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An Open Letter from Jeff Shields
To NBOA Members About BIIS

By Jeffrey Shields posted 10-23-2018 10:21 AM


CEO Notebook |

How is the BIIS data-collection platform different, and how can it help you?

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Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

Dear Colleagues:

During this frantic data-collection season, you may be scratching your head, wondering, “Why would NBOA, my professional association, contribute to the survey fatigue I already experience as a business officer by creating a separate data-collection effort under the banner BIIS? And why should I take the time to enter my school’s data in BIIS? Why is it different and worthwhile?”

NBOA created BIIS based entirely on member feedback. For years, business officers have shared that other surveys did not meet their needs for better understanding their school's financial position. NBOA developed BIIS with a set of clear definitions and calculations to fill that void with standardized and reliable data. In addition to built-in algorithms, a team of former business officers reviews every data point to ensure its accuracy. This is standard practice with NBOA's surveys.

The goal of BIIS is not to add to survey fatigue or compete with other data-collection efforts. The goal is to provide business officers with the business, finance and operational data that you told us you and your school need, and in the formats you told us you, your heads of school and your boards of trustees needed it.

As for your second question, why should you take the time? Because BIIS serves business officers better than anything else when it comes to providing the most accurate data your independent school needs. And better and more accurate data means better financial decisions for your school.

  • BIIS provides a comprehensive evaluation of your school’s financial position. This includes reporting tools like the NBOA Financial Dashboard (exclusively in BIIS), with 12 key financial indicators, and a Composite Financial Index calculator to assess your school’s current financial health.
  • BIIS collects far fewer data points than other systems, focusing on data that is relevant to and actionable for the business office specifically. With data from past NBOA research efforts already pre-loaded in BIIS, updates are easier. It will not take as long to participate as you may think. Plus, BIIS replaces the numerous survey asks that NBOA previously requested.
  • BIIS collects data on a broader set of job positions than any other data-collection platform, including positions in maintenance, transportation and food service. Few of these positions are benchmarked in other national surveys, but they are just as important to the business operations of your school.
  • NBOA's new white paper, "Key Financial Indicators of Vitality for Independent Schools," is the first of many publications based on BIIS data and is now available to members. NBOA will continue to provide this kind of objective, third-party analysis to help you and your school understand the data and what it means for your school.

I hope this answers the legitimate questions that you have raised over the last few weeks. I have had the honor to serve as the chief executive of NBOA for almost nine years. During that time, I believe that the NBOA Board and staff have demonstrated a commitment to do whatever we can to make your jobs easier, not harder. I truly believe that BIIS will serve as a centerpiece of that commitment, and I ask for your participation by October 26. If you can make that commitment, I will continue to work toward reducing the burden of completing surveys for your school. A burden that falls squarely on your shoulders.

Best regards,

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.
From Net Assets NOW, October 23, 2018. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.


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