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By Jeffrey Shields posted 02-18-2015 11:10 AM


CEO Notebook |

I anticipate many wonderful moments at NBOA's 2015 Annual Meeting next week, not least among them the unveiling of the definitive narrative of the profession. "By the Numbers and Beyond: Independent School Business Operations," a 310-page book available in both print and digital editions, is a current and comprehensive overview of the financial and operational responsibilities that fall to independent school CFOs, from accounting to transportation.

The book is also a tribute to how the business office has evolved in the years since the economic downturn called into question the independent school financial model. And, it is a forward-thinking bulwark against new challenges likely to arise in the years to come.

As independent school business officers, you deal routinely with accounting and finance, budgets and audits, spreadsheets and protocols, and so much more. Collectively, this portfolio of responsibilities amounts to a portrait of a profession that epitomizes 21st-century multitasking. As Grant Lichtman writes in his foreword, "With massively greater global connectivity through rapidly evolving technologies, the very definition of what a school 'is' and 'does' is in the early stages of what many feel will be a transformational mutation in the next decade."

And to think: Business officers will be at the center of it.

Which brings me to two important points about "By the Numbers":

  • Like a living document, the book contains hundreds of links to web pages where you will find directly relevant articles, models, background reports and other online guidances to supplement your knowledge. These links are "live" in the ebook version (which you can download to as many as six devices), giving you fingertip access to a virtual library of invaluable information.
  • Demographic changes are driving a sweeping transition from the current generation of business officers to the next. For the up-and-comers, the book captures and conveys the most important aspects of independent school business operations. For experienced business officers, it fills knowledge gaps and updates established conventions. For anybody who needs to understand how the business office works, it is an invaluable primer.

In this age of instant news reporting, I'm proud to say that "By the Numbers" is more than a year in the making. After all, that timeframe encompasses hundreds of hours of work—from raw research to peer reviews—by some of the best minds in our industry. On behalf of NBOA, sincere thanks to a group that includes Janice Abraham, Wynn Calder, Terry Decker, Linda Myers Dennison, Ace Ellis, Thom Greenlaw, John Griswold, Benjamin Hahn, Phil Higginson, Heather Hoerle, Steve Hoffman, Grant Lichtman, Suzanne McCanles, Chuck Procknow, Tina Rodriguez, Kelly Sanderson, Pamela Scanlon, Dev Talvadkar, Charles Kenneth Tanner, Quincy Waidelich, Debra Wilson and John zumBrunnen.

Ladies and gentlemen, I encourage you to purchase "By the Numbers and Beyond: Independent School Business Operations" for your library.

See you in Boston.

From Bottomline, February 17, 2015.


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