In order to dispel some of the mystery concerning our work, the PostgreSQL Europe board has decided to publish details of some of the less visible current initiatives to improve our ability to run conferences and to promote and educate people on PostgreSQL.
Over the past 10 years, PostgreSQL Europe has run a large number of conferences. This includes PGConf.EU, Nordic PGDay, FOSDEM PGDay, pgDay.Paris, and pgconf.de. During this time we’ve uncovered a number of issues that make it more difficult to fulfill our mission.
Because our yearly turnover exceeds a government set limit, the French authorities have required us to start handling VAT for almost all transactions. The implementation of this step was painful, as we received inconsistent and conflicting information from the authorities as well as from our accountants as to when and why different taxes and tax rates must be applied. This has caused a significant increase in the administrative overhead for running our events and the administration as a whole.
When operating in France, we are also bound by being able to communicate with the French authorities as well as our accountants, our bank etc in French. We have tried to find a solution for this almost since the organisation started, but have been unable to find a way to work around it. Given the increase in administration that this has led to, it has left us more dependent than ever on having one or more French-speaking people on the board of directors (primarily in the position of Treasurer) and makes it much harder to share the load of these specific tasks between different board members.
We are also aware of other conference series that are being run more as commercial events than Community events, and whilst we do not wish to stop anyone running PostgreSQL conferences however they see fit, we do want attendees, speakers and sponsors to know what they are signing up for when they register for events.
In order to decrease the dependency on having a French speaking board member to interface with banks and authorities, we are actively looking into creating a separate entity in another English speaking European country. This entity is intended to handle the organisation of the conferences, and would be the legal contact for attendees, sponsors as well as venues and other contractors.
This step will allow us to greatly reduce the nominal transaction volume of PostgreSQL Europe, and go back to a modus where PostgreSQL Europe itself does not have to charge VAT. It is also intended to ease tax handling and reporting. This new entity will be wholly controlled by the PostgreSQL Europe association, and we are actively looking into ways that can be set up. This new entity will, of course, be bound by the same rules to handle VAT etc, but it will be situated in a jurisdiction where the administration is easier to work with remotely and in English.
In addition, this new entity will allow us to better support other communities, and if required, outsource certain tasks.
To ensure the recognition and quality of the PostgreSQL Europe events we’re working on a number of other fronts:
The PostgreSQL Europe Board continues to look at various ways of distinguishing the work and events the association undertakes from that of other organisations, and to minimise the risk, cost and effort to the Association by looking for simple, “best value” solutions for the work we do.
We do this as we hold a shared belief and passion for supporting and promoting PostgreSQL in a friendly, community environment. Whilst we want PostgreSQL to become as successful as possible, we strive to maintain a sense of close community and family in what we do. We strongly believe that other than the great technology that is PostgreSQL, our Community is one of the things that sets PostgreSQL apart from others in the market.