General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

A service of the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division


American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

July 2008

Committee Highlight

             Applying the art and science of finance can sometimes be a difficult and time consuming responsibility.  A budget is a financial plan showing income and expenditure for the year ahead.   No budget is ever 100% accurate.  Some things are likely to change in the course of the year ahead, some costs may increase and similarly some may decrease.  A budget should be closely watched and the more time goes into preparing and reviewing it the more accurate it is likely to be.

             The Primary focus of the Budget Committee is to create, maintain and monitor the Division’s financial budget plan to ensure the well-being and efficiency of the Division.  The committee selected and appointed by the Division Chair-Elect, is currently composed of Budget Officer, H. Stanley Riffle, who functions as the committee chair and the Revenue Development Director, Charles A. White, Jr. who serve as Vice Chair.  Other members include the incoming officers; chair, chair-elect, vice chair and secretary; the Corporate Sponsors committee chair, and the Membership committee chair.

            An annual workable budget is produced by the committee for the coming fiscal year.  Preparation of the budget begins in mid-March and is the culmination of extensive work spanning several months by the committee and staff in preparation for submission to the Division Council prior to the Annual Meeting in August.  The council reviews the budget before the council meeting and is prepared to exercise all power and duties necessary and appropriate for carrying out the business and affairs of the Division. The council shall review and approve the annual budget.  The committee conducts business via Executive Committee meetings, Budget Officer and Staff meetings (meetings and conference calls), and daily e-mails and telephone calls between Budget Officer, Division Chair and Division Staff Director and Finance and Committee Coordinator.

            The objectives of the Budget Committee are 1) aid the Officers and Council in the performance of their respective responsibilities with regard to the financial policy of the Division;  2) assist the Budget Officer and Chair-Elect in preparing the budget for the upcoming year; 3) report to the Executive Committee periodically regarding the finances of the Division; 4) monitor the implementation of the approved budget; 5) perform such duties and have such powers as usually pertained to the office of Budget Officer, Revenue Development Director or Division Chair.

The responsibilities of the committee are:

1.    The study of the financial affairs of the Division with respect to the next year and the making of recommendations and reports with reference thereto to the Council, including in particular a detailed budget showing expected income and expenditures for the fiscal year coinciding with the Chair­-Elect's term of office as Chair, which budget shall be presented for consideration at the Annual Meeting of the Council each year.

2.     Consultation with the Budget Officer of the Division and, through him or her, with Executive Committee regarding investment of Division funds.

3.     Examination of contract services provided to the Division and working with the Budget Officer of the Division and Division Chair with a view to making recommendations to the Council that will assure that the Division receives the best results for its expenditure of funds.

4.    Creation of an annual budget for recommendation to the Council and, after adoption, monitoring adherence thereto.

5.    Recommendations to the Budget Officer, Division Chair and Council regarding sources of income and regarding reduction, consolidation and elimination of expenses.

6.    Recommendations to the Council of ways to assure that expenditures are in the best interest of Division members, designed to promote involvement in the work and activities of the Division.

            In keeping with the Division’s financial policy, the Budget Committee strives to create and maintain resources adequate to ensure the well-being and efficacy of the Division. The committee’s proposal and recommendation of a fiscal sound budget to the Division Council is balanced by the needs of the Division’s membership and is in consideration of the best interest of the Division.  The Council’s approval or oppose of a recommended budget shall equally be at the best interest of the Division.

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