Headquarters Update

It Takes Money to Advance the Science

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

The collective hurrah you may have heard coming from northeast Oklahoma around mid-April was the AAPG staff thankful that another successful annual meeting was behind them. The collective sigh you may have heard from the same location the following week was that same staff digging into the details of the FY 2012 AAPG budget.

It’s been said that a budget is a method of worrying before you spend money, as well as afterwards.

The primary worry in the AAPG budget process is finding the funding for all the great programs and activities AAPG conducts each year – and the significant number of new ones.

The budgeting process at AAPG is an arduous affair that spares no AAPG manager or director. Considerable thought and evaluation goes into reviewing the financial requirements of each of the multitude of global programs and activities AAPG will be engaged in the coming year.

Even foreign currency expectations have become an important aspect of the budgeting process.

It’s a very bottom up process in which every program and activity planned and proposed gets a number or set of numbers assigned to them. The value and benefits of each are reviewed and evaluated.

Not all programs survive.

In budgeting parlance it’s referred to as zero based budgeting, and when it’s all said and done, the AAPG annual budget provides a guide for how the next fiscal year will be managed – and a template for the financial resources available to AAPG leadership, staff and volunteers to advance the science of petroleum geology.

Edward Bennett Williams, former president of the Washington Redskins professional football team, was reported to have said that he gave head coach George Allen an unlimited budget – and he exceeded it.

Unfortunately, AAPG does not have the luxury of operating with an unlimited budget. The allocation of financial resources is one of the most difficult tasks an Executive Committee must tackle each year. AAPG’s growing global reach and increasing programs ensures there will be more demands for funding than revenue available to support them.

As you would expect, the stewardship of the member’s money is serious business at AAPG. The overseeing of the annual budgeting process is done by the Budget Review Committee, which includes the president-elect and treasurer. Several drafts of the budget are completed and reviewed before a final version of the budget is presented to the Executive Committee for approval.

During the year the Executive Committee is provided with quarterly financial updates, which allows it to keep track of actual results versus budget.

Additionally, AAPG has an Audit Committee and independent financial audit firm, both of which help to ensure AAPG’s accounts and financial records are proper and reflect accurately the financial condition of AAPG.

This is not to say that AAPG is not on solid financial footing at this time. It is. The organization has been around since 1917, and has been blessed with support and leadership that has made it this way.

Nevertheless, to continue to advance the science of petroleum geology for the next hundred years, AAPG will require continued financial diligence as well as the financial support the organizations and members it has received the past 94 years.

At the time of this writing, the FY2012 budget remains under development. Much progress has been made – however, a few tweaks here and a few minor modifications there are still under review as the new fiscal year closes in.

Sometime around July 1 please listen carefully as you might hear another collective hurrah from headquarters. This means AAPG’s FY2012 budget has been reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee.

Please keep listening as the hurrah may be shortly followed by a collective sigh. This means the EC recognizes it can’t afford to do all it would like to this next year. Some programs and activities may have to wait until next year or beyond.

Nevertheless, as members of AAPG, you can be proud the organization has the leadership necessary to make the required budget decisions.

You also can be comforted that AAPG has the proper oversight structure and processes in place to ensure that AAPG will have the financial capability to continue the advancement of petroleum geology well into the next century.

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