Higher Education

Higher education is one of the most essential industries in America. It plays a vital role in shaping the lives of our youth in preparing them for the work world as well as for making meaningful contributions to society. During the past few years colleges and universities have faced more complex financial issues. Undergraduate enrollments have declined, endowments have shrunk, and many private institutions have become more dependent on tuition for survival. Now, many in the industry fear that the unprecedented combination of financial difficulties along with the coronavirus pandemic, many institutions may not recover. In these challenging times, every institution needs a financial partner who understands their unique needs and can help find solutions. At Hemphill Wright and Associates, Inc. we understand these challenges. Whether your needs are simple or complex, we can help.

We offer a range of professional services related to:

Financial Management

College and Universities face more challenges today with securing stable sources of income. Regardless of the size of the institution or whether it is public or private, endowments have plummeted because of the recent turmoil in the stock market. Sound financial management is critical to ensuring administrative and finance teams find creative ways to manage the school’s budgetary requirements competently as well as finding the expertise needed to assist them in making informed decisions.

Human Resources

As is the case with most industries, the most important contributor to a higher education institution is its people – its human resources. Attracting, retaining, managing, and developing top talent is the lifeblood of the institution as well as its most expensive line item.  Thus, the goal of a Human Resources department is to be as efficient as possible.  To do this effectively, HR professionals must know how to use the tools and resources available to analyze and interpret data in making decisions. This changing landscape requires reporting techniques previously the purview of “bean counters”, so that finance can effectively help HR decision makers address the challenges in today’s world.

Technologies

The growth of HR reporting has led to a shift in responsibility of HR managers to a greater dependence on technology. Utilizing technology effectively allows managers to get the most out of the data while spending less time on routine tasks and more time analyzing trends.  This also means more time spent learning how to use new technology.  As a result, training team members becomes a challenge, but also an opportunity for IT and finance professionals who may be well versed in tech solutions.

Governance

College and university governance in the realm of education is evolving. Directors of every college and university are being challenged more than ever. Improving governance not only informs and facilitates decision-making but protects educational institutions from higher risk. In fact, governance itself is often a risk factor for institutions that boards must mitigate against by focusing on fiduciary responsibilities, strategic planning, and board culture. Ongoing education and training of board members about the issues they’re addressing is essential to their making informed and wise decisions. Boards must engage in self-assessment and hold themselves accountable. The use of outside advisors may be critical to this process.

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