About a dozen staff, Co-op members and directors gathered over People’s Potato food in the School of Community and Public Affairs building to look over the Co-op’s end-of-year reports, including the financial report.
There are a few reasons for the surplus, according to Co-op employee Jennifer Duffin, who is in charge of the Co-op’s finances. “It’s hard to pinpoint one thing, because it’s definitely a multitude of factors,” she said. “I’d just say that there’s a renewed diligence and focus on our finances, which has been there for the past few years. […] So we’re just on top of stuff right now, and it’s tightening everything up.”
Duffin, who began her work at the Co-op about a year ago, also said that increased visibility on campus has brought in more students and sales. The annual report noted an increase of $30,000 in revenue along with the near $30,000 total surplus. Fifty-eight per cent of sales are generated by textbooks, followed by used books at 25 per cent.
The Co-op’s finances had been scrutinized in the past few years. The group has incurred loans from an anonymous lender, the Concordia Student Union and both the provincial and federal levels of government. The 2009 deficit was a jump over the deficits in past years, from almost $10,000 in 2007-2008 and $20,501 in 2006-2007.
Though last week’s report doesn’t show it, since it only evaluates financials from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010, Duffin said that their debt to the Revenue Quebec is paid off, with a small amount remaining for Revenue Canada. The debt was accrued due to unpaid source deductions.
The budget for 2010-2011 set aside a total of $18,000 for repaying loans and $12,000 for money owed to the government. “We will be out of debt in the next year,” confirmed Duffin, who said one of her goals is to pay off outstanding debt. The continuing attention to finances is an “ongoing process.”
The Co-op was due to collect a windfall of money from the university administration this year. Last fall and winter semesters, two campaigns were successful in securing both undergraduate and graduate student fee levies ($0.09 and $0.50 a credit). They will pull in an estimated $60,000 and $9,000, respectively.
This raises the Co-op’s projected revenue to $242,000, way above last year’s $138,450. Part of the money will go to update their computer system, website and provide subsidization for undergraduate membership fees, halving them to $5.