SEPTEMBER WAS A busy month at Grain Farmers of Ontario with our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and all of the related board and committee meetings adding to an already full schedule of fall events. Preparing for September’s AGM and participating in the other meetings throughout the month have given us a great opportunity to reflect on some of the great work happening in our organization that doesn’t always take centre stage.
The first is the work of our finance department. The AGM is the time to review the financial statements for the year and answer any questions from our members but the presentation of final statements does not reflect the vast amounts of work that it took to compile and manage our finances throughout the year.
Our finance team has done an admirable job to pull the accounting systems from three organizations into one and transition to new accounting software that will meet the needs of our merged entity. This has taken the entire year and with the end in sight, I would like to congratulate the finance team for this major effort.
Another area rarely in the limelight but very important to Grain Farmers of Ontario is the team that manages and supports the database necessary for not only ensuring the collection of license fees but also the compilation of production statistics from that license fee data and the overall maintenance of an accurate mailing list.
Currently, the database is actually made up of three individual databases – one for each commodity – that will be combined into one new merged database over the next few months. A company has been chosen through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process that will build a new database to our specifications. Currently, staff is gathering information and detailing our business processes in order to finalize the database design but, once implemented, the database will really increase the efficiency of data management at GFO. In the future, this database will integrate into all of the functions at Grain Farmers of Ontario and support each of our departments to increase data sharing and customer service.
Part of managing our database includes maintaining an accurate mailing list and our staff are pleased to report that magazine returns due to incorrect mailing addresses are down to four or less per month from over 40. We are also increasing the reach of the list by adding email and website addresses to the contact information already on file.
These and many other initiatives at Grain Farmers of Ontario are also moving along smoothly behind the scenes and this time of year, when we are reporting on the work of GFO through our annual meetings and events, is a good time to acknowledge the hard work of all our staff, especially those who work on projects that are more internal in nature. •