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Discussion: OUSA's Accounting Transition

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 21, 2017 8:44 PM # 
I wanted to make all members of OUSA aware of the change we are making in our financial accounting and reporting functions. After study and recommendation by the Finance Committee, the Board decided that it would better serve the needs of OUSA to move to an on-line accounting system. This will allow a real-time view into our finances and facilitate moving more of our processes into the electronic realm. In addition, we need to make changes to support clear and regular reporting by program, and distinguishing amounts that are donor-restricted or board-designated. This will make it easier to identify any significant loss of operating funds from year to year, and thus avoid the situation that we faced the past few years. We will be able to bring the accounting for teams and other programs into the system, so that we can much more easily track those funds and make good spending decisions. Moving our accounting system online also ties into future planned improvements to the technology side of OUSA. In support of this move, the Board recently voted to ask our VP of Finance, Pat Meehan, to seek out a new online accounting system with a strong support component. Pat has found such a system, and we will begin testing with sample data over the next few weeks, with a planned migration by January 1.

For the past 20+ years, Robin Shannonhouse, a professional accountant and long-term member of OUSA, has very ably been maintaining the accounting function for OUSA. Robin’s expertise is with desktop accounting software, and she has been clear with us that she would not move with us to an online system. She will, however, be instrumental in helping us to make the transition to the new system. We are enormously grateful for all that Robin has done; the combination of her accounting expertise, and knowledge of our community and processes, has kept things running smoothly for all these years. In addition to her accounting work, Robin also performed many duties around club and membership services, and Robin has decided to let go of those responsibilities as well. The Board is currently working on restructuring those work streams, hoping to move some of them online to alleviate the need for even more volunteer work.

While this is a big change in how our accounting has been handled for many years, the board feels strongly that it is the right direction for OUSA. It is often difficult to change the way things have been done historically, and we do not take this transition lightly. The Board put much thought into this move, realizing that it might not be viewed favorably by some of our members. But sometimes we have to do difficult things to move forward.

I had a very helpful and reflective 2-hour call with Robin last night, talking through our decision, and expressing my and OUSA’s endless gratitude for all she has done, including her unbelievable work with the juniors in GAOC. The accounting system transition will happen over the next few months, and we are indebted to Robin for very graciously agreeing to help with that transition. She truly has gone above and beyond in support of OUSA.
Oct 21, 2017 9:40 PM # 
Thank you Robin Shannnonhouse for more than 30 years of service to USOF and Georgia Orienteering.
Oct 21, 2017 9:55 PM # 
Robin's contribution to American Orienteering has been fantastic. Many thanks.
Oct 21, 2017 10:22 PM # 
Thank you to Robin for more than 2 decades of service!!!

Congratulations to the board for making a difficult decision.

To both Robin and the board, taking care of the finances can be thankless. However, that work enables our sport and organization to exist so that so many people can focus on creating amazing experiences in the forest for themselves and others. Thank you all for your time, attention, and thoughtfulness behind the scenes.
Oct 21, 2017 11:00 PM # 
Has thought been given to security, such as managing users, what they can access, discontinuing access when no longer needed, discouraging sharing of user name and password (such as for another committee member to enter or access something), and so forth? Giving access to many has some obvious benefits, but also obvious risks to control. If the system contains any sensitive data, then having numerous, rather than few, volunteers accessing should give pause. I've grown weary of multiple major organizations notifying me that incredibly sensitive data has been hacked from their servers, so unless we think that OUSA can do better managing access, it would be best to keep anything sensitive out of the system (account numbers, credit card numbers, images of signatures, maybe even contact info, etc.). Sorry to sound a cautionary note.
Oct 21, 2017 11:39 PM # 
Having been a registrar for over a dozen A-events, including several with a US Championships element, I can attest to how valuable Robin's efforts have been in tracking and reporting OUSA membership stati, especially as the events drew near. As a result, pretty much everybody who registered claiming membership was in good standing when they checked-in.
Oct 22, 2017 12:24 AM # 
Congratulations to Robin for two decades of dedicated service to OUSA. She is certainly a unanimous first ballot "Hall of Famer"
Oct 22, 2017 12:46 PM # 
Agreed. Robin is awesome.
Oct 22, 2017 7:08 PM # 
Thanks very much to Robin for everything she has done for OUSA and the community!
Oct 23, 2017 10:00 AM # 
Thank you Robin for all the years of service. Her knowledge of USOF and the orienteering community enabled her to help me out many times when problems came up over memberships and team funding.

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