FINANCE REPORT 2023
Following the success of Portmeiricon 2023 and for the new organising team to have conducted our first full year financial review, it is appropriate to provide the membership with an update on the society’s financial position and an indication of its future management.
In line with our primary objectives to ensure effective and efficient running of the membership and to organise an annual Convention in Portmeirion, the following material demonstrates how the society is currently providing, and will continue to offer great quality and value for money.
Before reading and digesting the details presented - if you haven’t already done so - please familiarise yourself with the Society Details and Basis for Operation specifically the section that details the guiding financial principles under which we operate, as they underpin the specific breakdown for the last membership period.
As always, we encourage and appreciate your questions and feedback which can be raised through the normal website contacts.
2 SCOPE OF INFORMATION
The information contained in this statement covers Six of One’s financial dealings for the past financial year, specifically:
- Membership period 01 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
- Separate treatment of general membership and annual Convention finances.
- While the society handle arrangements and payments for village accommodation, these are effectively pass through costs for individual members directly with Portmeirion and as such are neutral and therefore, excluded from the scope.
3 FINANCIAL BREAKDOWN: MEMBERSHIP
A breakdown of expenditure as percentages of the total membership revenue received is shown in the chart opposite.
Overall, this is considered a very successful membership period with 91% of the incoming funds spent on the categories illustrated. Given the uncertainty associated with rising costs, risks and unknowns, a reserve of 9% at this point is reasonable.
3.2 Magazine production and distribution
With the combination of magazine production and associated distribution costs accounting for 88% of the membership income, these items are clearly the most sensitive to variation.
Members will be aware that the society magazine “Orange Alert” came to an earlier than expected end shortly after the distribution of Issue 15 in Autumn of 2022 and we therefore had to find a new magazine editor, produce and distribute a new magazine, “Degree Absolute” in a very limited timescale.
This naturally introduced a level of uncertainty in financial planning and while it was originally anticipated that magazine costs would rise as we had to find a new deal with a different printer, the membership team managed to negotiate a new deal with the same printer. Changing the configuration and format of the magazine has allowed overall costs to be reduced. This accounts for a large proportion of the reserve and has allowed us to keep the membership rates at the same level as last year.
3.3 Team expenses
Organising team expenses for the period were less than 1% due to very limited transport costs being incurred. The restrictions imposed by Covid-19 have naturally modified the behaviour of many organisations and the team now hold monthly online meetings and only one face to face meeting at the end of the year to conduct a full financial review to enable the setting of membership and Convention fees for the following period.
The team’s first face to face review meeting since 2020 was held at the start of the 2023/24 membership period and therefore expenses for the next period will be higher than those reported this year.
3.4 Website Refresh
The society website www.sixofone.co has been completely redesigned and rolled out in a new format with some enhanced features. The new site has been designed, implemented, operated and manged entirely in house. While many organisations pay out relatively large sums of money for web design and consultancy etc. the cost to the membership of this major change is effectively zero.
We chose to stay with the existing web hosting provider, Freeola, as it has been shown over a number of years to be a stable, reliable platform offering good value for money, The provider had conveniently implemented a new development tool on which the new site is based. The Freeola costs are almost the same as the previous platform, although we have chosen to implement Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to improve security and search engine consistency. The entire costs for the society website were only 1% of the membership revenue, representing good value for money.
3.5 Managing the reserve
While a full financial review takes place at the end of the membership period, ongoing finances are reviewed at each monthly team meeting to track ongoing spend and deal with any issues. With distribution costs continuing to rise, we would expect the reserve of 9% to mitigate cost increases over the next accounting period. Once again, the overall spend and any modified level of reserve will be taken into account when setting membership rates for the next period.
4 FINANCIAL BREAKDOWN: CONVENTION
A breakdown of Convention spending as percentages of the total registration revenue received is shown in the chart opposite.
This was the first Convention organised by the current organising team and while we believe the Convention ran smoothly and was very successful as far as member feedback has demonstrated, there are some challenges to be addressed on the level of reserve. This was the first Portmeirion for four years and such a hiatus has made it more difficult to plan based on a deficit of past cost profiles.
Following the end of year review, it is reasonable for the Convention fees to be kept at the same level.
4.2 Impact of Covid-19
As already mentioned, the lack of Conventions between 2020 and 2022 has interrupted the smooth flow of historical financial detail and made forecasting of costs more difficult. Now that we have the information from the 2023 Convention, we are in a much better position to forecast and set registration fees more accurately.
Additionally, we have naturally had limited access to Portmeirion’s facilities where the Convention equipment is stored. This was also compounded by the fact that the equipment was moved off-site for a time. This has now been transferred to a new, custom-built facility on the main site, which allows us better access and control of the kit.
Prior to the 2023 Convention, several members of the team were able to audit the equipment in the off-site location and arrange Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) to satisfy Health & Safety requirements as well as to conduct and arrange limited maintenance and repair on the village and event props.
Electrical testing and upkeep of props accounted for some 7% of the overall spend, although we are aware that there are some quality and reliability issues with audio-visual equipment that need to be addressed to make reasonable improvements for the next Convention and we will look to make the necessary investments.
4.3 Guest Expenses
Guest expenses were contained to 47% which we would normally expect to have been a higher proportion of the income. While guests receive no explicit payment for their attendance, they are paid accommodation, travel and meal expenses as a standard principle of not being out of pocket.
Expenses vary from guest-to-guest dependent on their locations etc. and we had the added challenge of having to change our guest profile at the eleventh hour, due to the unexpected passing of Tim Beddows from Network On Air.
4.4 Team Expenses
As noted in our guiding principles, the organising team pay the same rates for Convention registration as all other members and are paid no monies during the event.
Some of the organising team arrive well before the start of the Convention to set up the event. These individuals were provided with expenses in line with the society policy and this accounted for 6% of the fund.
4.5 Outdoor Setup
Setting up and dismantling the outdoor sound system is a specialist job. As set out in our guiding principles, we opted to use society members (outside the organising team) who have the necessary skills and experience to do a high-quality job.
This accounted for only 4% of the incoming funds. The average quote for this work from third party companies is 25% which explains our decision making. Note that if the quoted third-party suppliers had been used, then the uplifted proportion would have resulted in shrinkage of the reserve to 6%.
4.6 Managing the reserve
A healthy reserve of 28% from this period gives us the opportunity to improve quality, especially investment in refreshing ageing and obsolete audio-visual equipment, as well as fine tuning future costs and consequent fees. This is particularly important as we expect to incur considerably higher costs in preparation for the 40th anniversary Convention.
Report prepared and agreed by the Six of One Organising Team, August 2023.