The governance structure of the BCSTA includes several standing committees established to consider the organization’s business in specific areas and to provide recommendations to the BCSTA Board of Directors.
The committees also provide members with opportunities to engage directly in BCSTA work and to provide perspectives from the membership. BCSTA standing committees are formed by resolution on the AGM floor. Membership in, and terms of reference for, these committees are governed by bylaw. Current standing committees include:
- Credentials Committee
- Finance and Audit Committee
- Indigenous Education Committee
- Legislative Committee, and
- Professional Learning Committee.
This month we are going to profile the work of the Finance and Audit Committee.
Roles and Responsibility
The Finance and Audit Committee (previously known as the Finance Committee) has been delegated important responsibilities of financial oversight and operation. One of the most important roles of the committee is to prepare BCSTA’s annual budget in cooperation with the board of directors. The committee duties also include such areas as collecting dues, fees, levies and other revenue, recommending reasonable controls to ensure the safekeeping of Association funds and ensuring that proper financial records are maintained. The committee monitors the Association’s expenditures and directs audit services.
According to the bylaws, the full set of duties of the Finance and Audit Committee shall be:
- to monitor the collecting of all dues, fees, levies and other revenues on behalf of the Association;
- to recommend reasonable controls for the safekeeping of Association funds;
- to obtain satisfactory evidence that there is a continuing maintenance of proper financial books and records;
- to monitor the expenditures of Association monies;
- to cooperate with the Board of Directors in the preparation of an annual budget for the following fiscal year;
- to supervise the calculation and drafting of an annual membership fee scale, in accordance with budget requirements;
- to ensure that an inventory statement of the Association’s capital assets is completed at the conclusion of each fiscal year;
- to approve BCSTA’s draft audited financial statements and to report to the Provincial Council as required on the financial status of the Association, substantiated by the audited financial statements; and
- to review all accounts payable payments in excess of $5,000.
The Importance of the Finance and Audit Committee
As reflected in the list of duties, the Finance and Audit Committee plays an important role in ensuring the financial health of the Association. It does so by engaging in financial planning and monitoring, ensuring assets are protected, recommending financial policy, reviewing audited statements and other financial records, and keeping the board of directors apprised of the Association’s financial position.
The chair of the committee has additional responsibilities in areas of the BCSTA finances, including:
- to approve the expenses of the Chief Executive Officer; and
- to review all purchases made using BCSTA’s corporate credit cards.
Having membership closely involved in the Association financial processes ensures accountability and transparency, two important principles of the Association.
Annually, the BCSTA solicits interest from the membership for participation on a variety of committees. Following the Annual General Meeting, the president considers requests submitted by volunteers and factors such as geographical representation, continuity, and renewal, and appoints members to committees accordingly. Members of the Finance and Audit Committee are appointed by the president within thirty days of the president’s assuming office. There are no less than two (2) members plus a chair. Unlike other standing committees of the Association, the Finance and Audit Committee is chaired by a member of the board of directors. The chair also fulfils the role of liaison between the committee and the board of directors. All members shall have voting privileges.
Members of the Committee are:
- Mike Murray – Chair, Board of Directors
- Janice Canton – SD71 (Comox Valley)
- Megan Dykeman – SD35 (Langley)
- Frank Farrell – SD54 (Bulkley Valley)
- Dawn Lang – SD08 (Kootenay Lake)
Mike Murray, Chair of the committee, adds “It has been a privilege to serve alongside the other members of the Finance and Audit Committee over the past year. The committee also welcomes the leadership and support provided by Jodi Olstead, who is a long-serving staff member and outstanding steward of the Association’s fiscal position.
Some critical work completed by the staff and committee in 2019 included:
- the appointment of new auditors following an extensive selection process;
- a review and update of the Association’s travel expense policy; and
- finalization of a new lease agreement for the BCSTA office (in its current location). The work was completed utilizing criteria endorsed by our membership and following a thorough review of the alternatives.
In preparing the budget for review by the board of directors and Provincial Council, the committee has also maintained appropriate reserves to:
- permit the completion of ad hoc research to be undertaken in support of member-driven directions; and
- support member board professional development and strategic planning.
Both of these areas are highlighted in the Association’s strategic plan.”
The Committee reports jointly to the board of directors and Provincial Council. The Chair, as the board’s committee liaison, serves to keep the board of directors apprised of the committee’s work. The committee, through the board of directors, reports to Provincial Council on BCSTA’s audited financial statements, the appointment of BCSTA’s auditors, and development of BCSTA’s annual budgets, which are approved by Provincial Council.
The committee meetings are scheduled around the important dates of the financial process:
- annually in June to begin long-range budget planning;
- annually in September to review and approve the prior year’s draft audited financial statements and to continue budget planning;
- in conjunction with meetings of the Association’s Provincial Council;
- annually in January to review the first draft of BCSTA’s operating budget for the following fiscal year;
- in advance of general meetings; and
- at the call of the Chair.
The committee typically meets in person, but conducts meetings remotely where possible. Agendas reflect the timing of the meeting within the annual budget cycle. The chair develops meeting agendas with assistance from staff and input from the committee. The committee budget and the approval of draft minutes are standing items. Staff distributes the agenda in advance of the meeting.
The work of the committee is supported by Jodi Olstead, Director of Finance and Human Resources, and Elaine Teng, Program Assistant, Finance.