hire the IEEE Boston Section Business Manager, Bob Alongi to work with the MTT-S IMSEC and the IMS SC to implement and operate the new financial structure mentioned above. In 2009 Bob Alongi reported to the Operations Chair of the IMS 2009 SC where the Finance operations came under in the org chart. Alongi was responsible to work with the SC and the new exhibit manager, MP Associates to coordinate and execute all the bookkeeping tasks needed to produce the desired matrix reporting scheme at the end of the symposium.
The FC worked with the LA Chair and drafted a “price list” based on the current venue’s prices for food & beverage, a/v, transportation, etc. for the major committee chairs to use as a guide to draft their budgets. Each of the major committee chairs on the SC (Local Arrangements, Exhibits (MPA), Publications & Promotion, Technical Program, and Registration) was asked to provide input to the financial aspects (budget and forecasts) of the symposium. It is strongly recommended each SC draft their budget using “zero-based” or “bottom up” budgeting and not simply adjust a previous budget up or down a certain percentage. In order for this to happen, each of the major committee chairs mentioned above must be actively involved in thinking through their programs early on and providing budget input. Thus, in practice all of these major SC Chairs are active members of the Finance Committee.
2009 was the first year the new financial structure was implemented. Not only was a change made to try to input the information in a manner that will generate reports in the matrix style reporting the exhibit revenues and expenses were included in the budget and final reports resulting in a much larger overall budget than previous years. For the most part the new system was able to generate the reports in the desired manner without too much manual manipulation. Reports were able to be generated filtering on the major events (Adcom, ARFTG, IMS, RFIC). In addition, reports were generated filtered on specific expense sub-categories such as publications, exhibits, social events, etc.
As mentioned previously, MPA’s internal exhibit s/w does not allow them to input their finances directly in the QBE s/w on the MTT-S server. MPA updates the QBE s/w with their input on the MTT-S server twice a month through a data transfer utility (created and maintained at MPA’s expense). This can cause a delay in having updated financial information for the local SC FC but overall the delay is negligible and has not interfered too much with the reporting. Ideally, MPA could enter their financial input directly into the QBE s/w on the MTT-S server. This is something that should be encouraged to resolve moving forward.
In order to generate reports in the matrix format style by event (Adcom, ARFTG, IMS, RFIC) the event must be inputted into QBE when entering a deposit or expenses. This is currently inputted in the “customer’ field in QBE. For inputting expenses this is not a problem; however, for revenues, this interferes with actual customers (exhibitor and sponsors). To generate a P&L for any of these events right now a manual adjustment is needed. Moving forward, MPA and MTT-S will look into upgrading to QB E 9.0 where there are fields that can be “customized” to accomplish this same outcome and generate the desired reports without manipulating them.
Another limitation is the various non-exhibit registration revenue categories (CD, workshops, banquet, etc.) are lumped into one single account prior to and during the event. At the end of the event these are broken out and split into the proper category via a journal entry in QBE. This is done by MPA. During the planning of the event and for accurate forecasts, the registration detail should be pulled from the detail registration reports generated by MPA and not the QBE s/w.
The main point of contact at MPA for QBE and financial issues is Ruth Huseman.
In general, the new financial structure (matrix reporting style and exhibit activity) seems to be working and providing the desired results. There has been a learning curve after this first year and improvements and adjustments are being recommended and implemented by MPA and the IMS 2009 SC to correct any limitations that are currently present.