Behind the Screen: Understanding the Financials

In the latest Behind The Screen — a peek behind the Crandell’s velvet curtain — the Crandell’s Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee Viki Sand follows the money.

“I really don’t understand the numbers.”

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be treasurer. I’m not good with numbers.” These remarks are often made by those associated with not-for-profit organizations. At the Crandell we have another view. We want everyone to understand the numbers and have confidence in the care with which their contributions are managed and how financial information is used to make decisions. Our goal is that information be accurate, timely, and readable.

For the past several years the Crandell has shown a cash surplus at the end of each fiscal year. This has been possible through a combination of earned revenue from weekly box office receipts, concessions, and slide advertising combined with net proceeds from FilmColumbia, membership, contributions, and state and local grants. The annual budget and monthly financials summarize sources of revenue and expenses for the entire organization but also by different functions — i.e.: theater, FilmColumbia, community programs, fundraising, administration. This helps us evaluate how we cover the net loss of showing weekly films at the current box office prices with how FilmColumbia, membership, and the annual appeal make up the balance.

We’re proud of the fiscal responsibility the Crandell has shown through the years reflected by a decade of “clean” audit opinions, receipt of New York State Council on the Arts General Operating Support beginning in 2018, and anticipation of total transformation of the 2019 Paycheck Protection Program loan into a $26,000 grant.

The Crandell annually contracts for part-time bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing services. The Finance Committee meets approximately six times annually to monitor revenue/expenses (particularly important during the COVID crisis), prepare annual budgets, and make recommendations to the full board concerning financial policy, including the use of reserve funds should that be required. The annual report for 2019 will be sent to members/contributors in October as part of this year’s appeal; and the Crandell IRS 990 is available in the theatre office for review.