SFA: Under Construction

Dear SFA Members,
The Snack Food Association is undergoing major changes that will help us better serve our membership well into the future. The Board and staff have recognized for some time that the facility and systems of the association have needed radical upgrading and improvement. To that end, it was agreed by our Board of Directors to sell our headquarters building and move to office space near our current location in Northern Virginia that will better meet our current needs. In fact, the SFA building, which we have owned for 23 years, was sold on Dec. 30, 2004, and SFA was able to take advantage of an excellent real estate sales market. Until new space is chosen and prepared for our move, we are leasing back our current office space.
The SFA building has been a fantastic investment for the association. The SFA Board members exhibited great foresight in selecting the present location. However, the new location, once chosen, will afford us better use of space to meet our current needs. It also will provide additional security, and the infrastructure we need to update our computer, phone and other systems.
For the past year, SFA has “outsourced” our day-to-day accounting functions, human resources and information technology requirements to our accounting firm. I put the word outsource in quotes because the work we do with our accounting firm is really “in-sourced,” as the firm representatives are present in the office on a regular basis. We made this change in order to provide a higher level of internal accounting and management at a better cost. The results are apparent. For example, we have created a new accounts receivable process by which all accounts receivable to SFA go directly to a secure “lock box” provided by our bank. For accounts payable, we have switched to an online bill-paying service that allows us to cut staff time and pay bills in a more efficient manner.
Other improvements include a new employee evaluation process, a revised employee handbook and automated time-keeping system. On the IT side, the staff has new computers and assistance to meet the demands of our busy association. Improvements to the “Members Only” section of SFA’s Web site, www.sfa.org, are underway that will provide even more information to our members in a readily accessible form.
SFA also has employed new online registration software in order to streamline registration to SNAXPO and other meetings for our members. The new system also allows SFA staff the ability to check the status of registrants more easily than before.
There is so much change going on that the association will look and operate like a new association once we have moved to our new space — sometime in the late spring or summer of this year. Although SFA will look like a new association, some things will never change, like our commitment to serve our members. So, as they say, “ please excuse our dust while we are under construction.”
James A. McCarthy
President and CEO