With some medical boards receiving critical reports regarding their finances in recent years, we often receive inquiries about our own financial situation from Diplomates, as well as prospective Candidates. Most often these inquiries are focused on our exam and MOC fees along with the desire to be reassured that ABO is conducting business in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner.
To better understand the financial operations of ABO, we have put together an overview of our financial structure and current revenue and expenses.
The American Board of Optometry is a 501(c) corporation registered in the state of Missouri. An IRS form 990 is filed each year, which is available to the public at www.guidestar.org, and the ABO is audited annually by BKD, CPAs & Advisors, a third-party, independent accounting and advisory firm.
ABO is a new and relatively small certification board compared to many ABMS and other medical certification boards. As such, we do not have the high revenues often associated with larger and older boards. Recognizing that our operational costs must be supported by a smaller number of Diplomates, ABO works diligently to keep our exam and MOC fees in line with those of other ABMS boards. We currently employee 3 full-time staff, including an Executive Director, an Operations Manager and a Director of Examinations and Maintenance of Certification. Other roles, including administration, IT and psychometrics are outsourced. By far, the greatest source of support and ongoing work effort is our large volunteer network. Volunteers handle many ABO tasks including item writing, exam review, standard setting, SAM authoring, professional engagement opportunities and attending industry meetings and events.
Board of Directors
The ABO Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from AOA, AAO, AOSA and ASCO as well as at-large and public members. The current board consists of 10 Directors, although that number may vary depending on the needs of the Board. Board members are not compensated for their role, however they are reimbursed for travel expenses. Travel is typically limited to one annual meeting and potentially one committee meeting or industry event per year if attending on behalf of ABO.
ABO operates on a lean budget, funded entirely by examination and maintenance of certification fees. The Board has focused much effort over the last few years on reducing outside vendor costs, streamlining processes and finding more cost-effective alternatives to traditional travel and marketing expenses. As summarized in the graphics below, ABO is in a stable financial position with slow and steady growth projected for future years. As we continue to grow, ABO will remain diligent about keeping expenses for Diplomates and Candidates to a minimum.
Examination Fees: $950 standard, $500 new graduate/resident
MOC Fees: $225 annually
Other Fees: certificate orders and verifications
Staff and Administration: ED and administrative portion of salary and benefits, office expenses, travel, corporate dues, insurance and financial management
Program Management: website, tracking, certificates and marketing and communication
Examination: development, delivery, psychometrics and reporting
MOC: LearningBuilder portal, SAM development, PPMs
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