JCUMSA Financial Report - Jan 2021
By Eric Smith
Hello everyone! As the new 2021 JCUMSA treasurer, I want to start off 2021 with a firm message that I strongly value transparency with JCUMSA’s financial planning moving forward. It is my honour and privilege to manage and, in cooperation from the other executive members, allocate your funds so that as a collective we can strive to improve the wellbeing of all JCU medical students. My plan this year is to put together brief ‘Financial Reports’ posted on the website, published within the first week of each month to provide regular updates on JCUMSA’s fiscal management, any changes in budgeting as the year progresses, answer any questions on the allocation of funds and lay out any new plans for investment strategies and revenue streams moving forward.
It is my firm belief that the allocation of JCUMSA funds should be freely open to scrutiny from the body of students we serve, as much as feasibly possible.
The 2021 Budget
With that aside, the month of January has been exciting. As treasurer, my main objective this early on has been putting together the 2021 JCUMSA budget, through careful assessment of past budgets and in collaboration with other JCUMSA executive members and their individual portfolios.
The budget includes the planned operating expenditures and projected income for the various avenues of investments JCUMSA has. It is merely a loose framework for financial planning, and is notably used as a reference at the end of the year to reflect on what areas of the budget were under-represented for better budgeting for following years. It is not a binding contract, and funding is likely to differ in certain areas due to a variety of different reasons, including event cancellations. Budgeting will be revised each month.
Some of the key changes we made this year as an Executive in contrast to previous years’ budgets include (but are not limited to);
- Removed budgeting of JCUMSA funds for executive polo and scrub tops
- Decreased allocation of JCUMSA funds for subsidising the executive retreat
- Decreased projected income from various sponsor organisations post COVID
- Increased allocation of JCUMSA funds towards subsidisation of flu vaccines
- Increased total allocation of JCUMSA funding grants to JCUMSA subsidiary groups; InPsych, JCU OB/GYN and MINT
- Increased JCUMSA funds for the publications portfolio to increase JCUMSA branding and social media presence
“…It is my firm belief that the allocation of JCUMSA funds should be freely open to scrutiny from the body of students we serve, as much as feasibly possible…”
As an executive, we agreed to continue with a model of making a very slight profit off JCUMSA non-academic events so that we can afford to reinvest this money into academic events and our other operating expenses, such as flu vaccinations, mock OSCE nights and so on. This typically happens every year, with each member typically paying a slight $5-$10 surplus on tickets to cover this (as well as the transaction fee ANZ takes from each purchase for using their website payment system).
Due to privacy concerns we cannot publish the actual budget publicly, however if you would like to discuss its contents more specifically, please contact myself (Eric) and we can arrange a meeting to go over the finer details.
A More Conservative 2021 Budget
In the aftermath of COVID and the difficult financial situation many Australian businesses are no doubt in, we’ve had to make the budget more conservative this year than it has been in the past, to take into account possible shortfalls in sponsor income. Currently, our main revenue streams other than sponsors are through membership and the slight profit we make from events.
As an executive, we are looking at ways to diversify our revenue streams, but not to price gouge our members but to find ways that support our students most effectively so we can ultimately organise the events, activities and organise wellbeing support that makes us who we are. Thanks to sensible fiscal management in the past, JCUMSA luckily has performed quite well over COVID, and I hope to follow through with this financial success into the future.
It is with great pleasure that I can announce that JCUMSA has been authorised to use Square payments as part of our business model starting in 2021. This will allow for in person EFTPOS payments which sync to the website store automatically, with the funds depositing into the JCUMSA bank account. This will dramatically increase efficiency when selling items like merchandise and JCUMSA gold membership in person, without relying on students going into the website store checkout. We plan to use Square in the Welcome BBQ later this month.
I will have more details on this in next month’s Financial Report, once we have had a play around with what Square offers us.
That is all I have for the January 2021 treasurer’s update. If you have any questions about my financial vision for JCUMSA, any suggestions about the budget, or anything at all, I am very happy to have a chat with you by emailing me here.
Wishing you all well for 2021.