Perspectives on the value of the CFO and Business Officer, exclusively for Presidents of Christian Colleges.
By Mark Sooy
We were created for abundance and goodness. Deep down we know this to be true. Though today the vision of what that describes is fuzzy, the early chapters of Genesis explain God’s original intent for His creation. He tells us our purpose and calling as human beings. Let’s focus on Genesis 1:28, which has often been called the “cultural mandate”:
By Mark Sooy
In a recent sermon, I was reminded of the true definition of humility. Although many understand humility as being “under” others (as in “under the thumb”), or willing to do whatever anyone else wants (i.e., subservient), that really is not the case. True humility is the recognition of both our great value and our great need. It is seeing ourselves for who we are as we stand before God as His creatures – gifted people utterly dependent upon Him for all things.
by Mark Sooy
Each one of us has many roles in life. Have you considered how many roles you fill each and every day? Spouse, parent, friend, boss, employee, leader, follower, caretaker, steward, owner, buyer, seller…the list could go on and on. We move from one to the other seamlessly, and often function in more than one capacity simultaneously.
I’ve always believed that one of the most unique characteristics of higher education is an inherent willingness to collaborate.
Higher ed is an amazingly supportive culture where administrators, academic researchers, scientists and professors learn from and build upon each other’s successes. The same can be said for higher education procurement.
Given the financial pressure today’s higher ed institutions are facing, collaborative purchasing efforts are more important than ever before. Many institutions don’t realize just how much a purchasing cooperative can help with the procurement process.
Experienced members of ABACC were asked the question, "What do you wish you had known when you started in the Christian Higher Education industry?"
Many business officers holding the title of CFO are really bookkeepers. This is dangerous for the institution and for the employee. An institution hiring a CFO should receive high-level financial management. An unqualified CFO puts him/her self in a precarious position if all he or she is doing is record-keeping and reporting when your employer is looking for much more than that. An institution of higher education requires solid, strategic leadership; this requires much more than a bookkeeper can or should provide.
My youngest is choosing a college. I hope she will choose a Christian college. The preeminent university in her field is so anti-Christian that they expelled Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship from their school. Certainly, that academic community needs ambassadors of Christ, but do I want my daughter subjected to their constant indoctrination?
You might not be leading a revolution, or trying to thwart one, but I think you would agree that you live and lead in turbulent times. As a consequence, leadership challenges can seem unrelenting. Moreover, you will be judged on your ability to respond effectively to that pressure. If you ably guide the school you lead through crisis and challenge to greater levels of impact, you will be considered a success. If, however, under your leadership difficult situations are not resolved, leading to diminished impact, you will likely become a target for criticism.
If professional development budgets are tight, allocating budget to pay your your CFO's way to a conference can be difficult. The CFO and business officer who makes the strongest case, with data and specific projections, are most likely to get the green light. Why not sustain your hard-won culture of leadership and strengthen your institution by sending your CFO to the ABACC Conference?
Dr. Duane Kilty, Indiana Wesleyan University for the Association of Business Administrators of Christian Colleges
We can all agree that colleges are facing significant financial challenges and need to do everything possible to improve the bottom line. We would also agree that developing our employees professionally is important.