Financial planning and management within ISPRS consist of the establishment of an annual budget, regular reports by the Treasurer to the Council and the General Assembly, and formal operating policies and procedures.
This document is divided into two parts: Part 1. Financial Planning and Budgeting , and; Part 2. General Accounting and Operating , and shall be used to document ISPRS’s financial philosophies.
Oversight and review of the financial policy is ultimately the responsibility of the Council and the Financial Commission, and an outside auditor may periodically be requested to review and/or approve this document.
This document reflects policies and procedures in effect at the time of preparation. Routine modifications to ISPRS systems, processes and officers may affect future policies and procedures, and, as a result, this document should be reviewed at least on a quadrennial basis.
Part 1. Financial Planning and Budgeting
- Fiscal Accounting Method: ISPRS uses the cash basis of accounting to recognize income when it is earned and expenses as they are incurred. In addition, ISPRS utilizes monthly cash flow analysis, to forecast resource availability and to minimize the use of custody accounts (reserve funds) during the period of the year with minimal cash flow income.
- Fiscal Year Cycle: ISPRS operates on a calendar year of 01 January to 31 December. Annual budget preparation begins with Council input and preparation during the late summer and fall. Using current-year income and expense reports, the Treasurer projects income and expenses in a conservative manner. In addition, budget projections are reviewed and modified at mid-year by the Treasurer and approved by all Council members with highlighted changes (compared to the budget).
- ISPRS Custody Accounts: ISPRS has four custody accounts which are investments designed as reserved accounts, and not intended for general operational expenses. Use of these funds may be used only by documented approval from Council.
- Timely Payment of Invoices: Although more of an accounting policy than a planning tool, it is critical that invoices be routinely paid on time. The Treasurer’s goal is to pay invoices within 30 days of the invoice receipt.
- Conservative Budgeting: It is prudent financial planning to under-budget for income and over budget for expenses. With this philosophy as a general guide, ISPRS has elected to budget expected revenue flow from meetings, including Congress, Geospatial Week and mid-term Commission Symposia, in a conservative manner. Similarly, membership retention estimates will be made conservatively, with the result that dues income will not be overestimated. All budgeting will take into consideration the prior year actual figures, with adjustments made as appropriate. Expenses will be analysed by category and programme as a percentage of expected revenue, and amounts to be held in reserve will be identified as a budgeted item.
- Memorandums of Understanding and Long Term Agreements: While it may be desirable from time to time to enter into long term relationships with other organizations and individuals, including those for the conduct of meetings and conferences, publications, professional development, etc., it is critical that ISPRS address the financial and fiscal implications of those relationships. In order to ensure that the full organizational interests are addressed by these arrangements, and to maximize organizational buy-in to any agreement, such agreements must be documented in writing, include a budget that projects reasonable net proceeds, and be approved by the Council and/or the General Assembly (GA), as appropriate.
- Publications: Historically, ISPRS has published many titles of great importance to the photogrammetry, remote sensing, and spatial information sciences community. These publications have involved significant contributions by ISPRS members, and have generated some income for the organization.
- Reserve Cash Account: It is the desire of the Council to maintain a cash reserve account as a buffer to minimize the need to access the Custody Accounts. Based on typical Society recommendations, the target level for total operating reserves is six to twelve months of expenses based on the previous two-year cash levels (i.e. approximately 12.000 CHF, 5.000 USD, 6.000 EUR).
- Custody Accounts: It is the desire of the Council to maintain a reserve within the custody accounts equivalent to the full, unhindered operation of the Society for a quadrennial term. Based on the four-year budgeting process, the target level for total custody account reserves is a minimum of CHF 500k.
- Financial Commission (FC): The appointment of a volunteer Financial Commission separate from the Council and the Treasurer is intended to provide volunteer oversight to the financial policies of the Society. The role of the Financial Commission of ISPRS shall be advisory and consultative, and shall involve the following responsibilities:
- To annually examine/inspect the financial records, the annual financial reports to ensure that all the financial records are well documented (maintenance of records, bank statements, expenses, etc.), that revenues and expenses are based on appropriately taken decisions and that all the required documentation is in order and available. The findings are reported to Council no later than 31 May of each year.
