According to the Membership Operations Manual:

Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year each Section shall submit to the Membership Vice President the proposed budget requirements of the Section for the next fiscal year in the format specified by the Executive Committee or Board of Governors.  All Section funds, no matter how they are raised, legally belong to SMPTE and shall be managed by the local Sections in accordance with the provisions of the Membership Operations Manual and the Finance and Administration Operations Manual.

The Home Office shall deposit with each Section Secretary/Treasurer a sum of money for current expenses, the amount to be fixed by the Board of Governors.

The Secretary/Treasurer of each Section shall send to the Home Office quarterly or on demand, an itemized account of all expenditures incurred during the preceding period in the form prescribed by the Home Office. These reports shall be distributed to the Finance Vice President and Membership Vice President of the Society.

All payments collected by Sections shall be deposited only in SMPTE bank accounts.  SMPTE Home Office shall assist Sections in establishing mechanisms to enable this.

Download the Section Budget Form

The New Section Budget Form

Please note that all Sections must submit an annual budget and quarterly financial reports, regardless of whether they are requesting funds from Headquarters

SMPTE undergoes an audit each year, and one of the requirements is that we provide information on our Section finances and activities. Therefore, we need to have an accurate picture of all Section financials, as we are ultimately responsible for all branches of the Society. If your Section is requesting funds from HQ, then fill in the “Budget Allocation” line item in the “Budget” column for the quarters in which you are seeking funding. If your Section is NOT requesting funds from HQ, simply leave this field blank.

The new budget form might seem more complicated at first, but it is designed to be more effective for both you and HQ.  By recording your anticipated income  from sponsorships, paid events (like the holiday parties some Sections have), selling of promotional items (like the Sacramento Section’s cookbook) etc., you are painting a more accurate picture of your Section finances for the year. This is both helpful to you in planning your meetings for the year, and to HQ in understanding the way each Section is run.  This can also help us formulate a series of “best practices” that can be shared will all Sections.  The other benefits of this new form include having formulas in place to minimize mathematical errors when filling in the  form by hand; having a clear year over year comparison; and being able to add and subtract expense categories that are relevant to your Section.

Although the form is new, the process is not much different than you are used to.  The only real difference is that we are asking you to forecast sponsorships and other Section income at the beginning of the year and factor this into your budget.  You are already requested to provide this information in your quarterly reports.  Including these figures in your budget will help you more accurately track your progress toward your budget goals for the year.

Instructions for Completing the Section Budget Form

  • Please be sure to fill in your Section Name at the top left of the form.

  • Fill in any expected income in the top Section of the budget form. I have started you off with the following categories: “Budget Allocation” (which are the funds you will be requesting), “Meeting Sponsors,” and “Other Funds Collected.” Please feel free to expand this section and include additional rows to fit your Section’s specific needs.

  • Fill in your actual Section income from Quarters 1 through 4 of the current year (You can estimate Q4 if you have not closed out the fiscal year yet).  This information should be taken directly from your submitted Quarterly Financial Reports.

  • Fill out your budgeted expenses for next year on the bottom portion of the form. I have started you off with some approved expense categories. Please feel free to expand this section and include additional rows to fit your Section’s needs.

    • Please note that while you can use Section funds for Section Meeting refreshments and Guest Speaker meal expenses, Section funds cannot be used for meals for Section Officers or Board Members. So for example, if you want to provide lunch at a Manager’s Meeting or a meeting with a Board member, these expenses would be either out-of-pocket or sponsored.

  • Fill in your actual Section expenses from Quarters 1 through 4 of the current year (You can estimate Q3 and Q4). This information should be taken directly from your submitted Quarterly Financial Reports.

  • Date the bottom of the form to show that both the Section Chair and Secretary/Treasurer have approved the budget.

  • Return to Roberta Gorman at HQ along with any outstanding Quarterly reports and associated receipts from the current year. (Once again, Q3 and Q4 can be estimated, but a final version of your Q3 report must be submitted to HQ before any deposits for the First Quarter of the following year can be authorized.  Please be sure to indicate on the Quarterly Report if expenses are being estimated).

  • Budgets will then be sent to the Membership Vice-President and Finance Vice-President for approval.

  • You will be notified once your Budget has been approved and deposits are made into your account.

**When preparing your budgets, please keep in mind that we will be adjusting your quarterly allotments to account for the balance in your bank account as of Jan 1.
For example: If your total budget request is $1000 and you have $500 in your bank account at the start of the year, we will only be depositing $500 during the year.

If you have end of the year expenses that you expect to pay in the beginning of the following year, please be sure the account for that in your Q1 budget.


FAQs and Tips on Section Budgets

Many of you are unsure exactly WHAT expenses are approved. 

