Vice President of Finance and Treasurer
Simmons University in Boston invites nominations and applications for the position of Vice President of Finance and Treasurer (VP). The University seeks an experienced financial leader, with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion who is strategic, creative, bold, resilient, and collegial to contribute to overall institutional strategy and operations. Simmons President Helen Drinan seeks a strong VP to join a forward-thinking and energetic senior team to provide the financial focus for the goals inherent in "Redesigning Simmons: The Strategy for 2022." Among the specific responsibilities are Financial Planning, Budgeting and Analysis; Financial Reporting; Treasury Management; and Audit Management. Overseeing these areas and reporting to the Vice President of Finance are three key managers: Assistant Vice President, Budget & Revenue; Director, Purchasing & Procurement; and Controller.
Strategic Investments: Simmons's Financial Profile
In fiscal year 2018, Simmons University generated total operating revenue of $191.2 million, an increase of 5.6% over fiscal year 2017. While undergraduate and graduate tuition and fees comprise the majority of gross tuition dollars, as a result of the University's strategic investment in graduate online programs in partnership with 2U, there continues to be strong growth in aggregate tuition revenue. For fiscal year 2018, operating income was $1.3 million; including non-operating revenues/expenses; the total change in net assets for the year was $8.1 million.
At fiscal year-end 2018, total assets were $434.4 million and total liabilities were $192.1 million, with net assets at $242.3 million. Total investments were $195.4 million on June 30, 2018. In the 10-year period from FY 2009 to FY 2018, operating revenues grew from $115.4 million to $191.2 million and net assets grew from $172.4 million to $242.3 million. The University's current public debt ratings continue to be stable at Baa1 (stable) by Moody's and BBB+ (stable) by Standard & Poor's.
Leadership Opportunities and Responsibilities
As a member of the senior leadership team led by President Helen Drinan, the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer will participate in attaining the goals set out in the strategic plan. In this era of challenges to higher education, the VP will be expected to provide creative, effective leadership that results in financial stability driven by strong academic programs, sound financial management, and effective enrollment management and retention. The Vice President for Finance and Treasurer will be expected to join the leadership of the University in continuing to advance the six key priorities of the Strategic Plan "Redesigning Simmons: The Strategy for 2022."
The Vice President of Finance and Treasurer will work with the University community and other members of the leadership team to provide financial support concerning the allocation of resources to effectively address key issues, including new program development, enrollment trends, and establishment of new revenue streams, and to nurture and enhance the community's commitment to an inclusive environment.
Key Relationships and Collaborations
To advance the mission, vision and goals of Simmons University, the Vice President will work collaboratively and strategically with senior leaders, including the President, the Provost, the Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, the Senior Vice President of Organizational Culture, Inclusion and Equity (OCIE), the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, the Chief of Staff, and the Deans.
Key Functional Areas
Key functional areas of responsibility for the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer role include the following:
- Financial Analysis and Planning
- Advise the President on all financial matters with clarity and transparency;
- Develop, in conjunction with the President, short- and long-term strategic financial plans considering operational cash flow and balance sheet/capital structure objectives; monitor progress against plan over time;
- Interface with all levels of University leadership to understand and manage key drivers of business model, including enrollment, philanthropy, reinvestment needs and diversity and inclusion initiatives;
- Oversee development and approval of annual operating and capital budgets, and monitor performance against budget; work with senior leaders to ensure effective and efficient allocation of University resources to meet programmatic objectives;
- Oversee preparation and presentation of all board/committee financial reports and analyses that accurately reflect and communicate the University's financial position;
- Develop appropriate "dashboard" reports to regularly update the President and University senior leadership on key financial metrics.
- Financial Reporting/Audit/Compliance
- Oversee accounting function, including all accounting operations, timely and transparent financial reporting, and advising the President on all accounting matters.
- Ensure that periodic financial reports are innovative and accurately measuring the financial strength of the University in a variety of ways; show performance against prior year period and performance against budget; demonstrate strategic cost management and show variances from operating/capital budget projections are analyzed, explained and addressed as required.
- Provide leadership and oversight of the annual external financial statement preparation and audit process; act as liaison with University's external auditors.
- Oversee other external compliance (tax, grants, etc.).
- Ensure that strong internal controls are implemented and maintained, including regularly reviewing and updating appropriate internal financial policies, and communicating to the responsible parties.
- Supervise the retention of financial records and information; regularly review technology/systems needs of the Finance Department.
- Debt and Treasury Management
- Regular oversight of all University financial operations, including review of daily payments and receipts and University working capital cash position/short-term investments.
