Burning Man’s Accounting Department went through a significant metamorphosis in 2009, and while it transformed, the rest of the organization supported this evolution. With this transition, we lost some of our deep-rooted family, and in their place we hired a great team of independent contractors to assist with accounting and finance functions … and with their guidance we moved forward. We relied heavily on the remaining staff, who did an admirable job juggling all things accounting. Additionally, we hired an experienced 10-year Burner as our new Financial Controller.

As part of our reorganization, we moved many of the functions that were more or less Human Resources-related from the Accounting Department to the HR Department.

With the help of quality temporary help, the onslaught of payables that we had to deal with was more manageable. 2009 brought with it process improvement in the areas of contract management, monthly financial reporting, and controlling charge accounts. An ongoing challenge that we will address in 2010 is the rapid expansion and contractions of temporary help before, during and after the Burning Man event, which stresses our hiring and payroll processes.

Our accounting department continues to engage with other professional partners such as our insurance brokers. We once again increased insurance coverage and as usual we have taken extraordinary measures to mitigate risks.

We further advanced accounting processes, including adding regular reporting of our financial statements, which in turn provided more timely feedback for decision making.

The Budgeting process became an even more important function for our organization this year. The Budget Committee was formed to guide the organization’s fiscal policies, process and procedures. Facing the effects of the Great Recession, our entire staff pitched in with a collective tightening of the belt. Without their intense work at managing cost, being more efficient, and economizing resources, we would likely be struggling in the late months of the year. All-in-all serious sacrifices were made to keep us from adding to the state’s unemployment rate! In 2010 we expect to remain focused on finding intelligent ways save the organization money.

Submitted by,
Doug Robertson