Business View Magazine | February 2021

11 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2021 By Jeanne M. Dee, CPA/CGMA, Partner + Audit and Assurance, Anders CPAs + Advisors F or industry associations, recent shifts from the physical space into the digital have brought a serious blow to their highest revenue stream: in-person events like trade shows and conferences. Nearly 60% of association executives report having cancelled or postponed events as a result of the pandemic – often incurring additional loss due to cancellation fees, ticket refunds, lost exhibitor fees, and more. At the same time, the function of associations as a source of networking, support, and connection for their industries makes them more valuable than ever to their members in a landscape where disconnection is ever-present. Nothing beats being able to pick up the phone and get advice from someone who “gets it”– especially now. This seems to portend the triumphant return of the association. It also adds additional pressure to associations already struggling financially: they must provide value to members in innovative ways while balancing the in-person/virtual hybrid environment 2021 demands. Challenges Faced by Associations For years, associations have been consulting with their advisors and accountants on issues like member retention, relevancy, and ancillary revenue; today, the effects of the pandemic have exaggerated some of those concerns and completely flipped the script on others: • Cash Flow: Aside from membership dues, meeting and convention registration fees are the highest source of revenue for associations. Although more than 65% of association leaders reported a projected revenue loss OPENING L INES THE YEAR OF THE COMEBACK: WHAT COVID-19 MEANS FOR ASSOCIATIONS IN 2021