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Finance Committee

Volunteer Note

James Chang, MD
It is with great pleasure that I present this update from the ASSH Finance Committee.  In addition to me as Treasurer, the Finance Committee consists of Past President Andrew Lee, MD, ASSH President Ed Akelman, MD,
President-elect Scott Kozin, MD, and Vice-president Bill Seitz, MD.  We are guided by Executive Vice President and CEO Mark Anderson and Director of Finance David Hood.  The purpose of this committee is to provide oversight on expenditures, to manage the operating budget, and to pursue a responsible strategy for investments.
 
The Finance committee met recently in Chicago to review and discuss a variety of matters concerning the financial stability of the ASSH and the AFSH.  The finances remain strong, even in very turbulent times.  There are three main concerns that keep the finance committee up at night. 
 
The first is the rapid change in education technology.  Many of the previous ASSH educational products such as textbooks, pamphlets, and even the self-assessment exam, have been updated into electronic formats.  This has required significant investment in web platforms to deliver ASSH offerings in useful digital formats for members.  In addition, this has resulted in changes in business models for ASSH products in terms of costs and pricing.  We anticipate significant costs will be required to continually update the website and learning platforms in the future.  In fact, in this past December, Council authorized the most expenditures ever in order to lay the foundation for a comprehensive, streamlined digital platform, bringing the SHUEHORN (SHUE - Surgery of the Hand and Upper Extremity Patient Care Curriculum HORN - Hand Online Resource Network) concept to life.  It is our hope that easy-access digital learning will be a significant benefit for all members.
 
The second concern is the downturn in corporate support.  For the first time in years, the actual amount in corporate support to the ASSH has decreased.  Our corporate partners have been very generous in funding various educational and research programs, but companies themselves are facing external pressures that have led to decreased budgets.  We thank Bill Seitz, MD, Ed Diao, MD, and the entire Corporate Support Committee for their hard work in hard times – the decrease in corporate support is less than for other orthopedic surgery and plastic surgery organizations.
 
Lastly, there have been ups and downs in our investment portfolio, as could be predicted from the headlines of this past year.  The portfolios for the ASSH and AFSH are administered by Vanguard Investments.  The portfolios are well-diversified in order to mitigate risk while allowing for opportunities to increase rates of return above benchmarks.  While there have been fluctuations, I am happy to report that the overall trend remains upward!
 
Our past leaders have steered the ASSH and the AFSH on a steady course, which has led to a significant financial reserve.  Several ASSH members have asked me if we are keeping too much money in reserve.  In order to address this fully, the finance committee is in the process of developing a reserve policy, taking into account other non-profit organizations and professional societies and the future goals of the ASSH and AFSH.  I look forward to presenting the results of this review at our upcoming members meeting in San Francisco.
 
Thanks to all the contributions of our members, the financial outlook of the ASSH is positive.  While expenditures are going up, so do member benefits in education and research.  The ASSH is on course to stay on the cutting edge in technology, all while maintaining the same member dues since 1996.  I can think of no other organization that has not raised dues for 17 years!
© 2014 American Society for Surgery of the Hand