Curious as to what the financial strategy and status of the Commerce Undergraduate Society is for the 2016/2017 year? The Board of Directors and Executive Council have reviewed multiple budget proposals this past summer and have made a decision that would allow the CUS to maintain a more sustainable budget for years to come.
Revenue and Surplus Decoded
This year the CUS generated an annual operating revenue of $930,000 from purely student fees and the number fluctuates depending on enrolment numbers each year. Over numerous years, we’ve gained a surplus from student fees that haven’t been spent and last year the accumulated surplus was approximately $550,000, of which each year $150,000 is required to maintain to pay for ongoing expenses early in the fiscal year (ie. IT).
Last Year’s Intentional Deficit
Last year, the CUS recognized that the money should be spent so that it goes back to the students, and had budgeted a $200,000 deficit spread across our services and conferences in order to spend the surplus. Hence, reporting a deficit in our case as a student society is not necessarily a bad thing! However, while the intentions were good, this caused a problem as we budgeted this year. If our services and conferences maintained the same budget, we would naturally expect to spend the remaining $200,000 ($150,000 untouchable) and deplete the surplus completely.
A Sustainable Budget Moving Forward
While we do believe that we should be spending the surplus, the $200,000 deficit is essentially not sustainable for future years which is why we have reduced the deficit in half. This year our budget for our services and conferences allows for a shortfall of $100,000, so that we can spread the surplus over a number of years, aiming to reduce the deficit in half each year. With reductions in budgets over multiple years we can reduce the burden on our services to reduce their budgets drastically and work towards sustaining ourselves on purely the annual student fee revenues.
I hope this sheds some light onto the financial status of the CUS and why we have decided to take the measures that we have in order to support the services, conferences, and clubs for future years to come.
If you have any questions regarding the financial strategy for the CUS, please do not hesitate to contact me.