The Confident Campus Controller

10 Steps to Higher Education Business Office Success

With higher education tending to recruit accounting staff from other industries and accountants being in short supply, industry-specific needs and cultural anomalies can be daunting to the newly hired. Upon accepting a role in the accounting department of a College a decade ago, Jessica Ryals longed for a handbook to help her acclimate not only to the vagaries of her new industry and the disparate tasks that (literally) piled up on her desk. Soon, tales of late nights abounded: around audit time, when preparing for the board, and while working through the annual budget process. Where were those easy hours she dreamt of while enmeshed in public accounting?

The Confident Campus Controller is the guide she wished she had when confronting the labyrinth of higher education’s unique requirements. In this her first book, she explores what it’s like to sit in the Controller’s seat currently and how the position can be made more manageable, strategic and effective. Some of the topics explored: understanding and acclimating to the culture, recognizing the needs of accountants and of those they serve, succession planning, maximizing the chart of accounts, a year end roadmap, and the recommendation of various data analysis tools. Each chapter is full of practical advice and case studies involving stories from the 160+ clients served by CFO Colleague over its ten-year life.

“It’s like she’s inside my brain.”

-Janet Edwards, CPA, Controller at Ashland University

About the Author – Jessica Ryals

As a Partner and Practice Leader for “GapSourcing”, Jessica manages CFO Colleague’s targeted accounting assistance (investments, endowment, fixed assets, financial statement preparation). Prior to her higher education work at Kenyon College (OH), she worked as an analyst for NIB Health Funds, Ltd. (NSW) and as a financial statement auditor for Deloitte (NY).

She earned a Bachelor of Science from Houghton College (NY) and an MBA from Trevecca Nazarene University (TN) Jessica and her husband have four children and live in Mount Vernon, OH.

About CFO Colleague

Founded in 2013, CFO Colleague has served over 160 higher education clients with financial and operational assistance through its network of seasoned professionals. It’s focus is on quantitative analyses and proprietary approaches to budgeting, forecasting and evaluating the financial contribution of departments and programs. The firm also provides guidance in a number of industry specific areas, including dining services and interim CFO leadership.