Chamber turns the corner with $1 million in bank
By Suzy Valentine
After years of financial uncertainty, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is on target to meet its budget of more than $5 million when its fiscal year ends June 30, its chief financial officer says.
This year's results won't be final before mid-September, said Maria Acosta, the chamber's CFO and executive vice president.
"It takes us a month to complete the figures internally," she said, "and then the timetable for finalization depends on the auditors. Last year, they didn't start to look at the figures until September, and that process takes a month-and-a-half. This year, they should begin in August or September."
The chamber's financial committee met last week, and Ms. Acosta said she wouldn't be drawn on how the fiscal year would end. "I was asked to make projections," she said, "but all I can say is that we will at a minimum cover our budget."
The positive projections mark a change in fortunes at the chamber, which boasts a bank balance exceeding $1 million.
"We've been running in the black for some time," said Ms. Acosta, "and we've had more than $1 million in the bank for the past couple of months."
She attributed that to several factors.
"We've seen a growth in membership," said Ms. Acosta, "and we've expanded our portfolio of events and the amount of sponsorship. We expect to meet our budget and plan further growth next year."
As part of that, the chamber has started its annual membership campaign.
"It's already in progress," said Ms. Acosta. "We're slightly behind schedule but we're on target to finish the campaign when the year ends June 30."
The chamber suffered a setback several years ago when it lost about $2 million to internal theft, sending the organization spiraling into the red and reducing its membership.
But last year the 2,000-member organization saw the auditors present a clean bill of health.
"The audit report issued in December 2005 show that we had addressed internal control issues," said Ms. Acosta. "The auditors issued a clean opinion."
"That was the most significant step," said Mr. Johnson, "that we were able to achieve a clean audit at the end of last year. We're now moving forward ahead of our budget, doing a lot to make the chamber more financially accountable."