Reform ACF Payment

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Cody
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Reform ACF Payment

Post by Cody »

All of the following is in reference to Paying for ACF Events on the ACF website. I will note that these policies have not yet presented a problem (that I know of) because they are not enforced as stated. They should be changed before they do.

The reform is very simple: “Payments must be postmarked by the Saturday after the tournament.”

The problem: “Payments must be postmarked by the Saturday before the tournament.” combined with the deeply unfair policy:
Paying for ACF Events wrote:We had to make last minute changes that affect our fee-schedule. Help!
Hosts will report any day-of changes that affect the payment amount. Except in special circumstances to be determined by the treasurer, teams must register all buzzers, staffers, etc. before the tournament to receive a discount. In short, you cannot receive an extra discount for bringing more buzzers or staffers than you registered. If you bring fewer buzzers, staffers, etc. than you registered, the tournament director will contact ACF and you will owe an additional fee.
Forcing teams to pay before the tournament occurs creates a complicated mess – part of the reason that the circuit never moved to this payment model. Schools drop and add teams in the week leading up to the tournament, and pre-payment isn't going to change this behavior (nor should it, given the variety of legitimate reasons to drop or add teams). Schools drop and add buzzers in the week leading up to the tournament. Schools drop and add staffers in the week leading up to a tournament. All these situations necessitate sending more checks, whether from a school or from ACF, or a school getting stiffed.

Changing this policy would streamline the whole payment process (for non-school-mailed checks) – hosts report what each team actually brought with them, the ACF treasurer issues 1 invoice, and 1 check is mailed to ACF.
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-‘17. HSAPQ President ‘15-16. ACF Treasurer ‘19-20.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
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fett0001
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by fett0001 »

One possible problem is that it might add delays in hosts actually getting paid.
Mike Hundley
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Virginia Tech

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Cody
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by Cody »

fett0001 wrote:One possible problem is that it might add delays in hosts actually getting paid.
Why? The required postmark date is only a small factor in when the host gets paid since the host is already paid after the date of the tournament. The factors that really impact when the host is paid are separate and already impact the current payment model.
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-‘17. HSAPQ President ‘15-16. ACF Treasurer ‘19-20.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
Quizbowl at VCU

fett0001
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by fett0001 »

I don't have a good justification other than it adds an extra 2 week delay to ACF getting paid..

I see no other arguments, personally.
Mike Hundley
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Ndg
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by Ndg »

For what it's worth, my invoice for ACF Fall this year referenced not the date of the tournament, but said this instead:
Please render payment within two weeks of receiving this document.
This on an invoice I received on 9/22, and on another one I received on 10/5 when I registered a second team.
Andrew Nadig

Mannhiem Mannheim Manheim Township, 2005-11
Carnegie Mellon University, 2011-15

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Cody
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by Cody »

Ndg wrote:For what it's worth, my invoice for ACF Fall this year referenced not the date of the tournament, but said this instead:
Please render payment within two weeks of receiving this document.
This on an invoice I received on 9/22, and on another one I received on 10/5 when I registered a second team.
Yes.
Cody wrote:I will note that these policies have not yet presented a problem (that I know of) because they are not enforced as stated. They should be changed before they do.
There is a large amount of wasted effort that currently goes into issuing invoices because they are issued before the tournament (and sometimes well before). VCU has gone through 3 invoices a few times.
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-‘17. HSAPQ President ‘15-16. ACF Treasurer ‘19-20.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
Quizbowl at VCU

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Matt Weiner
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by Matt Weiner »

I don't have any privileged information about how or why the choice to issue invoices in the way that they are was made, but it seems to me that the issue of sending an invoice is not the same thing as the issue of when payment is required. There's little marginal cost to e-mailing an updated digital invoice when things change, and once huge advantage to sending them before the tournament, which is establishing a firm record that teams know they need to pay for the tournament and that the payment is based on a set fee schedule and is not to be endlessly negotiated. Both of these points are still not apparently clear to everyone in quizbowl, and they certainly were even less so when ACF adopted this system three years ago.
Matt Weiner
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Cody
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by Cody »

