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Five Ways NBOA Delivered for You in 2017

By Jeffrey Shields posted 12-19-2017 08:58 AM



CEO Notebook |

Data collection and publishing platforms, tuition pricing research, a financial health indicator and big savings for schools.

Jeff Shields headshot
Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

It’s become a tradition for me to use this year-end post to recap the great work that the NBOA staff and board have done together to make the year memorable. Of course, none of this matters without you — the independent school business officer and operations staff community — and your professionalism, collegiality and hard work on behalf of your schools and their missions.

Here are the five deliverables I’m most grateful for in 2017. I hope they made your list too.

1. Launched NBOA started 2017 with a new website that captures the news, trends and issues most relevant to preK-12 independent school business and finance operations. Since its launch, has acquired more than 24,000 users and 71,000 page views, becoming an invaluable way to update members on matters such as the potential impact on our schools of the tax overhaul. is now a critical offering within the family of NBOA publications, joining the flagship (and award-winning) bimonthly Net Assets magazine and the twice-monthly Net Assets NOW newsletter.

2. Researched the effects of tuition demand on enrollment. NBOA partnered with Independent School Management and Measuring Success to update and expand a tuition price elasticity study that was last conducted in 2010. In short, this effort sought to understand the current level of price sensitivity among prospective families within the independent school market. NBOA members participated in this survey, and the findings were part of a standing-room-only session at the 2017 NBOA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

3. Collaborated with NAIS on the Composite Financial Index. NBOA, in partnership with NAIS and with support from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, engaged in the development of a “financial health gauge” for independent schools based on the Composite Financial Index (CFI) used in higher education. The new CFI uses data from an independent school’s audited financial statement to calculate a composite score, similar to a FICO score. There’s much more to come on the CFI, including a Senior Leaders Seminar, "Strategic Financial Analysis and Communication Using the Composite Financial Index," that will precede the 2018 NBOA Annual Meeting.

4. Delivered Business Intelligence for Independent Schools (BIIS—temporarily closed for data review and cleaning). NBOA's signature data-collection tool combines data from nearly every previous NBOA research effort to provide participating schools with a comprehensive look at your financial health, sustainability and staffing compared to other schools in a national data set. Exclusively for NBOA members, BIIS was designed by business officers for business officers. It analyzes a wide range of operational and compensation data, distilling it into accurate and meaningful graphs you can use to set benchmarks and make important decisions. The first phase of collection in BIIS was completed last month, and participants will soon see the power of its reporting.

If you have not yet participated in BIIS, the platform will reopen the week of January 8. Mark your calendar so your school can benefit from this wealth of benchmarking data.

5. Saved schools money. In fiscal 2017, participating NBOA members schools made purchases totaling $7.847 million — and saved $1.884 million — through the NBOA PurchasingPoint program. In addition, the NBOA Board voted to approve the expansion of the NBOA Affinity Partner Program to include Praesidium and Compass Cyber Security. These organizations provide best-in-class services in risk management, including sexual misconduct and cybersecurity, often at a discount to NBOA member schools.

2018 marks NBOA’s 20th year of serving the national independent school business officer community. As we prepare to celebrate this landmark anniversary, we look forward to accomplishing even more together in delivering the best tools, resources and professional development for business officers, your staff and your schools. Until then, thank you for everything you do for your schools and this community, and have a safe and relaxing holiday break!

Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.
From Net Assets NOW, December 19, 2017. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.

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