According to the Membership Operations Manual:

Funds advanced by the Home Office to the Section shall be used only for budgeted expenses, which may include but are not limited to rental of meeting places, refreshments at Section and Subsection meetings and dinner for guest speakers. Society funds, whether advanced from the Home Office or raised locally, shall only be used for purposes that are necessary for conducting the event and that benefit the Section membership as a whole.  Prohibited purposes include, but are not limited to, private meals for Section officers, Board members or for persons other than guest speakers.

Expenses related to conducting a Regular Meeting, including items such as systems, equipment, software, props, etc. required to conduct a presentation, ideally should be provided through sponsorships, including in-kind contributions, with appropriate recognition of the sponsoring organizations at the event.

The Section Board of Managers shall defray all expenses of the Section not provided for by the Board of Governors from funds raised locally.  Sections shall be allowed to use monies raised locally to fund their regional Governor’s travel to Section and Board meetings.


Can you use your Section funds to cover Speaker Expenses?


Other than providing a meal for your guest speaker, you are not permitted to use your regular Section funds to pay for Speaker expenses (such as travel, lodging, fees, etc).  However, this does not prevent you from inviting guest speakers that request such reimbursement.  It is simply a different process.   Please see the section "Payment of Speakers' Expenses" below for more details.



Does your Section HAVE to seek sponsorships?
While it is not currently mandatory for any Section to raise sponsorship money, we are moving toward asking all Sections to have at least a portion of their expenses covered by Sponsorship funds.  Remember that there is a certain amount allotted for Sections in the Society’s overall budget, and this needs to be spread across ALL Sections.  Seeking sponsorships to cover some of your meeting costs helps us to better utilize the funds we have to help all the Sections. 

According to the Membership Operations Manual, "Expenses other than those enumerated in the budget, as approved by the Board of Governors of the Society, shall not be payable from the general funds of the Society without express permission from the Board of Governors."

Some Sections have come up with creative ways to raise funds.  Please share any sponsorship tips or creative ways you’ve raised funds and I will post them on the new Section Resources part of the website so that we can continue to build a toolkit of best practices for all Sections to use.


What is the Timeline for Section Financials?
Section Budgets are due in to HQ by September 1, in order to be incorporated into the Society budget, which is approved by the Board of Governors in October.

Section Quarterly Financial Reports are due in to HQ:

  • January 15 – 4th Quarter Report for the previous year
  • April 15 – 1st Quarter Report
  • July 15 – 2nd Quarter Report
  • October 15 – 3rd Quarter Report
  • January 15 of the following year - 4th Quarter Report
See the Section Calendar for more info on dates and deadlines


Payment of Speakers' Expenses

It is permissible to reimburse a speaker for certain travel expenses incurred in connection with a presentation, provided the following requirements are met and procedures followed:

TOPIC:  The speaker's presentation shall be of a tutorial nature concerning the engineering and technical aspects of the motion picture, television, and allied arts and sciences.  Under no circumstances may the speaker's topic concern products or systems of a single manufacturer.

EXPENSES COVERED:  Transportation to and from the city of the meeting, lodging for the number of days equal to the number of days in which the presentation is made, and meals for the same number of days shall be the only expenses that may be covered.

MAXIMUM COVERAGE:  Reimbursement shall be for actual expenses as authorized above, but shall not exceed a total of US $1,000 per meeting, regardless of the travel distance, number of days, or presentations involved.

FREQUENCY:  A section may receive authorization for speaker's expense compensation no more than once in the period beginning 1 July and ending 30 June, the following year.

AUTHORIZATION:  Prior authorization for covered expenses shall be received from the Membership Vice President before the Section is permitted to commit to a speaker that expenses will be covered.  No less than 60 days before the meeting date, the Section shall convey to the Membership Vice President the following information

  • Date and place of meeting
  • Name of speaker
  • Speaker’s affiliation and qualifications
  • A short description of the topic, which shall be adequate to determine the tutorial nature of the presentation
  • Expenses required to be covered
  • Estimate of expenses

All expenses are required to be properly documented before they are reimbursed, and all receipts and other relevant documentation shall be forwarded to the Home Office as part of the account reconciliation.  

ADMINISTRATION:  The Membership Vice President shall notify the Section Chair and Home Office of the approval of speaker's expense compensation and of the estimated amount and type of expenses to be covered.  To avoid any possibility of misunderstanding, the speaker shall also receive a copy of this approval.  Receipts for authorized expenses shall be submitted by the speaker to the Home Office.  Reimbursement shall be made by Home Office directly to the speaker.  The Home Office shall provide the Section Secretary/Treasurer with a copy of the approved expense report.

All funds shall be managed in accordance with the policies and procedures specified in the Finance and Administration Operations Manual.