Matt Weiner wrote:There's little marginal cost to e-mailing an updated digital invoice when things change, and once huge advantage to sending them before the tournament, which is establishing a firm record that teams know they need to pay for the tournament and that the payment is based on a set fee schedule and is not to be endlessly negotiated.
Invoices should be correct. Issuing multiple incorrect invoices due to registration changes only imparts to teams that invoices aren't to be taken seriously and can be changed at any time. Invoice roulette also encourages errors in payment -- why would any business or company or etc. wish to issue invoices that it knows are likely to be in error? It's a very bad practice and has only encouraged me (and I imagine, others) to wait until the tournament has run so I can request a correct invoice. Issuing an invoice the week before the tournament (i.e. 2 weeks before the Saturday after the tournament, my new proposed pay-by date) would be fine, but the months-in-advance invoices don't help much.

The invoice issue and when payment is required may be separate issues, but one can't be fixed without fixing the other, and both are serious issues.
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-‘17. HSAPQ President ‘15-16. ACF Treasurer ‘19-20.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
Quizbowl at VCU

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AKKOLADE
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by AKKOLADE »

I say bring back the gold standard to ACF Fall.
Fred Morlan
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AKKOLADE
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by AKKOLADE »

Cody wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:There's little marginal cost to e-mailing an updated digital invoice when things change, and once huge advantage to sending them before the tournament, which is establishing a firm record that teams know they need to pay for the tournament and that the payment is based on a set fee schedule and is not to be endlessly negotiated.
Invoices should be correct. Issuing multiple incorrect invoices due to registration changes only imparts to teams that invoices aren't to be taken seriously and can be changed at any time. Invoice roulette also encourages errors in payment -- why would any business or company or etc. wish to issue invoices that it knows are likely to be in error? It's a very bad practice and has only encouraged me (and I imagine, others) to wait until the tournament has run so I can request a correct invoice. Issuing an invoice the week before the tournament (i.e. 2 weeks before the Saturday after the tournament, my new proposed pay-by date) would be fine, but the months-in-advance invoices don't help much.

The invoice issue and when payment is required may be separate issues, but one can't be fixed without fixing the other, and both are serious issues.

Also this post is bad and you should feel bad about it.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

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Auks Ran Ova
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
Cody wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:There's little marginal cost to e-mailing an updated digital invoice when things change, and once huge advantage to sending them before the tournament, which is establishing a firm record that teams know they need to pay for the tournament and that the payment is based on a set fee schedule and is not to be endlessly negotiated.
Invoices should be correct. Issuing multiple incorrect invoices due to registration changes only imparts to teams that invoices aren't to be taken seriously and can be changed at any time. Invoice roulette also encourages errors in payment -- why would any business or company or etc. wish to issue invoices that it knows are likely to be in error? It's a very bad practice and has only encouraged me (and I imagine, others) to wait until the tournament has run so I can request a correct invoice. Issuing an invoice the week before the tournament (i.e. 2 weeks before the Saturday after the tournament, my new proposed pay-by date) would be fine, but the months-in-advance invoices don't help much.

The invoice issue and when payment is required may be separate issues, but one can't be fixed without fixing the other, and both are serious issues.

Also this post is bad and you should feel bad about it.
Why? What about it is bad? Don't just say things!
Rob Carson
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AKKOLADE
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by AKKOLADE »

Ukonvasara wrote:
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
Cody wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:There's little marginal cost to e-mailing an updated digital invoice when things change, and once huge advantage to sending them before the tournament, which is establishing a firm record that teams know they need to pay for the tournament and that the payment is based on a set fee schedule and is not to be endlessly negotiated.
Invoices should be correct. Issuing multiple incorrect invoices due to registration changes only imparts to teams that invoices aren't to be taken seriously and can be changed at any time. Invoice roulette also encourages errors in payment -- why would any business or company or etc. wish to issue invoices that it knows are likely to be in error? It's a very bad practice and has only encouraged me (and I imagine, others) to wait until the tournament has run so I can request a correct invoice. Issuing an invoice the week before the tournament (i.e. 2 weeks before the Saturday after the tournament, my new proposed pay-by date) would be fine, but the months-in-advance invoices don't help much.

