Five Things a Head Should Know about Finances


A. Budget should be looked at within an integrated 3-5 year model, otherwise merely a snapshot
a. Student enrollment—honest assessment about where you’re at, what trends are likely to continue
b. Ask schools to give you the trends, the admissions information
c. Ask for the horizon lines on financial aid

B. What’s the schools capacity for giving, what’s the commitment
a. Parent giving
b. Board of trustee contributions
i. If you see a flat line, what undermined the fundraising (scandal)
ii. Alumni giving is a concern if it is 5-10%

C. How Tuition dependent is the school: 80-85% dependent. 90% or more with declining applications is a problem!!!

D. Teacher turnover—how costly are the faculty, how often do the changes occur

E. Cost of physical plant for your school—what does it take to operate your school?
a. Fixed costs that vary with the market

F. What percentage of costs is coming from full pay students?
G. How big is the endowment?
a. Tuition driven generally is a problem

H. How much cash does a school have?
a. Cash is critical if an insurance company backs out of a litigation case
b. 6 months budget
c. How does a school bank? Local banks may not have the capacity to pay out for catastrophic situations. Large banks are preferable.

I. Auxiliary Programs at the School
J. What is the school’s commitment to technology? Five percent is a good rule of thumb
K. See the most current strategic plan and the model that goes with that plan
a. How much fundraising are you expecting me to do?
b. Hiring of personnel

If you get the job, schedule a mini-retreat with the CFO to understand the current and projected financial situation, BEFORE meeting with the division heads and
Look on goggle for Head’s packages. Get yourself a good lawyer to review the contract. Three years start contract—optimal situation--with an evergreen afterwards.
· What constitutes termination for cause?
· Evergreen is a rolling three year contract

NBOA Summer Institute: NBOA.net—starting going to conferences to prepare you for this next step. Four day conference in NH this year.
· Symposium in advance of NAIS national conference
· About $1200.00

BISI—Business Institute for Aspiring Heads: Harvard Head training program