- To advise Council and the GA on Guidelines of financial policy as well as on setting up a four-year Budget Programme and categorize expenses and assigning upper limits of each expense category as percentage of the projected income.
- To advise Council on all financial matters, including placement of investments and size of reserve, at any time upon the request of the Council.
- To advise Council of the appropriateness of the annual budget prepared by the Treasurer and approved by Council.
- To perform random sample checks on expenditure when it is considered necessary.
- To meet the Treasurer and Council at least once during its four-year term to discuss financial policy.
- To advise Council on proposals for new expenditure or new proposals that incur additional expenditure by the Society.
- Financial Review Process: The Treasurer shall recommend and Council shall approve a periodic financial review process; the Treasurer shall communicate with the reviewing body the scope of work and desired evaluation documents. Electronic or telephonic meetings are acceptable. The Treasurer shall have the authority to engage other advisors (for example, legal services) as deemed necessary. The Treasurer shall provide a report to FC, and after FC’s approval, a report to Council prior to any action.
- Certification of Financial Information: The Treasurer is required to certify that the financial information prepared for any internal or external use fairly presents, in all material respects, the Society’s financial conditions and is free of misstatements and/or omissions. The Treasurer must also acknowledge responsibility for, and represent that the system of internal control is adequate and appropriate for the organization and in compliance with this policy document. The Treasurer must also certify annually that there have not been any breaches of fiduciary duty or similar violations.
Part 2. Accounting and Operating
- Financial Review and Internal Controls: A Financial Review may be conducted by a third party at the discretion of Council. The resulting review should be completed by 31 July, with a report issued to the Council. Adequate internal controls are to be maintained to routinely provide for the deliverance of a clean Financial Review.
- Chart of Accounts and Cash Flow Projection: An automated cash flow document will be maintained which accounts for the cash available to pay invoices and cover all items on the Chart of Accounts on a monthly basis. The document is currently a spreadsheet and utilizes data from the annual budget. The document is made available to Council members using electronic transmission prior to Council meetings.
- Income Projection: It is critical that income projections for publications, advertising, subscription payments, and miscellaneous income be monitored at least monthly. This review will be done by the Treasurer, and adjustments to income projections will be made, as necessary; the Cash Flow document will be updated at the same time.
- Accounts Receivable: At least three times per year, a full summary of Subscriptions in arrears (or deep arrears) and accounts receivable (AR) will be reviewed by the Treasurer, with the goal of reducing the aged accounts receivable to a minimum. A standard set of letters is employed in the follow-up to this process. Where good efforts at collection have failed, aged accounts will be reviewed by Council, and actions and policies will be developed concerning the appropriate status of delinquent parties.
- Purchase Approvals: All purchases must have a written request (email is acceptable) on file prior to the actual order or acquisition. Exceptions to this policy are only for purchases under CHF 500, for purchases using credit cards during meeting and travel events, or for purchases covered by pre-signed (contractual) agreements of an ongoing nature. Non-recurring expenditures over CHF 500 or unbudgeted purchases (for example, contract services, publications, advertising, etc.) of any amount must have the approval of the Treasurer (or designated alternate).
- Debt: It is the policy of ISPRS to maintain a debt-free operation. Instances where execution of deficit budgeting making good fiscal sense are to be brought to the attention of the ISPRS Treasurer and Council at the earliest opportunity.
- Communication with Council: The Annual Report will be approved by all members of Council and FC. Financial problems, both extant and potential, are identified and highlighted for the Council as soon as they become known to enable Council to work jointly to address those problems.
- Accounting for Meetings and Conferences: In order to clearly understand the fiscal impact and budget of Congress, Geospatial Week and Commission Mid-term Symposia, separate accounting for all meeting revenue and expenses shall be established. A copy of every finalized contract will be provided to the Treasurer. Accurate accounting of staff effort as well as general and administrative expense is made so as to isolate the individual costs of the conduct of meetings and to clearly account for any resulting net income. Meeting account balances are clearly defined on the cash management reports to allow distinction of those expenses to be paid from general operating funds from those payable from meeting funds.
