[foundation-board] FYI - update on Michelle

Laura James laura.james at okfn.org
Wed Oct 22 22:05:51 UTC 2014

I should add that I do not see that Michelle could complete this work
without additional support without working  serious overtime , even if she
was well and even with me around to assist, on top of normal operations.

We still need more finance help in general to sustain without operations
burnout - hence (overdue) grant manager /finance manager role. We hired
James to handle this a year ago (PT alongside other work) and this didn't
work out. Now our finances are somewhat more secure we need to address this
longstanding gap.

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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