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Articles: Revenues

WHEN LYNNE SCHAEFER STARTED HER position as vice president for administration and finance at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2005, the institution's financial reporting tool left much to be desired. Developed internally to pull data from UMBC's PeopleSoft ERP, the tool has produced complex reports that make it "hard to find exactly what pieces of information you're looking at," she says. "This creates frustration, especially for the untrained eye. ... I'm sure in some cases it has resulted in people throwing up their hands and just hoping it all goes ok."

Determining the fair value of assets and liabilities on a university's financial statement has become increasingly stringent, particularly under the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Codification Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures (Topic 820), formerly FAS 157. Since compliance with accounting regulations is an undeniable part of a CFO's responsibility, it is important that accounting professionals in higher education are aware of the new standards under Topic 820.

Hardly a day goes by without a college announcing jobs, programs, or spending cuts. You would think with all the brainpower at our colleges and universities they would be able to come up with better solutions than lopping off people, sections and services to students. But they don’t seem to. Why not?

In 2000, the University of Washington School of Medicine sought a project model to build new laboratory space beyond the traditional UW campus. Their goals were to construct a high quality lab building that provided space in alignment with the national reputation of the institution—and to provide that space quickly. To accomplish those goals, the school sought alternative, market rate financing outside of the lengthy six-year State of Washington capital development process and a sophisticated team to deliver it.

America is facing a challenging time. With a weakened economy and limited resources, businesses — regardless of size and industry — need to ensure they are maintaining a positive cash flow. And higher educational institutions are not immune.

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