Budget Season: Looking Forward to Summer and Fiscal Year 2023

COLUMN

BY BRYN A. PETERSON

With summer upon us and while we are all enjoying the best weather of the year, it is time for the Budget and Audit Committee to get to work and prepare the 2023 fiscal year (FY 23) budget for the full Board of Governors to review and approve. The budget for FY 23 starts with the WSBA staff doing the heavy lift and preparing it for review by the Budget and Audit Committee. The Budget and Audit Committee will use its July and August meetings to review and comment on the FY 23 budget. Once the Budget and Audit Committee and WSBA staff have finalized the FY 23 budget, the Board of Governors will first consider said budget in late summer and will approve the final version of the FY 23 budget at the September Board of Governors meeting. 

This time of year is always very busy for the Budget and Audit Committee and gives us the opportunity and pleasure to work with WSBA staff to prepare the FY 23 budget for the Board of Governors’ review and approval. While this process is very interesting, it is also challenging, because the WSBA, much like a retired person, is on a fixed budget and the consumer price index (CPI) continues to increase along with the cost of doing business. The need to meet the mission of the WSBA is balanced with the challenge of keeping member license fees flat. The WSBA mission states: 

“The mission of the Washington State Bar Association is to serve the public and the members of the Bar, to ensure the integrity of the legal profession, and to champion justice.” 

So how do we take our limited and fixed income and serve the public, the members, ensure the integrity of the legal profession, champion justice, deal with an increased CPI and the cost to do business, while keeping the members’ license fees flat? For the last few years, we have been able to pull off this daunting feat and I believe that we can pull it off again this year. 

I am also happy to report that we have made amazing progress on revising and updating all of our fiscal policies through the diligent effort of Governor Francis Adewale and Advancement Department Director Kevin Plachy. This is a thankless and a time-consuming project and Governor Adewale and Director Plachy have done a tremendous job. It has been a while since the WSBA has comprehensively revised its fiscal policies and we are overdue to have this revision completed. It is very important to keep our fiscal policies up to date. This current iteration was done with an eye toward making our policies more workable for volunteers who contribute their valuable time to the furtherance of the WSBA mission.

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 $1,700,586. Our original FY 22 budget called for $89,563 in reserve spending by year’s end, which means we are actually at a $1,790,149 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 22, but we will continue to monitor this and update you accordingly.

I hope that you are all able to enjoy the wonderful weather here in the Pacific Northwest as we enter into the summer season! It has been and continues to be a pleasure to be your treasurer for this fiscal year. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding the WSBA budget.

If you would like more information about the meeting times and materials for the WSBA Budget and Audit Committee, please visit http://www.wsba.org/connect-serve/committees-boards-other-groups/budget-audit. In addition, you can find our annual report and the monthly financial information for the WSBA at www.wsba.org/connect-serve/committees-boards-other-groups/budget-audit

About the author
About the author

Bryn Peterson is the owner of Peterson Law, PLLC, which specializes in corporate law. He can be reached at: