Felix is in financial trouble, with ICU Media Group's Senior Treasurer Dr Sunny Bains refusing to sign any more cheques until advertising income arrives. This step looks set to put a stop to Felix for the rest of term, with the printers demanding advance payment for every issue (due to late payment of invoices previously).
Felix Editor Andy Sykes has been struggling to keep on top of both invoicing and producing the paper, as the exams season has left him writing all the content by himself. Around £17,000 is outstanding from unpaid invoices to advertisers which has now been assigned to Deputy President (Clubs & Societies) Eric Lai to chase up. Big issues cost around £1,750, meaning money able to print an entire terms worth of issues is currently oustanding.
Sykes told Live!: "We have a large amount of income outstanding, and it should be more than enough to see us through to the end of term. No-one seems to know whose job it is to chase invoices, which in a place this size is just ridiculous. Last year, I remember Rupert chasing invoices once he'd finished printing in the summer; I have not even been allowed that luxury. At least this finally lets me get round to sorting the website out. Felix will be printed again this term, but not in the form you might expect. Watch this space."
This year's team inherited a financial deficit due to new computers purchased by his predecessor Rupert Neate, which has contributed to the problems this year. The smaller Felix seen this term is an attempt to conserve what little money was left, however it appears time has run out: even £1k an issue is beyond its means.
Sykes accepts some blame for being lax with invoicing, however has expressed his disappointment that Felix is not being given extra time to chase advertisers before being cut off. Senior Union officers have expressed their willingness to help, but without the Senior Treasurer on board they face little option but to allocate money from a contingency fund to tide Felix over.
Felix has a history of cash flow problems disappearing in the summer of 2001 due to slow invoicing, only being reinstated when revenue began to come in. The situation is not helped by the Union's finance system, which sends invoices into the ether until they magically appear paid at some non-determined point in the future. Warnings about the finances appear to have gone missing and there is some confusion over who is supposed to chase late invoice payments (this reporter recalls being told the finance office would do it during finance training).
Without some form of loan from the Union, it seems Felix will be confined their website for the rest of term. On the bright side, at least now the website might get some new content on it.
Update: Funding for one final issue this year has been agreed, which is likely to appear in June.