The invoice issue and when payment is required may be separate issues, but one can't be fixed without fixing the other, and both are serious issues.

Also this post is bad and you should feel bad about it.
Why? What about it is bad? Don't just say things!
It's a free country, buddy :cowboy:

Sorry, I hit "submit" on my phone with my big fat thumb.

The idea that invoices don't change upon updates to payment information in ~~the real world~~ is not accurate. The idea that once an invoice is sent out it's set in stone is inaccurate. If something about an invoice is updated, an updated invoice is sent out.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

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Cody
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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by Cody »

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:The idea that invoices don't change upon updates to payment information in ~~the real world~~ is not accurate. The idea that once an invoice is sent out it's set in stone is inaccurate. If something about an invoice is updated, an updated invoice is sent out.
Of course invoices are updated upon updates to payment information. I've done this a number of times and have also issued refunds for dropped teams and added staffers/buzzers.

However, given the fluidity of college registrations, ACF's invoices are issued such that it is near-guaranteed that lots of registrations will change (excepting Nationals, of course). [VCU has required 1 or 2 revised invoices for 6 of the past 7 ACF tournaments, within an initial invoice usually 2 weeks out] I didn't think "you don't want to send out a lot of incorrect invoices requiring payment" would be very controversial -- presumably, everyone wants to issue 1 invoice that's correct.

Due to the required payment date (as stated on the ACF website, or the invoices if issued 3+ weeks before the tournament), anyone attempting to pay as required is afforded a lot of extra hassle in terms of having to cut an extra check/obtaining a refund if anything changes, or can be burned due to the policy in the first post (VCU would've been burned at ACF Fall, had we paid beforehand).

I argue that if you want to get paid on time, requiring payment before the tournament is a bad policy for the reasons stated in the first post. Excepting teams that are getting a school check cut, issuing invoices too far in advance likewise only incentivizes teams to ignore the invoice because paying before the tournament doesn't help you and can only hurt you if anything changes.
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-‘17. HSAPQ President ‘15-16. ACF Treasurer ‘19-20.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
Quizbowl at VCU

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Re: Reform ACF Payment

Post by grapesmoker »

Hey, I realize I'm about a month late on this; I haven't been reading the forums lately for various non-quizbowl-related personal reasons, and would have appreciated someone alerting me of this thread. Let me just give you all some insight into how this vicious circle of invoicing and payment works:

I have a script that's linked to the Google spreadsheet that teams use to register. The script fetches the spreadsheet data and with some additional input from me generates the invoice, which I then email to the teams. If teams end up changing their registrations, which happens pretty frequently, they just email me and I update the spreadsheet and regenerate the invoice.

Obviously I recognize that teams will have changing circumstances, so I'm not a real hardass about that two-week period unless I sense that teams are actively trying to avoid paying us. So far, the changing registrations have not been a particular problem in terms of fund collection; the real problem is just teams not paying up unless I send repeated emails, but I found no correlation between "teams that need to update their registration" and "teams that are bad at paying money."

I understand that the current system is suboptimal. I have some efforts planned towards simplifying this with a web-based interface that will allow you to register on the ACF website and receive your emailed invoice immediately, but that's not going to happen until the summer at best. Hopefully we'll also be able to incorporate things like credit card payments. I apologize for the inconvenience of the current procedure, but it's about the best thing we have at the moment, and it's been working relatively decently for the majority of cases.
Jerry Vinokurov
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