2010 has brought some much needed stability and routine to the organization’s accounting and finance functions. We have seen advancements and improvements in many areas this year.

The Accounting Department has experienced a better effort by many employees and managers to get their expense reports, invoices and credit card reports delivered closer to the deadlines.  We have seen more department managers adhering to, and engaging with, the protocols for budget overages.  The Accounting Department has found harmony.  Successful hiring this year has brought us competent staff.  We have found better operational efficiencies resulting in lowered costs in the areas of merchant, bank and payroll fees.  We have better organized and improved the “temporary on playa” payroll work load.  Our choice of ticket allotment model this year had a good predictive design.  Renegotiating some of our vendor contracts provided us better service levels and intelligent cost savings to the organization.  

Other areas where we have found traction are in budgeting and reporting.  This year, we have better defined and communicated the budget process and all related milestones. We have further delivered financial information to the tentacles our organization resulting in more transparency and better on-the-ground operational decision making. This fiscal diligence has lead to more stability.

The organization has better considered its fiscal priorities and created balance among sustainable business growth and future plans, with an eye on employee benefits and compensation.

Some challenges that we experienced in 2010 were:
•    Work loads have had large swings  
•    Payroll software bugs and system user limitations
•    Unbudgeted resource demands for the organization’s strategic initiatives continues to challenge our cash flow forecasting
Larger project and/or systems analysis are needed for the following areas:
•    Fixed Asset Management
•    Inventories for small tools and equipment

While looking at these in 2011, we will also focus on improving our financial controls, analyzing insurance coverage and reviewing the operation of our on-playa technology and computer networks for better stability.

As usual, the accounting team will continue to work diligently behind the scenes supporting Burning Man’s year-round efforts and its mission in the larger world.   

Submitted by,
Doug Robertson