As the old saying goes, it’s not about the money, except when it is. Marshall Clark is our club treasurer, and in this article he gives us an insight into the club’s financial processes and outlook.
The trick to good financial management is making sure that we have at least as much money coming in as we have going out, and that we do something worthwhile with it as it passes through our hands. I’ll begin by talking about our sources of income, then I’ll say a bit about how the money is spent.
Here is an illustration of our income, comparing ‘2017 Actuals’ – the total amount received last year (excluding GST), with ‘2018 Budget’ – the amount we expect to receive this year.
Income: clubhouse rental
We rent use of the clubhouse to a karate club, and that is a significant source of income for the club. The most notable change between last year and this year is the significant drop in this rental income. It results from a marked decline in the membership of the Karate Club, leading them to renegotiate the terms for their use of the building.
The subscriptions income shown in the illustration is the total of subs paid by members. However, less than half of the money paid in subscriptions is actually received by the club. Much of it goes to Athletics New Zealand and to Athletics Wellington.
We are now required to pay our subscriptions via the Athletics NZ ClubNet system. Our registration levies to Athletics New Zealand and Athletics Wellington are automatically deducted, and the club receives the balance. For a Standard (Adult) member, the total subscription amount is $185.00. Of that, $65 goes to Athletics NZ and $40 goes to Athletics Wellington.
There are many other subscription types, involving different ANZ and AW levies. In addition, the club pays a credit card handling charge of 4% on total subscriptions. Overall, once levies and handling charges are deducted, the club ends up with only around 37 cents in each dollar of subscriptions paid by members.
Nevertheless, we report the total subscription amounts in our accounts (and in the illustration), to show what our members have paid to be a part of our club, and to be a registered athlete.
In the illustration of income, we have included the grants that we were fortunate to receive from charitable organisations in 2017:
We have applied for grants from same three organisations over many years. There is no certainty year to year about whether we will receive any grant, or the amount, but the 2017 figures are typical. Whenever we apply for a grant, we need to collate a range of information to meet requirements for eligibility. If a grant is obtained, there is also a compliance process for reporting on how the grant has been used. The Management Committee prepares the grant applications, with some assistance from Todd Stevens.
Here is an illustration of our expenditure. (For those who might ask: this does not include the accounting depreciation charge.)
To ensure transparency as outlined in the description of income, we report the total subscriptions paid by members, including the registration levies to Athletics NZ and Athletics Wellington. These levies are our largest item of expenditure and have increased (on a per-head and total amount basis) in recent years.
The clubhouse expenses are also significant. The largest item of clubhouse expenditure at present is insurance.
The club pays all entry fees for members to compete in the inter-club events during the harrier season. The club also pays a special levy to Athletics Wellington as a contribution towards our use of the track at Newtown Park over the summer period.
The expenses shown in the chart above do not include the total outgoings for the NZ Road Relay Champs, for which we require specific member contributions. Instead, we have just shown an entry for “Subsidies”. This represents the amount from club funds that makes up the difference between the combined total of grants received and member contributions, and the total costs for the event.
Overall, even with the reduced income from the Karate Club, we currently expect to make a small surplus from our ownership of the clubhouse this year. That makes the clubhouse a net financial asset, at least for now. Of course, we also get enjoyment from our use of the building for club runs and other activities.
However, the building is large and there are multiple maintenance issues that need attention from time to time. Decisions about significant investments in the clubhouse are always complicated, because we do not own the land and do not have long-term security, because the building is located on the Town Belt. Ultimately, Wellington City Council has the power to determine what happens with the land, and hence with the clubhouse. We do not have guaranteed long-term rights to occupy the site.
We have no way of knowing what a future Council may decide. The protection of the Town Belt could become a significant issue from the Council’s perspective. The Council could also come up with a new use for the space. Although it may seem unlikely at present, we need to take these possibilities into account in committing to expenditure on the building.
Overall, the club is currently in a sound financial position. The club has substantial reserves, but it is important that these reserves are maintained at a reasonable level. The reserves ensure that the club can be resilient in the face of large unexpected expenses, significant reductions in income, and other unforeseeable events.
The sound financial position, together with the grant income that we receive, allows us to provide members with a good range of benefits, including all entry fees to inter-club events and significant subsidies to reduce the costs of participation in the NZ Road Relay trips.
Our 12-month member subscription is remarkably good value. Especially compared with the typical costs of registering for commercially organised running events, it makes a lot of financial sense to join Wellington Scottish.