Business/Finance Office

Original Question
Carmen Sims, Director:
We are slowly growing our staff to serve our rapidly growing system. This year I concentrated on the finance department of the system. The plan this year was to conform to GASB34 requirements, meet all internal controls needs, and produce financial documents in a timely and accurate manor. In order to achieve this monumental task, and relieve myself of what has increasingly become a second job, I hired a Finance Director. The former Office Manager/Bookkeeper left and we reduced that position to a part-time bookkeeping clerk since the FD had also assumed HR duties. The Board voted to eliminate the clerical position. At this time we still have an Administrative Assistant responsible for inventory and receiving; she also pre-codes the materials invoices since she’s opened them and reconciled the invoices. She also has many other duties so can not fill in for this position. One board member feels that this is excessive staff for our budget because he used to run his law office with one secretary – he was the only attorney.

I have already heard from 2 systems that have 3 ½ and 2 ½ employees covering all of the financial/business duties. What are others of you doing? What are the titles and general responsibilities?

Thank you for any input.

Response by Claudia Gibson, Director: We have a full time Business Manager and a part time (16 hours) Administrative Asst.

Response by Susan Sexton-Cooley, Director: We have one F-T financial officer who handles all finances and one F-T administrative office manager who manages HR, inventory, statistics, and board of trustees business.

Response by Marsha Christy, Director: We have a 30 hour/week Administrative Assistance/Bookkeeper. We are a single county system of 3 branches with 32 employees and serve a population of approximately 135,000. Our Cataloger verifies the materials invoices but does not know how to code them. I have an Operations Manager who handles all reporting, backs up the cataloger, assists with catalog and database clean-up, and is training to back up the Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper. We do an awful lot of multi-tasking around here and it is often a little overwhelming. Hope this helps.

Response by Dusty Gres, Director: We have a full-time bookkeeper with the glorified title of Administrative Assistant -- she earns that title by working far more and far harder than she should for much less money than she should. We are considering hiring a part-time assistant -- with hope, maybe a retired accountant who wants to work a couple of hours a week for what would be considered volunteer pay.....
Having had to deal with being audited, closing the current year, conversion to Blackbaud with the new fiscal year, and now annual report, all during the same three weeks; having had to completely change and considerably add to my job description over the last five years because of all the GASB's; having had audit findings over and over again because I can never come up with enough people to "separate duties"; [a local school board got a separation of duties finding this year and their ASSISTANT payroll clerk, just the assistant, makes more than twice as much as my Admin]; I can say that there are never enough personnel in the business office and I would be willing to bet that the secretary did NOT do the attorney's books -- he had an accountant!

Response by Mark Cole, Director: We have 1 FT Administrative Assistant that is our bookkeeper and our headquarters Branch Manager serves as backup bookkeeper to cover vacations, sick leave, etc.

Response by Susan S. Whittle, Director: We have a .50 FTE bookkeeper and .75 administrative assistant who handle the financial, personnel and office management functions for both the library system and the library foundation that serves 3 counties and has a $1.5 million budget.
The board chair, treasurer, assistant treasurer and I are the other parties involved in the internal controls and separation of duties requirements.

Response by Donna W. Howell, Director: I have a bookkeeper who works 6-8 hours per week (mostly doing mid and end of the month checks and helping with payroll) and an accounting assistant who comes in just to balance petty cash, prepare or check deposits, review new-hires and assign new employee numbers, and manually balance the checkbook as a second set of eyes to verify balances, she works about 4 hours per week - but not every week. The AA does not have access to the online system. That's it! I have no secretary, no administrative assistant, no assistant director; no other financial staff but l'il ole me.
We actually added the AA in response to audit issues with separation of duties re deposits, check recon, and new employees. So I really have approximately .25 FTE of financial staff - and all of that has been added in the past three years. I desperately need more, but with all the funding issues we've had lately, growth in the need for public service staff with all the local population growth, and our deficit of state-paid staff, we have not been able to add support positions. This is why we are so desperate for those additional state paid positions and/or the funds we could get from converting one of them. And why my counties are eyeing moving to single county libraries if it means they can get that extra staff and are really miffed at what they see as changing the rules for them when other single county library already get those two positions. Sorry - another raw nerve...

Response by Claudya Muller, Director: We have a full time CFO and two full time finance office clerks (one concentrates on payroll/staff issues and the other handles purchasing). We have a budget of $7+million, 9 libraries, 2 bookmobiles, and 149 staff. I hope this helps.

Response by Lecia Eubanks, Director: We have one full-time Business Manager who is our bookkeeper and HR person. She has an AA in accounting. I also have an Administrative Assistant who works 25 hrs per week and she helps us fulfill the separation of duties requirement. We have 26 employees spread over four libraries in two counties serving around 80,000 population. Converting to Blackbaud this year should give my bookkeeper the ability to spend more time on the HR side. That’s the plan anyway. The verdict is still out.

Response by Donna W. Howell, Director: FYI - we have 3 counties, 4 libraries, 26 employees (18.15 FTE including 4 state paid), our region's population is about 56,000 and a budget just under $900,000.