SIGBI President’s April 2018 Blog

Empower Today, Enable Tomorrow

Blog on behalf of President Susan from Judith Lewis, Federation Director of Finance.

This month it is my turn to write the blog in our year of letting the members know what our role and responsibilities involve and helping you to get to know us a little better.

My Role of Director of Finance is currently the only post that is skills based, I had not served on FMB prior to being appointed in October 2014. My professional qualification of Chartered Accountant was the criteria for appointment. I have used my knowledge and skills to help enhance the financial reporting for SIGBI.

Working with Joanne Voller, our finance officer, the Sage accounting system has been more fully utilised to streamline our processes.

This has been a busy and challenging year as we work toward achieving SIGBI Ltd becoming a charity and setting up SIGBI Trading Ltd.

The bank account for SIGBI Trading Ltd has been opened and the new Investment Account with 7M is almost complete. SIGBI Trading Sage ledger is set up with additional codes for different sales items which will allow more reporting for the new company, so we are ready to trade from 1st April 2018.  The new Directors are about to be appointed and I look forward to what can be achieved during our first year of trading.

The three charities of SIGBI are all administered separately: Diamond Education Grant and Emergency Relief Fund through the office and the Benevolent separately by me.

Reviewing the balances on these accounts is part of my role, so for the Diamond Education Grant an additional £10k has recently been invested with advice from Paradigm Norton our investment advisors. The Benevolent Fund involves making quarterly payments to our beneficiaries. We received three generous legacies in January and February so £33k has been invested through Paradigm Norton, our investment advisors.  Please continue to remember our charities especially at year end when distributing President’s charity funds.

Another new development we have been discussing is whether we need a separate bank account for conferences. As I am sure many of you know opening new bank account is now a long drawn out process so from next year we intend not to open a separate account and those involved agree that it is feasible and desirable.

We are currently planning and working on year end which is 31st March.  Four separate sets of accounts have to be prepared and audited.  We have worked hard to reduce our outgoings as a Federation: cutting budget lines, travel expenses, office expenses and general management costs.  These figures will be reflected in the annual accounts. However we need to seek an increase in capitation fees from next year in order to cover our day to day running costs, it is not good governance to set a deficit budget.   Working on the resolutions for these increases has been demanding.  When you see the resolutions being submitted to the General Meeting in Liverpool I hope you will understand the rationale behind them and support the increases.

Amy Peake – Loving Humanity

I seem to spend hours at the computer which is of course necessary but I really enjoy meeting members and hearing what is being done. It was a pleasure to visit the Regional meeting of South West and Channel Islands last month. The very warm welcome from President Daphne and members was superb. Two excellent speakers – I particularly enjoyed Amy Peake, Loving Humanity. What a story and I so admire her energy and determination.

I thought that getting the new members involved in the regional meeting was an excellent idea. The presentation given to them was very comprehensive and the few I spoke to had enjoyed the lunch time session, Well done Daphne, that’s how to treat new members and get them involved . Hearing from different clubs about their projects was as usual fascinating and makes us all remember why we belong to this wonderful organisation.

It was gratifying to attend the National Assembly of Wales in March at the invitation of Assembly Member Joyce Watson who is well aware of Soroptimists and our work. Ann Hodgson and I attended a woman’s round table discussion “100 years of Progress for Women. How to make our collective voice heard towards a common future”   It was very select group, good to have SIGBI represented.

Variety is the spice of life and I certainly get that from my role as your Director of Finance.

In friendship

Judith Lewis
Director of Finance



Read previous SIGBI President Blogs:

This year, various Members of the FMB are writing the monthly blogs to give a more varied feel to the work of the FMB: