TREASURER OF THE BOARD: MY EXPERIENCES
My name is Anton van Werkum and for the past 9 months I have been the Treasurer of Asset | IB&M.
In 2017 I moved to Tilburg to study International Business Administration, where I joined IB&M as a member of the First Year committee. In my second year I joined Vidar, while also staying active at IB&M. In this year I became the chairman of the Exchange committee, which organized orientation for students that wanted to go on exchange. In the year after, after spending a semester Canada, I joined the Recruitment Dinner committee and finished my bachelor. The semester after, is where my adventure begins.
Why did I decide to do a board year?
I chose to do a board year at Asset | IB&M mainly because I wanted to develop myself professionally, and to give back to the association that I enjoyed being part of during my bachelor. One of my goals this year was to make sure that there would be large group of students that would feel involved in the association and I am quite happy with how that turned out so far. In terms of developing myself professionally, I felt like there was not a better place to gain management experience during my time as a student than in the board of a study association. On the one hand you get the responsibility of running an organization with over 100 volunteers, and on the other hand your environment understands that you are still a student and are bound to make mistakes occasionally (which I did). Next to that, the prospect of getting to work closely with five other highly motivated students, five days a week, sounded like something I could learn a lot from. All of this, of course, while still being able to enjoy all the perks that student life has to offer.
The reasons why I decided to go for the function of Treasurer were quite simple. I knew that I liked working with numbers, and I was doubting whether to continue pursuing master’s degrees in accounting and finance. For me this meant that a year as Treasurer would not only let me play with numbers for a year, but it would also help me decide whether I enjoyed finance and accounting as much as I thought I did. What also attracted me to role of Treasurer were the responsibility, and the impact on decision making that went paired with the function.
What was your biggest challenge during your board year?
Already in the first few weeks of my time as Treasurer of Asset | IB&M I was thrown in the deep end.
My predecessor gave me a crash course in all things I had to know, and I was then quickly directed to my first big challenge: making a budget for the upcoming year. Where making a budget for a whole year is already a challenge, with almost 30 different committees with different kinds of cashflows, this year was especially difficult. With all the unpredictability regarding COVID-19, it seemed next to impossible to have an idea of what this year was going to look like. With the hopes of being able to return to normal after sitting out one corona semester and organizing hybrid activities, I made a budget. However, it quickly became clear that we had been way too optimistic about the whole corona ordeal. As a board we had to adapt to all the restrictions and change most of our activities into online alternatives. Of course, not all activities were easily translated to Zoom, and therefore some events would no longer be able to take place. For the budget this meant that what I predicted at the start of the year was not at all representative of how the rest of the year was going to look like. This called for action and I worked out different scenarios and back-up plans for the coming months. The challenging part of making new budgets was mainly that there was nothing to fall back on from previous years, as this has never happened before.
What did you spend most of your time on during your board year?
The things I spent most of my time working on were my function specific tasks, coordinating several committees and working on my own projects. My function specific tasks included mainly updating the budget, sending invoices, booking receipts, keeping an eye on the budgets the committees, and having meetings with the treasurers of the committees. It took some time to get used to the bookkeeping software and to learn how to correctly handle invoices, but after a while most of these tasks became a habit. The coordinating of my committees also took some time each week. With most of my committees we had to change our plans and adapt to the new standards set by the pandemic. One of my committees for example that organizes a study trip, had the high hopes of organizing a 10-day trip to northern Europe. Even though we worked hard and kept an eye on all updates regarding the pandemic, we eventually had to realize that a trip already happening in May was a bit too ambitious. Overall, my other committees were able to adapt to the pandemic much better, with the Activities committee we organized several hybrid and online activities, and the Case Competition committee is currently finalizing the preparations for our event next month.
The workload as Treasurer differed per week, mainly depending on the number of events taking place. At the start of the year, for example, I had a lot of meetings with committee treasurers, and spent a lot of time on the budget, but there were not many receipts to be booked or invoices to be sent yet as there were no events. The busiest periods of the year were the weeks in which I had to have my bookkeeping and all financial documents perfectly up-to date for the tax authorities. Making sure every receipt was booked correctly and finding out where those last Euros and cents came from was really satisfying, but it did take a lot of time.
What did you learn during your board year?
First and foremost, this year has taught me how important it is to stay organized. With all the things I wanted to get done, all the events we had scheduled, and everything I wanted from my personal life, it sometimes seemed like it was impossible to juggle everything. I learned how easy it is to get lost without a task list, a planning, and a clean desk, especially when you start your day with a hangover. The corona pandemic has also taught me the importance of flexibility. With all the changes in corona measures I learned how to constantly shift ideas and work with back-up plans. Skills I improved a lot were working in teams, communicating clearly, prioritizing tasks in busy periods and not being afraid to ask for help when necessary.
Overall, I can already look back on a very fruitful year. I am very thankful for all the opportunities that presented themselves this year, and for the team around me. I have been able to develop myself both professionally and personally, and I hope to continue doing so even more in the coming months!
I hope this article has given you somewhat of an insight into what it entails to be the Treasurer of the board of Asset | International Business & Management. If you ever have any questions about my function, Asset | IB&M in general or anything I wrote in this article, do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you possibly interested in becoming my successor? You can take a look at our website for more information about my function, the other opening functions, and how to apply!