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CFO Perspectives

CFO Perspectives is a series of white papers that examines at role of the CFO within different institutional or operational settings. Each white paper, available free from NACUBO and released periodically during 2012, NACUBO's 50th anniversary year, focuses on the unique demands of a particular type of institution and how to manage strategy and business operations within that distinctive context.

Written by authors with extensive experience in financial operations, the white papers offer insights that may prove especially helpful to new CFOs or board members, presidents, senior administrators, faculty, and staff.

To learn more about CFO Perspectives or for submission guidelines email


NACUBO would like to offer a special thank you to Michael Townsley for his contributions in developing publications for the business office. We recognize his leadership and vision in bringing about this collection of articles that cover key topics and issues that will resonate with NACUBO members for years to come.

Cover Jessell


The Large Public University
By Kenneth A. Jessell, PhD.

Jessell provides invaluable, first-hand insights into the highly visible position of the CFO at a large public university. He explains the pivotal role that CFO’s play and provides “rules of thumb” for colleagues to follow. Readers walkaway with tools, tips and resources to help them better understand the many processes, relationships and requirements CFOs at a large public institution face. Read more.

Cover DeColfmacker


The For-Profit Institution
By Robert DeColfmacker

DeColfmacker gives a straightforward look into the CFO’s role at a For-Profit Institution. Readers are immediately put at ease with his forthcoming tone, analysis, and resources. The tools provides (while specific to For-Profit institutions) will surely be invaluable to CFOs no matter the institution type. Read more.

Cover Husson


Online Education Programs
By William J. Husson, Ph.D.

Husson provides readers a close examination of the role of a CFO in the development of online educational programs. He explains that by playing an integral role in planning, financing, and budgeting for online programs, CFOs naturally understand the programs’ cost structure, cash requirements, and debt expectations. Read more.

Cover Rhine


The Private Commuter College
By Thomas E. Rhine, CPA, CGMA

Explore how to maintain financial stability and learn new tips to implement operating principles at a Private Commuter College.
Rhine provides colleagues a deep-dive nto the issues a CFO faces at this rare institution type. Read more.



The Faith-Based Institution: A Case Study
By Michael J. Lochhead

Carefully outlined, Lochhead offers colleagues a case study exploring decisions regarding resource allocation, strategic planning and leadership. A typical institution simply uses its mission as a touchstone in those decisions, but as Lochhead explains, faith-based institutions must consider their religious, intellectual traditions and tenets as well.  Read more.



The Financially Stressed Institution
By Tyler A. Kelsch

Thoughtfully presented, Kelsch provides colleagues tips and insights into managing a financially stressed institution. He emphasizes the importance of developing a comprehensive analysis which must include a realistic financial goal, rigorous plan of action, working with the chief academic officer and president and communicating the new direction consistently. Read more.



The Community College
By Alison Baker

Baker offers readers an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the higher degree of hands-on involvement that characterizes a chief financial officer (CFO) at a community college. Her astute outlook explores how the CFO must be adept at every facet of finance and administration, including risk management, emergency preparedness, and management of capital projects. Read more.



The Large, Private Teaching University
By Brian G. Gutierrez

Gutierrez provides a “deep-dive” into the opportunities and challenges a CFO at a large private institution might face. In addition to strategy development, he offers four unique attributes a CFO must recognize and the constraints these attributes may place on revenues and expenditures. Read more.



The Small Private College
By Dr. Thomas R. Kepple, Jr.

Kepple's insightful article examines the opportunities and challenges the CFO at a small institution might face. Readers will gain a sneak peek at the relationships and critical focus areas that are not traditionally part of the CFO's position at a larger institution. Read more.