Enhancing Higher Education Financial Operations through Global Service Delivery

Many colleges and universities are grappling with financial challenges, including declining student enrollment and high overhead costs. One approach to addressing these challenges is outsourcing the finance and accounting function. Appropriately scaled to an institution’s needs, this can stabilize or reduce costs while also making improvements to reporting that enhance the long-term sustainability of the institution. 

BDO has been working to drive substantial improvements in the accounting and reporting process for a small liberal arts university needing more timely, reliable information to navigate a financial turnaround. The university was facing declining enrollment, a structural deficit, outdated fiscal infrastructure, and worsening financial conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Starting with a comprehensive review of the university's financial state, BDO identified areas for improvement in financial management and reporting processes. Weaknesses in the university's general ledger and ERP systems were corrected to enable accurate and timely financial reporting, trend analysis, and better insights into the institution's financial health all while meeting accreditation requirements.  

BDO’s global service delivery model established a division of labor in which key planning, accounting and financial reporting functions were outsourced to the BDO team while student- and employee-facing roles remained in-house.  Accounting functions, including audit and reporting, controllership and CFO leadership were provided by BDO, while functions like payroll, human resources, financial aid, and student accounts remained the direct responsibility of the university. 

BDO's customized global service delivery model has proven effective in helping colleges and universities tackle and remediate financial challenges, reduce costs, and achieve long-term sustainability. However, the specific outcomes may vary depending on each organization's unique needs and circumstances. 

To learn more about how BDO streamlined the university's operations for sustainability, you can read the full case study here.