Hi @ugne, @reef-finance, @reef-governance and @reef-coordination,
Apologies for coming in so late with this. I regret that I didn’t prioritise it better.
Seeing the discussions about the budget, the numbers etc, I have come to the conclusion that I have a major objection to the way we are currently running our financial processes.
I think there is some confusion between two different objectives:
- Making sure that our expenses won’t exceed the amount that we have on the bank account, and/or that we reflect well on how we want to spend the money that we have
- Consenting to Teams spending money
For me, the first is less problematic, because we know what we spend (thanks @alberto) and that we have enough money on the bank account.
The exercise we are currently undertaking, to me, is “bulk consent” to all the predictable expenses from the different teams. In other words, what we are doing here, is taking a “level 3 decision” (i.e. consent in the plenary) so that they become “level 2 decisions” (i.e. teams can act autonomously). Otherwise, in the system that we have now, we would have to have a consent process at the plenary meetings for every single team expense.
Objection 1: how to consent to expenses that are so far in the future?
I don’t see how we can predict 12 months into the future how much money the teams will need. As a consequence, it feels like we are sort of giving the teams a blank check, which is outside my range of tolerance. A possible solution could be to repeat the exercise every 6 months, but there are definitely other solutions too.
Objection 2: our process for “unforeseen expenses” does not always work
What we agreed earlier on, is that if a team wants to make an expense that was not consented to in the yearly budget exercise, that they would post something in the “unforeseen expenses” thread, and wait 5-7 days to see whether somebody objects.
This process was not followed this year for the purchase of the beamer. If that happened, it is not out of bad will, but because most probably the process is not clear.
So if and when we are having a second look at our financial processes, I’d be grateful if we could find a way to make this process clearer. Possibly this can be as simple as being clearer about the purpose of the budget exercise (i.e. bulk consent)?
Objection 3: it is not clear whether the catering costs of the public presentations are covered
It is very important to me that we develop a super clean hygiene around small amounts of money, especially those related to food and drinks. What I see right now, is that we don’t know whether the costs for the drinks and snacks are covered by the money that we collect. Everything together I would think that this is about 200 euro (or more), which I believe nobody in The Reef would go around this lax if it had been their own money.
I could think of a couple of solutions, but I prefer to express my need for clarity and accuracy, and leave it to those involved to come up with a solution.
We do have a lot of policy around spending and financial transparency (see The Reef's spending and financial transparency policy and Section XYZ in the Onboarding Manual), but it is not super clear about consent and about the process for unforeseen expenses.
Can we please have a look at this, refine it where needed, and then refine the 2024 budget?
(apologies again for coming in so late)