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ComSoc Finance Committee and Financial Status

Sherman Shen

Xuemin (Sherman) Shen

President

2022-2023

Robert Schober election

Robert Schober

Treasurer & Member at Large

Class 2022-2024

Bruce Worthman

Bruce Worthman

Director of Finance and Business Operations

IEEE Communications Society serves its members by providing professional and educational opportunities including publications, workshops, conferences, career development, lectures, and multimedia content. The objective is to support these services at the minimal cost possible while ensuring that enough revenue can be generated to cover all operating expenses and have some funds available for investment in new programs and initiatives that can lead to additional member benefits in the future. In this issue of the President’s Page, I am pleased to introduce ComSoc’s Treasurer, Robert Schober, and ComSoc’s Director of Finance and Business Operations, Bruce Worthman.

Robert Schober [S’98, M’01, SM’08, F’10] is an Alexander von Humboldt Professor and the Chair for Digital Communication at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Germany. He was a professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. His research interests fall into the broad areas of communication theory, wireless and molecular communications, and statistical signal processing. Robert has received several awards for his work including the 2002 Heinz Maier Leibnitz Award of the German Science Foundation (DFG), the 2004 Innovations Award of the Vodafone Foundation for Research in Mobile Communications, a 2006 UBC Killam Research Prize, a 2007 Wilhelm Friedrich Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the 2008 Charles McDowell Award for Excellence in Research from UBC, a 2011 Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, a 2012 NSERC E.W.R. Stacie Fellowship, a 2017 Wireless Communications Recognition Award by the IEEE Wireless Communications Technical Committee, and the 2022 IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Stuart F. Meyer Memorial Award. Furthermore, he has received numerous Best Paper Awards for his work including the 2022 ComSoc Stephen O. Rice Prize. Since 2017, he has been listed as a Highly Cited Researcher by the Web of Science. Robert is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, and a member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering. He has served ComSoc in various roles including Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Communications and VP Publications. Currently, he serves as a member of the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the IEEE, as a Member-at-Large of the ComSoc Board of Governors, and as ComSoc Treasurer.

Bruce Worthman is ComSoc’s Director of Finance and Business Operations. Bruce has been with ComSoc since 1997 and has headed the Finance and Conferences Departments during his over 25-year career. His duties involve compiling and managing the Society’s $30 million annual budget, and all accounting and finance related tasks including ComSoc’s nearly 40 financially sponsored and co-sponsored conferences annually. Bruce has a B.A. degree in accounting/information science from Queens College, City University of New York, and passed the Certified Public Accountant and Association Executive exams.

In their efforts to ensure ComSoc’s financial health and identify new opportunities for investments to improve member benefits, Bruce and Robert are supported by ComSoc’s Finance Committee (FinCom). The current FinCom roster is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: ComSoc’s Finance Committee Members.
Sherman Shen ComSoc President
Vincent Chan Past President
Nelson Fonseca VP, Conferences
Ana Garcia Armada VP, Member and Global Activities
Wei Zhang VP, Technical and Educational Activities
Chengshan Xiao VP, Publications
Rose Hu CIO
Michael Fang BoG MAL (22-24 class)
Sumei Sun BoG MAL (21-23 class)
Koichi Asatani BoG MAL (20-22 class)
Merrily Hartmann Non-BoG MAL
Sonia Aissa Non-BoG MAL
Phillipa Martin Non-BoG MAL
Tom Hou Non-BoG MAL
Robert Schober Treasurer (FinCom Chair)
Harold Tepper ComSoc Executive Director
Bruce Worthman ComSoc Director of Finance and Business Operations

 

ComSoc’s Financial Status

ComSoc is currently in a very healthy state. Figures 1 and 2 present a summary of the composition of revenues generated and the sources of spending. ComSoc is currently developing its budget for 2023 and is projecting a modest surplus. The trend of ComSoc’s significant sources of revenue and expenses are shown in Figs. 3 and 4. Looking back over the last several years, ComSoc’s revenues come primarily from conferences (attendee registrations and sponsorships) and proceeds from sales of IEEE’s packaged products. ComSoc continues to explore ways to diversify their portfolio through growth of membership, subscription, advertising, training, and open access revenue, and also searching for new revenue streams. The pandemic that started in 2020 created significant volatility and uncertainty for ComSoc overall, specifically conference revenues. For example, a conference that traditionally generated surpluses in excess of $1 million only generated a surplus of $10,000 in 2021. Due to ComSoc’s nimble shift to provide a virtual access alternative, ComSoc was able to stabilize its overall conference financial performance. Due to lack of travel and ComSoc continuing to stay efficient, ComSoc’s net result during the pandemic period was positive, leading to an ability to invest in new programs. ComSoc and its FinCom will need to continue to adjust to the manner in which communities and governments want to have content made available for consumption.

Figure 1: 2023 revenue.
Figure 1: 2023 revenue.
Figure 2: 2023 expense.
Figure 2: 2023 expense.
Figure 3: Revenue trend.
Figure 3: Revenue trend.
Figure 4: Expense trend.
Figure 4: Expense trend.

Lastly, in reviewing the financial trends, in 2021 an upgrade in the accounting system (to NextGen) led to a review and change of the financial reporting of the Society’s share of package product and joint publication proceeds. This has resulted in a reporting/increase in revenue and expense, starting in 2022.

Looking forward, ComSoc’s FinCom will need to maintain specific attention to the following:

  1. Inflation
  2. Open Access

Inflation is leading and will lead to increased costs. Open Access risks the revenue ComSoc receives annually from package products and page charges. It is hopeful that our investment in new programs will generate revenues that can help negate a potential downward trend in financial outcomes.

Strategies and Goals for 2022–2023

The main objectives during 2022–2023 include:

  1. Monetization of non-member access to the ComSoc Media Center
  2. Development of new investment proposals
  3. Identifying and reducing process/product inefficiencies to contain expenses without compromising member benefits
  4. Working toward achieving complete finance and transactional transparency in NextGen
  5. NextGen financial statements to provide valuable financial reporting, while maintaining key programs accounting/reporting for the ComSoc leadership

In conclusion, the Finance team continues to commit to ensuring a healthy financial state for ComSoc, timely reporting of financial information to the ComSoc leaders, and supporting new programs that benefit ComSoc members. Thank you.