Despite a sluggish and uneven economic recovery and heightened volatility in the global financial markets, the American Chemical Society (ACS) ended 2011 on a highly positive note with outstanding operating results. ACS ended 2011 with a net contribution from operations of $20.1 million, the second highest on record. In addition, total revenues increased 1.8% over 2010. The 2011 financial results represent the eighth consecutive year of positive net contribution from operations. This strong operating performance is attributed to a combination of outstanding financial performance from the information services divisions (Chemical Abstracts Service and ACS Publications) and a continued emphasis on expense management across all operating units.
While operating performance continued to be strong, the Society’s overall financial position deteriorated in 2011 due to the impact of declining interest rates on postretirement benefit plan liabilities. Unrestricted net assets decreased to $139.5 million at December 31, 2011, from $169.9 million in 2010. The decrease is primarily attributable to accounting charges related to the Society’s underfunded postretirement benefit plans (i.e., defined benefit pension plan and retiree medical plan). In short, historically low interest rates have temporarily inflated postretirement benefit plan liabilities and caused the Society’s unrestricted net assets to decline. In future years this phenomenon will reverse as interest rates gradually return to more normal levels.
In furtherance of its mission “Advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people,” ACS continues to invest heavily in its information services units. These investments are made to strengthen the Society’s position as the world’s most trusted and comprehensive source of chemistry-related information. In support of this goal, several initiatives were undertaken in 2011. Two new journals, ACS Catalysis and ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, were launched; the ACS extended its mobile program to the Android environment and launched a free dedicated C&EN mobile application for iPhones, iPads, and Android mobile devices; and by year-end, ACS was publishing more than 40 peer-reviewed journals. In addition, the CAS Registry exceeded more than 65 million records for organic and inorganic substances, indexed publications reached an all-time high and reaction procedures grew in SciFinder to more than three million.
Looking ahead, the Society intends to vigorously pursue the goals set out in its new and highly focused Strategic Plan for 2012 and Beyond. Whether providing information resources, advancing member careers, improving education or communicating chemistry’s values, ACS remains firmly committed to providing the highest quality programs, products and services to its diverse stakeholders, including members, educators, public policy makers and other chemistry professionals.
To access ACS audited financial statements and IRS Form 990 returns, visit the ACS website at www.acs.org. Click the About Us tab, scroll down and click on the link to ACS Financial Information, or click here.