Hosting a conference in Liberal Arts is a financial activity of the University and conference coordinators must comply with University guidelines. Conferences have the following components.
- Coordinate conference-related activities
- Negotiate and purchase goods and services for the conference
- Negotiate and execute contracts and service agreements
- Registration processing
- Create a conference website
The Dean's Office can assist the conference coordinator with the last three items. To ensure a successful conference, we recommend the following procedures.
- The conference coordinator should meet with Dean's Office as early as possible in the pre-planning phase. This meeting should take place well in advance of securing any commitments or advertisements for the conference. We will discuss with you what services we offer; your conference needs; the financial account request; registration service options; and our website services. To schedule this visit, please contact John Ward at 232-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Be aware that contractual negotiations must comply with University policy and you must forward contracts to the appropriate office for signature. For hotel contracts valued at $50,000 or less, the individuals with designated signature authority is Associate Dean Jamie Southerland. Hotel contracts in excess of this amount and service contracts must be routed to the Office of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for signature.
- Although conferences may be sponsored by multiple offices, one office must take lead financial responsibility. It is your responsibility to comply with all University guidelines with respect to financial activities, transactions and reconciliation. Disclose all sponsors for the activity, including any membership organizations or professional associations.
- Begin planning the financial needs of the conference, considering the goals, budget, and anticipated attendance.
- If the conference was held previously, obtain information about how many people attended the meetings, hotel rates, occupancy and reservations, and activities. Use this information as one measure to forecast needs for this year's conference.
- Obtain cost estimates for any goods and services needed for the conference, including considerations for: facility/meeting space rental, meals and hospitality coffee breaks, food sales tax and gratuity owed to vendors, equipment rental, vehicle use, etc.
- Prepare a preliminary balanced budget with an itemized list of revenue and anticipated expenditures based on anticipated participation numbers.
- Request a dedicated UT Account number from Dean's-Business Affairs Office for all conference related financial activities that must be maintained separately from other departmental finances. The request for an account number requires an itemized budget of anticipated revenue and expenditures. The account must be set up before any financial transactions can occur. Please note that 19 accounts incur a 3.25% monthly fee.
- If you are using the Dean's Office web services for the conference website, the Web Team needs at least 30 days to build the website once we agree to host it. Some website content will change or become available in phases; however, advance planning for website content is helpful. Content must be formatted in plain text/unformatted text preferbly in a Word document.
- Begin collecting the text and graphic content for the website. Consider pages for each of the following: Contact information, hotel accommodations, general information about conference, the conference program, and the call for papers.
- If the conference registration price is not free, prepare a list of registration items for sale. Budget and UT Account number information is required in advance of online store activity.
- To handle registration with credit card payments, the office offering the conference can establish a TxShop online store. Once active, a sales report spreadsheet can be provided to the Conference Coordinator on a scheduled basis with customer name, address, and items purchased. You will then combine this information with your own conference information to tally the count of attendees.