Get to know Veterans Resource Centers of America’s Byron Calos, winner of a North Bay Business Journal CFO award.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF A FINANCIAL LEADER IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT?
In the nonprofit sector, the regulatory demands of fiscal accounting vary from grant to grant. GAAP adherence is a given and easy to accomplish, while the variable fiscal accountability for grants impacts the true heroes of our agency: the line staff (e.g. case managers, clinicians). Our role is to minimize the disruption to client services that such fiscal-related documentation may cause at the service level.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
The ever-increasing demands for unimpeachable fiscal management by government without sufficient government funding to accomplish that mission.
TELL US ABOUT THE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS MET IN THE RECENT PAST.
VRC has experienced exponential growth in the last three years. A 350% increase in employees and service centers (expansion to Arizona and Nevada) and a 100 percent increase in operating expenses has placed significant pressure on the entire agency both with regard to service delivery and administration.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG EMERGING FINANCIAL LEADERS?
I would hope that they share their expertise with the nonprofit sector by volunteering as consultants or, better yet, serving on nonprofit boards.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE FOR WEATHERING TODAY’S ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT?
In the nonprofit sector please be aware of the political impact elections may have on your mission.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR BUSINESS WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
No other administration has put comparable funding into the community to aid homeless veterans. No matter who gets elected, I anticipate a reduction in these funding levels of the last four years.
WHAT IS A DECISION YOU WISH YOU HADN’T MADE? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
In the early days of my tenure I went along with seeking outside for-profit business endeavors, which would hopefully diversify our funding and support our mission. I learned to stay in our lane and focus on developing best practices in non-profit fiscal management.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE?
It is the constant reminder that what we do contributes to saving the lives of veterans and their families every day. If we do our job well, our agency will continue to serve the community and continue to improve the lives of veterans and their families for another 35 years.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS SUCCESS?
Nonprofit fiscal management is a Team sport! Having hired three of the most capable, likable and dedicated financial team members who carry the day-to-day workload is a blessing and true benefit to the agency and our clients.
WHAT WAS YOUR TOUGHEST BUSINESS DECISION?
How to maintain staff and services when grants are lost, which has occurred multiple times in my 28 years with VRC.
Chief financial officer
Veterans Resource Centers of America
2455 Bennett Valley Rd., Ste. C105, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Education: B.S., classics, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1975; MBA, Sonoma State University, 1988