[foundation-board] FYI - update on Michelle

Laura James laura.james at okfn.org
Wed Oct 22 21:58:17 UTC 2014

We are supposed to file our accounts and pay any due corporation tax within
9m of year end (which is may 31); we could slip and take the fine but we
have a record of late filings in the past so fine will be heavier.

Several funders require/request audited accounts within 6m of year end as
part of grant agreements eg world bank, Omidyar. That's end Nov. In the
case of the bank this includes project specific audit.

Unclear year end positions are stopping us having accurate management
accounts as we are holding estimate balances for grants (where we need to
balance with care each year). We need to close this and clear the estimate
journals and get back onto accurate accrued positions. Quite a lot of the
year end work is closing accounts for old projects and thereby realising
surplus on commercial work, closing tracking books etc.we have well over
100 active projects each needing separate tracking and being able to get
rid of last year's will help us stay on top of financial work. The longer
things wait the harder it gets as well to trace understanding and info
about old projects if the audit requires it.

So we could postpone but I feel it would be unwise. If this was the board's
preference, I would still engage the interim accountant and would use him
to sort out project accounts instead (priority 3) especially grants,  which
is also needed although this work would be less accurate and useful due to
not having closed last year.

Let me know what you think. My default position would be to proceed with
the plan as in previous email.

On 22 Oct 2014 22:41, "Jane Silber" <jane.silber at canonical.com> wrote:

>  Hi Laura -
> Thanks for the update.  If I may ask a couple questions,
> - What is the legal/contractual deadline on the audit?
> - What is the legal/contractual deadline on the year end accounts?
> The reason I ask is that, if it is possible,I wonder if it would be better
> to wait on some of those activities until we have some continuity.  Unless
> there is a legal deadline, neither seems to be pressing enough to require
> interim help, and while it will be good to cross them off the to-do list,
> both of those are likely to be activities that will benefit more from
> context and continuity than immediate action.  We may need to focus our
> limited resources only on those things that are absolutely required until
> there is a little more slack in the system.
> thanks,
> Jane
> On 22/10/14 19:15, Laura James wrote:
> * All,  Just to let you know I spoke with Michelle today.  She is now
> returning to work part time starting with finance activities 1-2 hours a
> day.  This will ramp up as her recovery allows, staying just with finance
> for the moment.  We will look to add in other duties as and when and have
> no fixed plan for these yet. She will be avoiding the pressure of general
> email and general team meetings for now. I expect to have a clearer long
> term cover plan in 2-3 weeks as Michelle's recovery continues and we see
> how the part time tasks work out. I am prioritising that she continues to
> rest and is not placed under pressure at this time. I will also work up
> some alternative plans around different scenarios here and share with the
> board as soon as I can (speaking with Tom about this on 3/11).  An interim
> accountant starts monday (already has been getting up to speed with Xero
> etc) and I will be briefing him to handle [in priority order] (1) year end
> accounts, (2) audit (due end nov), (3) project financial management
> support.  I expect he will be with us for 4-6 weeks in the first instance
> but we will review and see how things go. Cassandra and I have been getting
> matters ready for briefing him and a quick start on the accounts and
> audit.  He will be handling direct liaison with Buzzacott on the audit.  I
> am writing a role description for a grant manager who will take on
> financial management for projects especially grants, including tracking and
> reporting to funders. This will relieve the burden off Michelle and also
> our project managers.  The PMs are gaining in financial skill but this sort
> of tracking and reporting is not a strength or passion and we have enough
> work to justify a 0.6-1FTE appointment. This was anticipated by Michelle
> and I before her illness and so should proceed.  Cassandra has been getting
> & staying on top of bookkeeping, payroll etc nicely in Michelle's absence
> and Nigel, recently promoted to senior sysadmin, has IT under good control
> too. Meg in HR, who is still learning a lot about this sort of role as it
> is her first HR position, has a higher workload and is less good at
> prioritising, needing daily management support, which I am covering at
> present. Michelle's return to work will mean I no longer need to cover
> payrun and banking duties although I will continue to help with higher
> level finance work.  Laura *
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> Jane Silber | CEO | Canonical
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