Why Your CFO Needs your Support

Experienced members of ABACC were asked the question, "What do you wish you had known when you started in the Christian Higher Education industry?"

Technical Issues

  • More accounting and legal understanding.
  • Accurately forecasting the budget based on expected student enrollment.
  • Use, regulations, and policies regarding restricted and unrestricted funds.
  • Various ways college donations are classified, used and reported.
  • Reporting of annual pledges.
  • Legal requirements involved in operating an educational non-profit.
  • Better understanding of the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it affects the educational process.
  • Benchmarking, financial ratios, and financial analysis.
  • Benefits of comparing benchmarks to reference schools.
  • Understanding, integrating and adhering to the various reporting and filing requirements for governmental reporting, accreditation reporting, association reporting, etc.
  • How to balance tuition pricing and tuition discounting to maximize net tuition revenue.
  • Tax laws, minister’s housing allowances.
  • Fund accounting and financial statements as they relate to private higher education.
  • Accrediting commissions and how they (really) operate.
  • The Department of Education and how they (really) operate.
  • Federal regulations and compliance issues.

Christian Environment Issues

  • How to be a more effective CHRISTIAN administrator and leader in a Christian organization.
  • Limitations of partnering with the for-profit business sector.
  • How much longer it takes to make decisions in a “shared governance” model.
  • The long hours with a different pay scale from the for-profit world and how to level that field.
  • How to handle the stress of the position, compounded by a passion for the ministry and the work required.
  • How to not become identified by your title, but by your place before God.
  • Why and how Christian Higher Education is different from for-profit business.
  • The importance of praying for and with colleagues and staff.
  • The keen awareness that God has placed me in my position to serve others.

Leadership & Management Issues

  • How best to convey information to the Board of Trustees, some of whom are number-oriented and some who aren’t.
  • Understanding the politics of the higher education community.
  • Understanding the faculty mindset; working with faculty committees.
  • Tracking down and integrating the primary resources for Christian Higher Education business officers.
  • Differences between administrative roles, opinions, attitudes and mindsets, including the filters through which each administrator views the educational/institutional process.
  • How vastly important it is to have the president’s full confidence and support.
  • Importance of good relationships with other administrators.
  • Effectively communicating the budget, both “up” to the president and board, and “out” to faculty and staff.
  • Importance of quality business/finance recommendations and good communication, especially during difficult financial times.
  • How to allocate time between work, family, prayer & worship.
  • I wish I would've taken advantage of ABACC's mentor program.  It would have been a great resource for me.
  • How to optimize decision-making and efficiency in a committee-driven culture.
  • The breadth of topics that most business officers must be "up" on.