AFTERBURN REPORT 2006
Accounting started the year off by bringing in another member to the team – a part-time accounts payable clerk, making a total of four bean-counters. With that addition, Accounting opened up accounting office hours to a regular (default world) schedule for the week of the event on-playa. Indeed, the playa seems like such an odd place to process expense reports and issue checks. Almost not right, even. Well, the awesome staff seemed to think so too and two bean-counters spent their week in a quiet shipping container ready to crunch numbers that nearly didn't arrive. For 2007 Accounting will consider scaling back this part of the operation, since the need doesn't seem to be there -- for us, an ideal situation.
Accounting, DPW's Purchasing, and Information Technology departments spent the early part of the year researching off-the-shelf purchase order (PO) software solutions. The goal was to find an affordable solution that offered multiple layers of control, online accessibility, cross-platform usability, easy integration into the existing accounting system, and customizable to suit the particular needs for department and reporting structures. After narrowing it down to two possibilities, the demos and testing phase began -- and disappointingly, neither proved to be a fit. Accounting and DPW Purchasing planned a strategy to track expenses real time. With small expense coding victories and a better idea of what can be done next year, this is not over yet.
Accounting strengthened relationships with banking partners by setting up more flexible, short-term, investment accounts (short-term being key, since what flows in flows right back out). Mainly due to last year's record population and fewer capital improvement projects on the Nevada properties, Accounting posted positive year-end numbers.
Outside financial audits produced favorable results for 2006 – a nice validation of the team's efforts. Staff handled audits without needing extra temporary help – well done.
The bean-counters extend gratitude for the Burning Man Project's insurance brokers, who care about the goals and who advocate for them with underwriters. In the present climate, where insurers are less and less willing to insure a risk, not enough can be said to their credit.
The 2006 budget process seemed to take place in the blink of an eye. Proposed budgets were reviewed, tweaked and approved by the budget committee with knee-weakening efficiency. Yes, very sexy.
Huge thanks to everyone involved. Mahalo.