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Honorary treasurer's notes for the BGS 1997 accounts

THE BGS annual accounts for 1997 should be included with this issue of Ground Engineering, for members of the Society. I only say 'should' because the full implications of the sweeping changes in the reporting of accounts required by the recent legislation for registered charities (Accounting for Charities, which introduced what is known as SORP - the Statement of Recommended Practice) have come to light, and caused many delays to the normally timely production of our accounts.

Even a cursory glance through the document will reveal its hugely enlarged size and scope compared to previous years. It is now 14 pages long in contrast to last year's four sides. However, I am assured that now it has been completed once, the preparation of future years accounts will be easier, but not necessarily shorter!

The important part of the document, ie the accounts, for both the Society in general and its Rankine Fund are contained on pages 9 and 10, which present the consolidated statement of financial activities for the year ended 31 December 1997, and the balance sheet at 31 December 1997, respectively. Thus the accounts for the Society and the Rankine Fund are now combined, and form part of a wider ranging document: The Trustees Annual Report for 1997 (For 'trustees' read 'elected committee').

Considering the consolidated statement, 1997 saw the intro- duction of a subscription to Ground Engineering becoming an integral part of the BGS member- ship package. The net subscript- ion income reduced from that in 1996, in response to a planned reduction in the BGS element, to reflect savings in costs for photo- copying and mailing news to members, which would either be printed in GE, or included as loose inserts.

We are slightly down on income from book sales and roy- alties, the mailshot ser- vice and net contributions from confer- ences, but income from the 1997 Ran- kine dinner saw a turn round to a net surplus of £250, from a deficit of £300 the previous year. In expen- diture, there has been some grouping of various items hitherto identified separately, such as committee travel and meeting expenses; plus expenses for chairman and vice chairman; plus grant to ICE, which become 'meeting expenses,' and 'cost of trustee [committee] meetings.' Also, the honoraria and expenses for the honorary officers [who are not 'trustees' in the context of SORP] have been combined. It is understood there may be further rationalisation and regrouping next year. Total expenditure was less than budgeted, owing prin- cipally to lower subs to inter- national societies, lower photo- copying and postage costs, and Rankine dinner costs, but higher honoraria. The net outcome was a surplus of £2,350, just under £2,000 more than budgeted, before trans- ferring £5,000 totheRankine Fund.

The Rankine Fund saw a modest rise in income from 1996, but this was countered by a larger increase in expenditure to produce a deficit of nearly £500 - just £20 less than that budgeted. The exciting data are hidden at the bottom of the consolidated statement; the rise in total assets to over £145,000, of which £130,000 is the Rankine Fund, has arisen entirely from an increase in the market value of the Fund's investments ('un- realised gains on investment assets' shown in the consolidated statement).

If any member wishes to ask any questions regarding the finances, could they contact the BGS secretary or myself, at least five days before the AGM. It is particularly important with the new look accounts, as I may have to refer some questions to the ICE Finance Division, which worked so hard to produce the SORP accounts and report. John Talbot

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