An Outline of the WSBA Fiscal Process
BY FRANCIS A. ADEWALE
There are two powerful fiscal forces that combine to propel organizational progress: ensuring growth and improving financial stability. One helps us look back, through the audit mechanism, and the other looks forward, through budgetary planning. This is the time of the year where we look back and look forward at the same time.
I recently met with representatives of our external auditor, Clark Nuber PS, to prepare for the first process—auditing. The importance of auditing to an organization like the WSBA cannot be overemphasized. Auditing includes examination or inspection of various books of accounts by an auditor, who assesses areas of risk to the organization, reviews internal controls relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements, and determines the appropriate audit work to be performed to express an opinion on the financial statements. The goal for the organization being audited is to receive an “unmodified” opinion, which indicates that the financial statements present the financial position of the organization fairly, in all material aspects, and the financial position of the organization is in compliance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S.
Budgeting, on the other hand, is both a political and financial process. Some say that the budget reveals the real intent of an organization, despite what may be written in the organization’s mission and purpose statements. Since the WSBA’s budget is a tangible expression of what the organization’s real priorities are, it is our intention to hold a retreat during the March 2023 Board of Governors meeting to set priorities and the budget framework for FY 2024. Budgets invariably create incentives and disincentives that can affect the behavior of managers and staff. A fundamental idea in budgeting is the recognition of the differences between controllable and uncontrollable expenses upon which managers can be made accountable. Therefore, within our budget process we are asking the Board of Governors and the Budget and Audit Committee to provide structure that will help the WSBA budget adequately for the programs and services our members enjoy and benefit from.
These two activities—auditing and budgeting—are going to occupy the time and resources of the WSBA Budget and Audit Committee for the first half of the year. An organization’s budget reflects not only considered plans, but also the push and pull forces within the leadership of that organization. Our commitment to fiscal discipline and how we deploy your licensing fees to serve you, our members, and protect the integrity of our profession is primary.
I would like to give kudos to WSBA staff and to the members of the Budget and Audit Committee, Governors Matthew Dresden (District 7), Erik Kaeding (District 8), Nam Nguyen (District 10), Mary M. Rathbone (District 4), Kari Petrasek (District 2), Brett A. Purtzer (District 6), and Alec Stephens (at Large) for their readiness and commitment to this process. It is my hope and desire that this process will help strengthen the fiscal stability of our Bar Association.
Our Bar President, Dan Clark, has expressed his desire to increase volunteer participation in our Bar Association. One way for members to participate in the management of the WSBA is by attending a Budget and Audit Committee meeting! Below are our meeting dates for 2023. Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions.
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Budget and Audit Committee Meeting Schedule FY23
All meetings are held virtually on Fridays; see website for additional details:
- Jan. 27, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- Feb. 24, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- March 24, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- April 28, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- May 26, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- June 30, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- July 21, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- Aug. 25, 2023: 1-3 p.m.
- Sept. 29, 2023: 1-3 p.m.