Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-foundation (71 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-foundation] Purpose of the Foundation; help refine the definition
On 25/01/2011 08:48, Alan Clark wrote:

On 1/24/2011 at 11:18 AM, in message
<AANLkTimxQhL5Yxgd4XS4j+MfAd3dimTbHjBm_RWCCW91@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Greg Freemyer
<greg.freemyer@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 12:18 PM, Alan Clark<aclark@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

On 1/24/2011 at 04:02 AM, in message<ihjm7c$67s$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Per
Jessen<per@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Vincent Untz wrote:

Le lundi 24 janvier 2011, à 10:25 +0100, jdd a écrit :
Le 24/01/2011 10:02, Per Jessen a écrit :
jdd wrote:

We may also very quickly be obliged to hire some lawyers,
secretary, even some room (managing money in may be millions
dollars need cautions, how do Mozilla do?)
According to wikipedia, the Mozilla Foundation has 150 employees.

sure, but how is it managed? (not that I hope so much cash very soon
:-))
We can look at Foundations that manage thousands instead of millions
as a start...
That might be more realistic :-)

Of course, the management principles remain the same, it's just the
amount of workload that differs.

The GNOME Foundation and the KDE eV both handle that
very well, with a board and a part-time/full-time administrator. (The
GNOME Foundation also has a part-time sysadmin and a full-time
executive director.)
A foundation is just a special kind of legal entity - the practical
aspects of how it is managed is the same as any other business.
You are right in that we do need to figure out how to manage the funds. The
legal entity does have to account for them to the members. We will need to
develop a very 'light weight' process to manage it. That's why I put a
placeholder topic on the wiki. Think simple - aka spreadsheet. The
interesting part is that the project hasn't really tracked funds (as a
project) in the past, so we have a learning curve ahead of us. Where we have
spent money in the past should help define how to categorize the funds in the
future.
I'm fine with a spreadsheet as a starting point.

Has the board/project had visibility into the Ambassadors funding, etc.?

ie. I believe ambassadors get giveaways, some travel expenses, booth
expenses, etc.

Has all that been handled internal to Novell and there is has no
visibility to the openSUSE board, or is it something that is known and
reported on to the openSUSE board?
I don't think we need to delve that deep. My point was to keep accounting a
simple task while tracking and reporting the items at a level that is of
interest to the community. If you look at Gnome.org and KDE.ev for example,
the tracked categories of expenses are different as the questions the
communities wish to most easily answer are different.

Understanding at a high level, the expenses of the past plus knowing what is of
interest going forward helps identify the right categories.
Typically you want to keep it to 7-8 categories.

Typically a small organization, such as this, will want to keep the number of
categories down to 7-8 categories. To best identify the expense categories we
need to understand the questions we want to most readily answer and track.

Greg, to capture and add to your thoughts, I created a wiki page[1] (linked to
the Foundation portal), listing out a strawman proposal for expense categories.
I know what I wrote on the wiki isn't the right set of categories, but it's a
start. I also tried to capture some of the questions you raised.

The proposed categories on the wiki are:
* Travel Support
* Marketing Materials
* Administration
* Infrastructure
* Contingency/Misc.

Those categories make it easy to identify a travel budget, a marketing budget,
etc. It is a bit more work to identify expenses tied to a particular event -
for example to ask the question, How much did we spend on SCALE?.

Take a look at the categories on the wiki page and recommend changes.

-Alan

[1] http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Accounting

I have read what you wrote above which is really a repetition of what that URL you provided also contains.

So, the intention is to use a spreadsheet to record any revenues and to record expenses?

OK, and you are going to keep any monies you receive in a shoe box kept by someone under his/her bed and when some monies are received some mysterious person - obviously the person who goes to the post office to check for any mail - will place the cash or cheque (US lingo: check) into the shoe box. But what happens if s/he puts the cash/cheque into her/his pocket? Won't there be anyone to ensure that what was received is actually placed into the shoe box?

And then some bills have to be paid. Who is going to take the money out of the shoe box and pay the bill? And will there be anybody to make sure that what is taken out of the shoe box (by whoever - in fact, who IS it going to be?) is actually the right amount and not some many dollars over what the bill is which then ends up in the pocket of the person who is taking the money out of the shoe box to pay that bill?

And there will be cases when the revenue "you" may receive is subject to tax. Somebody will be able to record on the spreadsheet what part of such a payment is subject to tax and which part is not and how much tax is to be paid on the taxable bit, right? Or there would be expenses which could attract some grant or recompense according to some local authority statute and these expenses of course will be meticulously recorded on the spreadsheet.

Every organisation worth its salt uses what is now called Management Accounting (when I was studying accounting at University it was called Controllership), a double-entry accounting system, which keeps management informed of what is occurring financially-wise in the organisation: how much was received as revenue, what was paid out, how much is in the bank, how much is owed for purchases yet to be paid for, how much is owed by people to the organisation, assets owned, short term liabilities, long term liabilities, et al.

There are also legal standards as to what management has to report annually to its members in the annual statement of accounts. A spreadsheet falls far short of what is required. Perhaps this is what you may use in your household for day-to-day budgeting but then when you go to the bank to get a loan you will be asked for much more detail than the simple figures on your spreadsheet.

I'll stop at this point.

BC

--
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.


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