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The world of sport is no longer what it was—simply administering competitions, rules and regulations, raising funds for trophies, uniforms and travel for national teams. Sport admintrators and volunteers no longer simply raise funds via cake sales and car wash.
Those innocent fun filled and team bonding adventures seem long gone.
The quantum of money needed to fund even the simplest of activities or purchases are no longer inexpensive.
Sport finance and accounting has now developed into a discipline and skill in its own right. Just as sport law, sport marketing, sport sponsorship and sport advertising, sport medicine, sport science, sport psychology etc. You name it, the reality of the modern environment is that it’s a separate skill set and knowledge base.
Finance related issues are an everyday occurrence.
Financial numbers can tell many important facts about a sport and national sport organisation.
It is an important area of a national sport organisations day to day activity.
No national sport organisation can survive without money. You have to know where the money is going to come from and where it has to be spent.
It is impossible to make informed decisions on a day to day basis without a basic knowledge of money management.
Financial projections and budgeting and what finance mechanism is best are daily considerations.
More and more sport leaders are required to have an understanding of balance sheets, income statements, accounting and money saving strategies and how to invest for future growth.
The importance of finance for a national sport organisation can’t be underestimated. The role of a treasurer is much more than that of a book keeper. Managing and advising on money matters is much more complex than mere book keeping.
Financial planning is impossible without an understanding of accounting basics.
To be able to answer questions and solve problems related to money matters is a critical success factor.
In an ideal world, every national sport organisation would be financially self-sufficient and independent. But it’s not an ideal world.
In order to pay bills, money must be found and it must be found on a sustainable basis.
For many, money is their enemy rather than a friend.
National sport organisations can’t adopt that approach- at least not if it wants to consider itself modern and fit for purpose.
Attention to the bottom line is no longer just a business statement.
Bills must be paid and expenses must be managed. Revenue must be generated and maximised.
National sport organisations have to raise, manage and track money flows – in and out.
Failure to properly manage funds will cause a national sport organisation to fail.
Successful financial management equals sustainable development and growth.
A sport organisation can have the best sponsorship programme and the best image but if it is unable to properly plan its finances, all efforts will come to nought.
Financial principles apply to sport. It’s no different from business.
Avoiding financial scandals and impropriety is also critical.
The sport world is not immune to the consequences of poor financial planning.
Financial skills require some one trained in developing, analysing, projecting and interpreting financial information. The days of placing square pegs in round holes in respect of the role of treasurer are over.
National sport organisations must be mindful that accounting and finance are not in a true sense one and the same and should not therefore be lumped together merely as a matter of convenience.
It requires careful thought and consideration. To effectively and efficiently run sport is demanding and complex and a lack of knowledge and skill only makes the task harder. National sport organisations can’t afford to ignore the current reality.
• Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee www.ttoc.org. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.