2010Q1 Reports: Office

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Priscilla Rasmussen 17 February 2010

ACL Business Office Report

First of all, my sincere thanks for the raise…much appreciated!

Graeme Hirst and I, following his interactions with the new accountant, Chiaki, have been coding our income and expenses and revamping our system. She is wonderful and I follow her logic in her coding. More importantly, our ACL accountant in Stroudsburg has said the new system makes sense and helps to make our tax filings easier and quicker to do.

Speaking of tax filings, we are now completely up-to-date with our federal filings. Phil Pope (The Pope!), the Stroudsburg accountant actually pulling together our filing forms, says we should have no problem being timely from now on. We switched from a cost-basis accounting to an accrual-based system which makes more sense as we cross years with conference advances, repayments of NSF-SRW award outlays by ACL, and so on.

John Kirby, my assistant, continues to be invaluable to me in many aspects of keeping the office, memberships and publications in order. Mainly, though, as many of you have seen when he accompanies me to our conferences, I am finding bringing him along when possible allows me greater freedom to attend meetings, put out logistical fires, and do all those things I need to do but am torn in half when trying to also manage the registration desk full time. He continues to feel ACL is a part of him, too.

As you know, our Office three-year lease came to an end as of April 1, 2009 and the first of our two possible 1-year extensions ends this April 1st. The discussion in our conference calls the winter of last year led me to believe I was to find new and smaller office space now that we will no longer produce and sell post-conference proceedings. I have shopped around the local area and found a space (you have seen Graeme’s message regarding this already) which would be less expensive and smaller yet comfortable. Of course, I would prefer to stay where we currently are located to avoid the difficulties of address changing worldwide and the physical move itself, as well as keeping a more stable main office address for ACL and AMTA. With the current landlord offering a reduction in the current rent to entice us to stay, it is an appealing idea but, his offer is only for the next 14 months to April 1, 2011. At that time, I would expect some sort of rate adjustment and having to enter into a new lease or face moving about a year from now. Graeme has further details on the cost differences. So, I ask for some direction on this…both the current and future landlords are expecting a decision from me when I return from vacation.

Publications: While we had agreed it was a good idea to hold a “fire sale” of a lot of the proceedings stock held in the office, the fire sale has not taken place yet. In preparation for the possible office move, John and I have begun packing the two copies of each and every publication I want to keep so I can still maintain as much of a full reference set as possible. Where we are simply holding way too many copies, we have begun paring down the stock a bit. But, holding a fire sale either before moving (if the office remains in place for the next 14 months) or at summer’s end (after the conferences have ended) is still a good idea to do.

There seem to be some book vendors who take orders from libraries and such that want only hardcopies. One in particular, Curran Associates (who have been one of our largest yearly purchasers), has offered to take an online or CD-ROM copy and produce hardcopies, with our approval, for sale to satisfy this group of customers. The ACL would receive royalties for books sold. I believe someone from the ACL would have to negotiate the royalties agreement for this to happen (as, long ago, an agreement was signed for royalties from MIT Press and CUP).

Membership: We had a record-breaking total of 2,123 members in 2006. Happily, we have surpassed this record, ending 2009 with 2,151 members! The three conferences, one in each geographic area of the world we represent, really helped to boost our membership but I believe we had more first-time, non-conference memberships than usual this year as well.

We begin 2010 with the multi-year members who carried over into 2010 plus some anxious renewals that have come in even before our online membership form has been updated. The total membership for 2010 now stands at 366.

I am a bit concerned that we have not yet sent out the reminder that it is time to renew memberships for 2010. My understanding is that the Portal will be the vehicle for 2010 memberships but I am unsure whether it is ready to be announced so we can begin the 2010 membership drive.


ACL 2009 in Singapore was wonderfully successful, ending with a final count of 802 total registrants. The invoices have been received from the local team and I have sent copies to Graeme so we can begin to finalize the bookkeeping. I believe there should be a reasonably healthy surplus.

NAACL 2009 in Boulder was also a success with a final registration count of 668. I should be able to begin finalizing this meeting’s accounting with Chris soon and expect a nice surplus even though we reduced registration fees a bit.

EACL 2009, held in Athens, Greece, was a successful meeting, I am told. The Office provided much advice and support when requested.

The planning for ACL 2010 in Sweden is moving along nicely. I expect my involvement to intensify in the coming months as the budget estimates are completed and registration fees are fixed.

And, NAACL-HLT 2010, in Los Angeles, California, will be an exciting meeting, with a “grand dame” hotel as our venue. The planning and budgeting is shaping up quite nicely and most everything is now in place.

The Office has also been heavily involved in negotiating the final ACL 2011 contracts for Portland. The hotel, spill-over hotel, banquet and poster session/dinner contracts are now in place or just needing final tweaking before signing. The university dorms are also almost finalized.

Conference Sponsorship:

I am very pleased to report that, for ACL 2009, we received commitments totaling about $26.5K pre-conference plus a lot of local and COLIPS support. NAACL-HLT 2009 received about $30,925 in total sponsorship. Many thanks to all sponsors who helped to make our conferences and workshops successful!

So far, I am aware of ACL 2010 commitments of about $19,700. I am in touch with both Google and Yahoo! who promise something but have not yet committed to definite amounts. For NAACL-HLT 2010, we have commitments totaling about $28,312, with more to come!

I would like to recommend we pursue Ed Hovy as our paid or otherwise long-term-engaged overall Sponsorship guru. He has brought in more “big-ticket” sponsorships for NAACL in LA than I’ve usually seen by one person.