While colleges and university governing boards have long maintained fiduciary responsibility over institutional resources, the tough budgetary climate has heightened boards' interest in institutional financial health. In 2014, a majority of board members at both public and private institutions identified fiscal sustainability and affordability as their top two priorities, and board support staff report a related increase in financial reporting requests from board members.
Download the complete publication or explore the table of contents to discover eight considerations that will help you deploy impactful financial dashboards that contextualize critical metrics, support supplementary resources, and meet the needs of cross-campus stakeholders.
Boards increasingly focused on financial data
While college and university governing boards have long maintained fiduciary responsibility over institutional resources, the tough budgetary climate has heightened boards' interest in their institution's financial health. In 2014, 59% of boards members at public institutions and 76% at private institutions identified fiscal sustainability and affordability as their top two priorities. In particular, this increased attention to institutional finance has led to greater demand for data, as 65% of support staff indicate that boards are requesting data reports more frequently post-recession.
At a minimum, finance leaders need to find more efficient and effective ways to address rising board demands for financial information. However, simply distributing financial reports is not enough. Senior leaders must engage board members as strategic partners who not only ask good questions about finances but also help those leaders develop innovative solutions to their institution's most pressing financial challenges.
A delicate balance
However, there are challenges in communicating meaningful financial information to boards. For senior leaders, determining how much financial information to share can be a tricky balancing act. Communicating too little information can cause board members to misinterpret the institution's true financial position or question if administrative leaders are "hiding the ball." On the other hand, communicating too much financial information can cause board members to focus undue attention on less significant details (e.g., employee travel spend).
The eight considerations outlined in the remainder of this study will help you learn how to effectively communicate with board members to both build trust and leverage their expertise.