A few questions to Jaakko Laiho on what it means to be the Treasurer of the Board.
What do you work on as the Treasurer? What skills are required in these works?
The treasurer is one of the three required positions in a legal entity such as ours (aside from the secretary and president), who in principle keeps the operations of the board and foundation going. In practice this refers to things like setting up payments and reimbursements, and generating invoices. Maintaining and keeping track of the state of expenses and documentation requires a degree of precision and systemicism. Yearly reporting to EIT Digital for grant reporting is a single-time higher intensity activity each Q1. Proactively making suggestions on platforms that support board activities is also something that would make life easier for the rest of the board.
Google Sheets is used to a fair extent and a level of comfort with basic formulas makes the position quite unproblematic. Perhaps the second-most important skill as a treasurer is naming conventions; when requested you must be able to produce documentation relevant to said request. If you can’t find those documents because you don’t know where they are, then life suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Similarly, setting up folder structures in logical ways is essential. Knowledge of legal and accounting requirements of a Belgian private foundation is helpful but not essential as we rely on third parties on those fronts anyways. Communication with these parties doesn’t require specialised vocabulary for the most part. Various booking and expense platforms we utilise are fairly straightforward and can be learned on the spot.
What have you achieved in your mandate 2021-2023 as the Treasurer?
The board remains operational in a financially buoyant state. The budgeting targets have been reached within a reasonable level for both 2021 and 2022. No catastrophic mistakes have happened during my mandate. In short, this means that the requirements of the role have been fulfilled at an expected level, and the board as well as the foundation have lasted for another 2 years.
One strategic goal of the board during my mandate was to increase financial sustainability. The board took steps in this direction which is something I did not do alone, and as a result our reliance on EIT Digital funding reduced. The percentage of our funding originating from EIT Digital declined by 20% points.
What could you have done better or differently during your mandate?
I’ve certainly done enough such that I am proud of my output for my mandate. However, I could have been more proactive with planning events, as supportive event budgeting requires involvement at a very early stage. In our board, the event planning of larger events was largely done by the event officer. One thing that can be kept as-is, is the cost management structure inherited from my predecessor.
Interested in this position? Apply now to be the next Treasurer or ask Jaakko Laiho for more information!