Higher Education Consulting

Tondeé Lutterman

National Industry Partner
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Higher Education Surveys

Higher education institutions have unique needs, from financial and resource management to endowment performance and capital expenditures. Our higher education advisors can help review your organization’s policies and procedures to identify potential tax risks, potential performance and efficiency improvements and cost/benefit analyses.

BKD provides a variety of college and university accounting services, including audit, tax and consulting, to public and private colleges and universities nationwide. The experienced and dedicated members of BKD National Higher Education Group can provide the right resources to help meet your needs.

Financial Management

Our strategic planning solutions help demonstrate accountability. We can help:

  • Develop policies and procedures
  • Produce meaningful financial statements and management reports
  • Assist with internal audits
  • Implement governance best practices
  • Strengthen internal controls
  • Improve use of restricted resources
  • Provide benchmarking comparisons
  • Explore financing alternatives
  • Perform management reviews
  • Provide athletic department investigations
  • Conduct performance audits

Tax Risks

BKD provides a wide variety of tax compliance and advisory services to help higher education institutions manage risk. We can help:

  • Perform diagnostic reviews in a variety of areas, including fringe benefits, joint ventures, unrelated business income tax, retirement plans, executive compensation and mock IRS exams
  • Complete tax exemption applications, private letter ruling requests and assist with IRS/state examinations
  • Prepare and/or review tax returns, including offering training and other assistance
  • Analyze key tax issues and provide benchmarking information from Form 990 or 990-PF
  • Assess international tax needs for foreign operations, investments or payroll

To learn more, visit our tax-exempt services page.

Contribution Margin Analysis

BKD’s Interactive Margin Analysis Tool provides a visual analysis of the financial contribution and margin at various levels of detail—school, department, major, class, faculty member, etc.—for your institution.

Financial Modeling

This tool allows you to model the effect of your potential decisions over a five-year period. With the aid of sophisticated modeling tools developed by our experienced higher education professionals, we can help you see the long-term effects of those decisions. Learn more.

Resource Management

To improve the use of limited resources, institutions should evaluate the profitability of existing programs, efficiency of operations and alternative revenue sources. We can help:

  • Develop cost allocation plans to accurately capture program costs
  • Analyze and forecast cash flows
  • Perform feasibility studies and financial projections
  • Develop budgets and business plans aligned with strategic priorities
  • Perform reviews of operational staffing organizational structure, information flow and procedures to improve efficiencies
  • Evaluate outsourcing options

Student Financial Aid Assistance

We can assist in evaluating the costs and benefits of tuition discounting and develop an effective student financial aid program to recruit and retain students. We can help:

  • Perform tuition discounting benchmarking studies
  • Consider ways to capture program costs and evaluate the effects of discounting
  • Evaluate existing policies and procedures and recommend improvements
  • Improve use of endowed scholarship funds
  • Comply with federal programs

Capital Expenditures

Capital projects frequently require complex financing arrangements that must bridge the timing of receipt of capital pledges. We can help:

  • Evaluate financing alternatives for capital projects and joint ventures
  • Structure tax-exempt bond offerings and lender terms and conditions
  • Analyze the impact of debt covenants
  • Prepare capital budgets
  • Provide technology planning, implementation and support through BKD Technologies
  • Audit your information technology department
  • Audit construction projects

Endowment Performance

Fluctuations in market value can have a dramatic effect on operations and development efforts. We can help:

  • Manage endowment and gift assets and investment policy development, including goal assessment and asset allocation
  • Measure investment performance through BKD Wealth Advisors, LLC, an investment advisory firm registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Administer gifts to comply with donor restrictions
  • Enhance development efforts by structuring a comprehensive development plan, including gift acceptance policies and deferred-giving arrangements
  • Evaluate spending-rate policies

Higher Education Thoughtware

Butler University

“I knew BKD had a focus in organizations like us and felt that we could benefit from their industry experience and technical knowledge. Having an audit can be a necessary evil. If that’s all you get, you’re not getting much value. A lot of firms can do an audit, but BKD brings value.”

— Bruce Arick, Vice President
Butler University
Indianapolis, Indiana

Valparaiso University

“With BKD we receive much more focused attention on our audit. With our former Big Four auditor we felt they were tying up a lot of loose ends on other clients’ work. BKD was focused on us and got in and out fast.”

— Dianne M. Woods, Controller
Valparaiso University
Valparaiso, Indiana

Trinity International University

"Our relationship with BKD has been excellent. We've enjoyed a consistent team of advisors from year to year who have been very responsive to our needs. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend BKD."

— Paul Eisenmenger, Controller
Trinity International University
Deerfield, Illinois

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