How Do You Help Your College or University Stay Ahead of the Curve?
In an era of rapid change and disruption in higher education, how can you help your college or university stay ahead of the curve? For the past several years, if you work in a financial management role at a college or university, or if you’re a prospective student or the parent of a student, the news headlines have been pretty scary.
- Students Outraged at News of Mount Ida College Closing.
- University of Providence Announces Closure of 11 Programs.
- University of Alaska Readies for Budget Slash: 'We May Likely Never Recover.'
These are but a few examples of the challenges facing even financially strong educational institutions and posing existential threats for financially struggling ones. And just this week, Moody’s Investor Services—the debt rating agency, pronounced the outlook for the entire higher education sector as negative for the second year in a row.
And there are other challenges to the financial viability of higher education institutions that are ongoing: e.g., demographic changes in the US population that are reducing the number of traditional college-aged students; public and media scrutiny of the value of a college education; state governments reducing grants to universities in order to deal with budget shortfalls and other priority investments; and tax-law proposals that could impact private philanthropic donations or levy a fee on university endowments.
So, What Can College and University Financial Managers Do to Prepare for These Challenges?
In the past few years, several dozen colleges and universities of vastly different sizes and varying missions (e.g., research-intensive institutions affiliated with major academic medical centers; medium or large multi-campus public universities; small private liberal arts colleges; and community colleges) have been enjoying the advantages of using the Anaplan cloud-native platform and leveraging the Connected Planning capability of Anaplan to better prepare for the rapid changes and disruptions that have forced the shrinking or closure or merger of a growing number of educational institutions.
As an Anaplan partner with a sole focus on the higher education industry, truED Consulting provides institutions with the ability to build a unified budgeting and planning platform across the institution.
truED assists its college and university clients in using Anaplan models to connect people, data, and plans across functional groups and processes (operational budgeting, long-range planning, institutional research, treasury, alumni and development, facilities, human resources, etc.) to produce a truly comprehensive process for faster data gathering and decision making. Our experience in specialized areas of university financial management—such as position budgeting, capital planning, enrollment modeling, responsibility center management, and academic program costing— complements our overall expertise across all budgeting, planning, and modeling solutions.
Anaplan Accelerators: Accelerate Your Anaplan Implementation by Leveraging Pre-built Budgeting and Planning Templates Based on Industry Best Practices and Proven Approaches
These accelerators are available not only for core budgeting and long-range planning functions, but also functions such as workforce planning, endowment modeling, enrollment, and tuition forecasting, and monitoring of liquidity and other key balance sheet and financial ratios. These accelerators help greatly reduce time to project completion and realization of faster return on investment.
Training and Enablement: One of the Key Differentiators of Anaplan from Other Technology Platforms and Consulting Firms
Anaplan partners with firms that have deep industry experience that can provide higher education customers a unique experience that includes hands-on training, mentorship, and knowledge transfer to enable the client team to be self-sufficient in using, maintaining, and enhancing the solution once they “go live” with their new Anaplan models.
Anaplan offers the most user-friendly interface in the market compared to competitors. This provides higher education customers fast adoption and ease of use while enhancing their ability to manage complex modeling and analysis.
Although the financial challenges facing higher education are daunting, we have now seen how some institutions have adopted the Anaplan Connected Planning philosophy and methodology to anticipate change and adversity and maintain financial stability. This is an invitation to the many thousands of other academic institutions who have yet to discover the power and versatility of Anaplan to get on board!
Robert Knight, truED ConsultingRobert Knight, higher education advisor at truED Consulting, has over 30 years of experience in senior administration and finance roles at academic institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Robert recently retired after serving as vice president of finance and business operations at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). At UNBC, Robert’s portfolio included finance and budget, human resources, facilities management, and information technology. Robert previously served as the principal administrative and financial officer for the Steinhardt School at New York University. He has also served as assistant vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and financial planning and budget director at Oberlin College.