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October 2016 - Focus on Conference Finances
"It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is        to use it well."
~ Rene Descartes
Top Considerations When Building a Conference Budget
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An accurate conference budget may not be easy to  creat e, but is a  valuable tool as a decision-making framework throughout the lifecycle of your event.  When drafting your budget, be sure to consider the following:

1. Historical Performance: Review the actual financials of previous events in the same series. Past conference financials can provide a guide as to how much revenue and expense can be expected in the major categories. While past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results, they can usually provide a good framework from which to build.
2. Location: Changing the location of a conference can have drastic consequences on its financials. In addition to costs varying widely across locations, there may also be tax concerns to consider in different parts of the world.
3. Character of the Program: Program changes can also drastically impact the events financials. Most of IEEE's annual events evolve from year to year, adding new components to ensure that the conference stays current and viable. It's important to account for these new elements impact on conference's financials, and to make adjustments for the increased revenue and expense associated with these activities.
4. Market Prices: Setting an appropriate registration rate is essential to   a financially successful conference. In doing so, it's important to consider not only what rate is needed to cover costs and generate a surplus, but also what similar conferences are charging for registration.  That could include other technical conferences in the same geographic area as well as other conferences in the same technical field.  

Organizers will want to ensure that their rates are not drastically higher than comparable events or risk losing potential attendees to those events.

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Conference Banking Options
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IEEE conferences have four primary options for  handling their banking:   
I. Concentration Banking Accounts: 
Available in both USD and CAD, the IEEE Concentration Banking (CB) program is administered by IEEE Treasury Department in conjunction with Wells Fargo. CB accounts function similarly to  a standard checking account, and organizers may receive a checkbook and/or declining balance debit card to make payments.  

II. Local Bank Accounts : Some IEEE conferences prefer to set up an independent checking account at a local bank of their choosing. In these cases, IEEE policy requires a staff member be added as a signer on the account so that funds may be accessed in the event that such a need arises. 

III. Fiscal Agent Representation : Many IEEE conferences work with a local partner for financial management, such as a university or other not-for-profit company. This arrangement is particularly prevalent where indirect taxes apply, as local partners may have exemptions from such taxes.  
If a fiscal agent is being used, a document called a "Fiscal Agent MoU" must be completed to solidify the nature of the arrangement between the agent and IEEE. 

IV. Section Accounts : Though typically not ideal, in some parts of the world, use of an account owned by an IEEE Section may be a viable option for managing conference funds. This arrangement can make bookkeeping difficult, as separating conference activity from section activity can become cumbersome.  
In areas of the world where it is difficult to open a bank account, use of a Section account may be the simplest route to compliance, especially for smaller conferences. Be sure to consult the Section Treasurer for guidance.

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In This Issue
Quick Tips
Did you know? 
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IEEE is VAT exempt in Ireland? 

If you're considering locating your event in Western Europe and are not already working with a VAT-exempt partner, holding it in Ireland could have a big positive impact on your bottom line and save you hours of paperwork filing taxes.  

MCE Conference Education Program 
IEEE MCE Conference Education provides learning opportunities for conference organizers of all experience levels, IEEE units and roles.
Learning options available:
- Educational Webinars 
- eLearning Courses
- Conference Workshops

Resources can be found in the IEEE Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE) , u se  your   IEEE Account  f or access.
Contact  IEEE MCE  for more information on Conference Workshops.    
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Transaction Support  Available for 2016 Conferences
Over the last several years, IEEE's external auditors  have advised of the  need to capture transaction-level support for all conference activities.  
In response, IEEE adopted NetSuite, a cloud-based bookkeeping tool   to enable conferences to record all financial activity and supporting documentation in a format satisfying the auditors. While many conference organizers adopted NetSuite, others prefer different bookkeeping tools with which they are more familiar.

As of 3rd Quarter 2016, IEEE has staff available to assist conference organizers by recording their conference's financial transactions and supporting documents. Conferences should provide the following key pieces of information to their designated conference analyst:
  • Copies of all bank statements 
    • Not needed when Concentration Banking is being used
  • Support for all transactions shown in the bank statements  
    • Registration reports, invoices, receipts, etc.
The MCE Business Operations Team looks forward to working with you to satisfy all of IEEE's financial requirements in the most efficient and expedient way possible.

Industry Practitioner Focused Event Resources Now Available
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I mproving industry practitioner engagement and relations are IEEE-wide concerns, with many IEEE groups taking action. The IEEE Conferences Committee Industry Engagement Ad Hoc has been evaluating conference and event related opportunities since 2014.

There is general acceptance that the traditional academic conference model is not appealing to industry practitioners. 

Ad hoc chair Rob Fish noted, "IEEE Societies and OUs are comfortable and skilled at running scholarly conferences, but many lack ideas or models that target industry practitioner needs and interests. That's why the ad hoc focused its efforts on creating tools that are nearly 'plug and play'."

The ad hoc identified successful IEEE-run events targeted at industry practitioner participants and created event models that societies, councils, sections, and chapters could follow and implement locally. The model documents provide descriptions of the events, planning assumptions, content or speaker needs and materials required, along with IEEE examples for reference.
The model event types are:
  1. Networking Focused
  2. Skill /  Training Focused
  3. Speaker / Insight Focused
To assist event organizers in implementing these ideas, a set of general event materials containing planning information are provided.

These include:
  • Event Budgeting - Event budget planning tool; Planning costs for selected global cities
  • Event Planning and Management - Simple event planning template; Sample event run of show guide; Sample conference calendar
  • Working with Speakers - Guides to identifying and recruiting speakers; Articles on working with keynote speakers; Speaker bureaus; IEEE Photo Release Form
Learn more about these materials at Industry Engagement Event Resources and Tools
If you are interested in organizing one of these events, IEEE Meetings, Conferences and Events (MCE) provides services and support for OUs interested in exploring or creating events targeting industry and practicing engineers. Please contact Susan Root for more information

Rob Fish will participate in a webinar on 20 October 2016 covering this in greater depth. 
See the article below for details or register.

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Conference Education Program Updates 
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Education Opportunities for Finance Chairs and Treasurers

The MCE Conference Education Program offers several eLearning courses that will enable conference organizers to gain skills and knowledge to simplify their efforts and more effective.
The courses are available in the IEEE Center for Leadership Excellence and accessed with your IEEE Account

October Webinar Topic: Running Industry Practitioner Focused Events webinar image
To promote and enable OUs to run events that will attract industry practitioners,     the IEEE Conferences Committee Industry Engagement Ad Hoc and IEEE Meetings, Conferences and Events (MCE) have developed a set of resources for local customization and implementation.
Our IEEE Volunteer presenter is Rob Fish, Treasurer - IEEE Communications Society and Chair - Industry Engagement ad hoc. Rob will provide background on   the current situation and needs of IEEE industry practitioner members. In addition, he will review the resources available to IEEE Organization Unit leaders interested in running these types of events.
Rob will share insights based on his direct involvement in establishing IEEE 5G Summits, a highly successful industry practitioner targeted event series.

Date: Thursday, 20 October 2016 

Time:11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Time:3:00 - 4:00 PM - Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Upcoming Services Disruption - 27 - 28 October
Users of IEEE Meetings, Conferences & Events (MCE) applications will experience a planned service interruption on Thursday 27 October and Friday 28 October. 

To allow for system upgrades and routine maintenance, the IEEE Conference Application, Financial Reporting and Publication forms   will not be accessible for the period from 7:00 AM ET US Thursday 27 October until 5:00 PM ET US Friday 28 October.
Please plan IEEE conference activity with this timing in mind. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact MCE. 
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