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Top of Mind in 2019

By Jeffrey Shields posted 12-17-2019 08:45 AM


CEO Notebook |

Member connections, clarity around compliance, and a new financial calculator are just a few highlights from the past year.

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Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

This is the time of year for list-making. Students may be making wish lists to Santa, Hanukkah Harry or simply their parents regarding gift choices. Movie critics give us their top 10 films, newspapers share memorable events and other outlets highlight the most interesting people. Perhaps you’re getting an early start on your own list of New Year’s resolutions.

As my final blog post of 2019, I’d like to list the NBOA happenings at the top of my mind. These mark another great year for the association in service to our inspiring member schools across the country and around the globe.

5. The largest NBOA Annual Meeting in history. I never get tired of this one. The largest-ever group of independent school business, finance and operations staff gathered in San Diego last March to “Ride the Waves of Change.” What I remember most is hearing from so many of you that the lineup of general sessions speakers “hit it out of the park.” Thank you for the feedback, and thank you to Astronaut Mark Kelly, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Erik Wahl, Kevin Carroll and the many other presenters from schools and our business partner community for making the 2019 gathering not only the largest, but one of the best programs according to you. And, believe it or not, I think we’re going to top it next year, so be sure to register for 2020 NBOA Annual Meeting in Orlando!

4. Publications supporting strategic and tactical conversations. Momentum from the blockbuster book Culture Meets Compliance: The NBOA Guide to Assessing Human Resources at Independent Schools (published in fall 2018) carried over into spring 2019 with the launch of an online course associated with the book. HR compliance is one of the largest areas of potential risk for our schools, so it’s little wonder that this publication continues to be popular with NBOA members.

This fall saw the release of two white papers on timely topics. “Mergers and Acquisitions” is a resource for schools that may be considering this emerging business strategy and want to initiate discussions with school leadership. “Wage and Hour Issues” helps schools understand staff and payroll compliance issues unique to independent day and boarding schools. Start 2020 on the right foot by checking out these white papers, which are complimentary for NBOA member schools.

3. The Composite Financial Indicator (CFI) calculator in BIIS. This development took NBOA’s custom-built BIIS data collection platform to the next level. In 2019, BIIS included not only a focused set of business, financial and operational data but also a full suite of tools to help independent schools understand, benchmark and communicate their financial health. Following on the heels of the NBOA Financial Dashboard, the CFI calculator is our most sophisticated tool yet and facilitates a deeper dive into your school’s financial health. The calculator helps leaders identify strengths and weaknesses, and then develop a long-term financial plan for your school’s financial sustainability. A Senior Leaders Seminar immediately preceding the 2020 NBOA Annual Meeting will train school leaders how to use the CFI and associated BIIS tools and an online course will be offered in the spring and summer.

2. The NBOA Summer Webinar Series launched under the mantra “we know business officers don’t take the summer off and neither does NBOA.” For the first time, we offered webinars year-round and developed a series of four new programs that showcased how independent schools are responding to affordability and accessibility issues by innovating their business models. This brought the number of complimentary webinars available to NBOA member schools to a whopping 18, all of which are available to members in the webinar archive.

1. NBOA Members will always be on my best list each year. On behalf of the entire NBOA staff, it is such a privilege to serve a smart, problem-solving and committed community of professionals who are supporting the delivery of world-class education at your schools by providing world-class business operations.

2019 will be remembered for many successes and challenges in the world of independent schools, and I’m confident that together we will rise to the moment in 2020 and beyond. Happy Holidays and best wishes for a successful new year! 

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.
From Net Assets NOW, December 17, 2019. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.


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