By Daniel D. Clark
We are well and truly into the height of summer, and because financial tomes do not generally rank high on lists of riveting beach reads (unless, of course, you are the WSBA treasurer), I want to provide just a few quick fiscal updates.
Foremost, we are in the midst of planning the fiscal year 2022 budget, which covers October 1, 2021, through September 30, 2022. You can expect more information as the Budget and Audit Committee prepares a draft to go before the Board of Governors for a first reading later this summer and before a final version comes back for action in September. License fees for the coming year will remain steady—in line with one of our top priorities to not increase lawyer license fees—and, therefore, our focus is on continued and additional operating efficiencies and maintaining appropriate reserve levels. We are also looking beyond the coming year, as the Board of Governors develops long-range strategic goals that will have a financial impact.
A few actions to note from the Board of Governors meeting in May: We selected audit firm Clark Nuber to perform the next five cycles of annual audits and we agreed to transfer $500,000 from the general reserve fund to the restricted facilities fund. Clark Nuber is our current auditing partner and has served us well for many years; looking forward, Clark Nuber put together the most competitive and comprehensive proposal to continue to do the work. As for the facilities fund, the Board of Governors agreed it would be wise to build that pot of money to allow us to be flexible (buy space? satellite offices across the state?) as the WSBA’s current lease of office space in downtown Seattle comes to an end in 2026.
We have closed the books through April—more than halfway through the fiscal year, which runs October through September—with a net increase to the unrestricted General Fund of $1,643,575. Our original FY 2021 budget called for $202,782 in reserve spending by year’s end, which means we are actually at a $1,846,357 YTD positive variance from that projection. We will have several expenses in the remaining months which we anticipate will lower the overall ending fund balance for FY 2021, but we will continue to monitor this and update you accordingly.
As always, it is my honor to serve as treasurer. On a personal note, I was elected by the Board of Governors in May as incoming president-elect. As I transition to that new officer role in October, I will continue to champion transparency, efficiency, and service to members and the public. I look forward to working with our new treasurer during the FY 2022 year!