- Reimbursement of Travel Expenses: Travel expenses for Council and designated individuals are kept to the minimums required to effectively conduct business, and are reimbursed at actual expense. Travel expenses for approved volunteers are reimbursed in accordance with Reimbursement Policy (See Attachment A) for attendance at Meetings. Other volunteer travel will typically be at actual expense for transportation and hotel, with meals either provided by ISPRS or reimbursed at actual basis. Original receipts are required whenever possible for all expenses claimed. Where possible, complimentary or staff rate hotel rooms should be utilized at conferences. Travel resulting in expense reimbursement must be via memorandum or email (budget estimate) for all days where ISPRS meetings or business requires the individual’s attendance. When appropriate, intervening days between meetings may also be covered. Auto mileage will be reimbursed at the currently defined US-IRS rate.
- Donations of support should be provided to the Treasurer for accounting, the year-end reports, and the ISPRS tax return.
- Contracting Authority: Contracting authority is limited to budgeted activities, as modified and approved by the Council throughout the year.
- Credit/Debit Card Expenditures: A credit/debit card is issued to the Treasurer as authorized by the Council. The Credit card is to be used only for ISPRS-related expenses; statements are reviewed monthly by the Treasurer prior to payment. Credit card statements and supporting documentation are available for inspection by the ISPRS Council at any time.
- Accounting for Programme Activities: Where economically and logistically feasible, expenses will be tracked by programme areas (i.e. Subscriptions, Publications, etc.). Tracked expenses will include, but not be limited to postage, long distance telephone charges, shipping, and printing.
- Records Retention: It is the policy of ISPRS to retain business records in accordance with federal and state requirements (as per incorporation instructions) and in compliance with good business practices, as advised by legal counsel, the auditor and/or outside accountants. Prior-year’s ISPRS records are managed by the current Treasurer.
- Required Compliance Reporting: To comply with US-IRS and the State of Maryland Federal and State taxation regulations, several forms must be filed by the Treasurer on a yearly basis to maintain ISPRS’s tax-exempt status. Copies of these reports are available for Council review at any time. The minimum required forms are:
- Federal Form 990 (Organization Exempt from Income Tax)
- State of Maryland (Annual Update of Registration)
- State of Maryland (Annual Update, Exempt Organization for Fund Raising)
- Federal Form TD F 90-22.1
- Conflict of Interest: It is the policy of ISPRS that the Council and designated volunteers representing ISPRS are expected to avoid any actual or apparent conflict between their own personal interests and the interests of the Society. A conflict of interest can arise when someone participates in decisions, takes actions, or has personal interests that may interfere with his or her objective and effective performance of work for the Society.
SUBJECT: ISPRS Reimbursement Policy for Council and Approved Volunteer Travel
The following is the Society's policy for reimbursing Council members and approved volunteers for their travel expenses associated with attending an ISPRS supported meeting. This document restates and updates existing policies.
- ISPRS will reimburse 100% of round-trip economy airfare and ground transportation costs (e.g., airport shuttle, airport parking, and ground transportation to and from airport to a meeting facility).
- Airline (or other types of transportation) ticket receipts (documented proof of payment) for travel expenses MUST accompany the request for expense reimbursement.
- If a Council member opts to drive to the meeting location as a cost-saving measure, ISPRS will reimburse for mileage at the US-IRS business-expense rate in effect at the time of the incurred travel.
- ISPRS will reimburse documented on-site expenses (e.g., food and lodging). Additional expenses, for example, laundry during extended meetings, taxis and other transportation must be clearly itemized on the Expense Report.
- Expenses involving spouses or travel companions are not reimbursable, and must be separated out and documented as necessary on the applicant’s expense report. Expenses involving social gatherings, special events, guest meals, and non-Council person expenses will not be reimbursed without adequate documentation supporting the goals of ISPRS business.
- In accordance with the 15 October 2008 Council action, Council or other Approved Travel reimbursement requests and receipts must be submitted to the ISPRS Treasurer within 180 Calendar Days after the meeting’s conclusion in order to be eligible for reimbursement. This policy is firm, and only the full Council may issue a waiver.
Any questions regarding the ISPRS travel expense reimbursement policy should be directed to the Treasurer.
Approved by ISPRS Council – Antalya, 14 November 2013