Linux Australia Financial Status

So the pre-AGM drafts of LA‘s financial status are up, in particular the 2007/08 financial year summary and the (hopefully) easier to follow bottom line figures (also, the 2006/07 financial year summary since I couldn’t find it online elsewhere). I’m pretty happy with them, both in what the tell us about the health of the organisation and, and in the level of detail that’s available (not too little, but not too much to be overwhelming either, hopefully). I think it’s at about the level I’d expect of a professionally run organisation (which is, of course, also what I expect of volunteer-run free software organisations). There aren’t any pie-charts, though.

There’s still a few problems with the treasury in general:

  • we still have problems getting bills paid and reimbursements organised properly (though I think that’s improving),
  • we don’t have good budgeting processes yet (though I don’t think it’s possible to have a good budget until you’re confident in your understanding of your current and historical financials),
  • we don’t have very good document handling (the treasury’s made up of an unfun mix of papers, emails and other electronic stuff none of which is really well indexed); and
  • we don’t yet have good transitional processes (for when we get a new treasurer, or in how to improve our systems incrementally instead of always replacing them entirely).

With some misgivings (the other council members have had to pick up a fair bit of slack on my behalf this year, Terry and Steve in particular), I’ve accepted the nomination to continue as treasurer into 2009; with the primary hopes to get the first and the last bullet points above improved, and maybe also get some budgeting happening.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much idea on how to improve our document handling to something a bit saner, let alone something I’d actually consider good. Moinmoin is okay, I guess, and the Drupal CMS on the website proper is at least pretty, but I don’t think either would really cope with dumping all our receipts, invoices, and other paperwork into them. Using Confluence (which I’ve been reviewing lately for other purposes, and am growing to quite like) might be an effective approach, but while it does run on Linux, and is used by various free software projects, it’s not free software (everyone who buys it gets source access, everyone who doesn’t, doesn’t; there’s a cnet interview for anyone who cares), and I’m not sure if that’s where we want to go in as much as we’re a national FOSS organsition… Oh well, hopefully whoever’s elected secretary will solve that problem somehow.

Anyway, thought I might blog that for anyone who’s interested but isn’t already following linux-aus. Comments are open for anyone with anything to add. :)


  1. Donna says:

    Well done AJ

    To my mind, the reports are great, and timely in so far as the organisation’s AGM is a week away.

    Some years ago – peter wrote something he named SDMS. Simple Document Management System – and it might be worth considering

    Then again, it might be worth looking at an Enterprise Class DMS such as Alfresco.

  2. Mark Tearle says:

    KnowledgeTree also springs to mind.

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