September 01, 2008


 Treasurer finds inspiration in economic challenges

Marsh says AVMA will remain strong in any financial market

Standing before the House of Delegates July 18, AVMA Treasurer Bret D. Marsh said no one knew the Dow would dip nearly 20 percent from its October high, gasoline would exceed $4 per gallon, a subprime mortgage debacle would shake the housing market, and food prices would escalate.
Dr. Bret D. Marsh
Dr. Bret D. Marsh
"But all of these challenges provide the AVMA with opportunities for new initiatives, inspired imaginations, and chances to make big differences in the world arena," he said. 

The treasurer said that although this is a period of unprecedented change in the national and global economy, the AVMA remains financially strong. "Since the AVMA continues to place its members first and provide services that meet and exceed their expectations, it will remain strong in any financial market," Dr. Marsh said.

The Association's current financial position lists cash and government funds at $3.4 million, receivables at $570,000, prepaid expenses at $205,000, and investments at $25.5 million. Added to that are fixed assets of $10 million, comprising the AVMA headquarters building in Schaumburg, Ill.; the Governmental Relations Division offices in Washington, D.C.; and computer and office equipment.

The economy that brought record earnings from the investment portfolio and better-than-projected receipts from sales of classified advertising has changed. This year, the projected income over expenses is $118,140, and for the 2009 budget it is $95,978. Those projections compare with nearly $2 million in income over expenses last year.

Dr. Marsh touched on various other revenue streams, such as commercial advertising, convention registration, sponsorships, exhibitors, the Veterinary Career Center, and building leases.

Dues income now accounts for 57 percent of the AVMA's income. For fiscal year 2009, dues revenue is projected at $16.9 million. It has not been necessary to request a dues increase since 2004, and Dr. Marsh attributed this to continuing membership growth, the strength of AVMA income streams, and controlled spending. He noted, however, that as expenses continue to climb and revenues flatten or decline, it may be necessary to adjust dues for the 2010 fiscal year.

On the expense side, Dr. Marsh said the AVMA Annual Convention and publication of the scientific journals "are significant membership services that are also major expenses." Travel expenses are being tracked carefully to make sure they stay within budget.

"The Executive Board continues to be very deliberative in its fiscal decision making," he added.

The treasurer spoke of several noteworthy developments regarding AVMA fiscal management—creation of a Strategic Goal Fund in the AVMA reserves, establishment of an Audit Committee, the retirement of Daniel Murawski as director of the Business Division, and the hiring of Kim Michael-Lee as director of finance and business services for the division.