It has been a year since I became AMA’s chief financial officer, and what a year it has been. We were able to make some changes which have helped the AMA, both short term and long term.
As I write this article, we are working on 2015 budgets. When I look at budgets from previous years and what we need for 2015, there are some big differences. To begin, AMA needs to spend money on lobbying. During the past few years, we have spent nearly $1,000,000. A few short years ago, this was an almost nonexistent part of the budget.
The money spent has been effective, but we still have a long road ahead of us. The FAA’s recent interpretation has the potential to greatly impact our members and model aviation. We have to plan for increased legal and internal expenses as we work with the FAA to protect model aviation.
During our past two audits, we have been notified of the potential that some of our income could become taxable. Paying tax is not a bad thing. It means you are making money outside of member dues. Making money and not having to pay taxes on it is better. We are still working to ensure all deductions have been taken.
One source of income which could be taxed was AMA’s farm income. At the National Aeromodeling Center and AMA Headquarters, we offset expenses by leasing some of the property for crops. By restructuring our debt, we are able to eliminate the reason why the income is taxable. We are currently in the process of doing just that.
Because it is nearing November, many clubs are electing new officers. Congratulations to the new officers and thank you for your time. This is a good time to review your club’s finances. Be sure to check with your bank and make sure that your check signers are current. Sometimes new signers are added, but the old signers remain on the account.
As you set your budgets, look beyond what you have always spent money on. Evaluate what is needed in the next five years and plan ahead. This can include equipment purchases, field improvements, and anything else you want to accomplish.
I hope everyone is able to enjoy the holidays. I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.[dingbat]