- Coordinate access to credit markets as required to maintain adequate bank credit lines, refinance existing debt, and fund budgeted new capital projects. Maintain relationships with external constituencies, including banks, rating agencies, issuing authorities, external debt consultants, legal counsel(s) as related to financing/credit activity. Communicate University financial/credit profile information to credit providers and investors.
- Monitor compliance with all debt covenants, ensuring that required reporting to banks, rating agencies and investors is completed on a timely basis.
- Participate, as required, in the negotiation of major contracts for services, lease of property or facilities, major construction and renovation projects with diverse vendors, sale or purchase of real estate, and other key transactions relevant to the fiscal status of the University.
- Finance Leadership and Team Development
- Assess the Finance Department team organizational structure; develop the team to ensure requisite functional knowledge and capacity to carry out the responsibilities of the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, as noted here, effectively and efficiently.
- Foster an environment of teamwork, shared mission, inclusion, trust and collegiality, both within the financial management team and in all University collaboration.
- Represent Simmons and the Finance Department on internal University committees and externally with governmental, civic, educational and professional organizations.
- Advance the University's ongoing commitment to a diverse workforce and to professional development for all members of the community.
- Communicate financial planning and budgeting to a diverse community involving undergraduate, graduate and online populations.
Desired Qualifications and Attributes
To provide the leadership required in this position, the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer should demonstrate a combination of personal qualities and relevant professional experience. The Vice President should possess a high level of integrity, transparency, energy, a passionate desire to lead, a commitment to continuous improvement, cultural intelligence and a willingness to embrace and overcome challenges and advance the University through a close and collaborative working relationship with the President, other members of the senior leadership team, and colleagues across the University.
The ideal candidate will possess expertise in financial management, accounting, strategic planning, budgeting, internal controls, and regulatory compliance in the nonprofit sector. Additionally, this candidate will understand the challenges and opportunities in a higher education environment including enrollment management, net tuition revenue, stewardship of athletic resources, and financial aid.
Simmons University is seeking a candidate who is committed to and who shares the University's values of diversity, equity, access and inclusion. In addition, the successful candidate will be an innovative, creative leader who thinks strategically and works effectively with all sectors of the university including the senior leadership team, staff, faculty and board and will possess a collaborative, inclusive, and collegial leadership style; personal integrity; positive moral values; demonstrated good judgment; intellectual curiosity; resilience; energy; a good sense of humor; and a commitment to the mission of Simmons University.
Among the qualifications and attributes this individual will possess are the following:
- A Bachelor's degree in Finance, Accounting, Business Administration, or a related field, with a Master's degree preferred;
- A minimum of 10 years of progressive financial and administrative leadership in a higher education, hospital, or non-profit environment preferred;
- CPA certification preferred;
- Demonstrated success in: building and managing diverse, high-performing teams; developing and retaining talented and culturally diverse staff; creating and supporting a community of students, faculty and staff committed to collaboration, teamwork, equity and inclusion, cultural intelligence and effective communication.
- Experience in managing all aspects of the finances of the university with an ability to think creatively in managing debt; work effectively with issues of financial aid; assist Advancement in managing endowed funds; and provide appropriate support and assistance to the Finance, Investment and Audit Committees of the Board of Trustees;
- Ability to work collaboratively and in a transparent manner with stakeholders across the organization to ensure processes and procedures are clear, consistent, creative, efficient, effective, and aligned with organizational values and objectives;
- Experience leading through influence and persuasion, building consensus with multiple constituencies with diverse backgrounds and establishing credibility at all levels (board members, faculty, staff, students);
- Experience working with external partners to identify mutually beneficial partnerships and a commitment to advancing partnerships with leadership from underrepresented groups;
- Experience managing existing resources and identifying new revenue streams to advance an organization's goals.
Procedure for Candidacy
Inquiries, nominations, and applications are all welcome. Consistent with the University's goals to achieve diversity at all levels of university leadership, Simmons encourages nominations and applications from individuals in traditionally underrepresented groups and those dedicated to building a culture of inclusive excellence at Simmons.
The University values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, ancestry, class, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identify and expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other status protected by law.
Review of applications will begin immediately. Candidates should provide, as three separate documents, a resume, names of five professional references with email and telephone numbers (references will not be contacted without prior authorization from the applicant), and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the Leadership Statement and evidence of how the applicant has demonstrated a commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in their career. Applications and nominations should be sent electronically (MS Word preferred) to:
The search is being assisted by:
MELISSA K. TROTTA, ED.D.
Associate Managing Principal
OSCAR C. PAGE, PH.D.
Executive Search Committee
Laura Brink Pisinski, Chair
Chief of Staff
Joan Martinez Cuerva
Director of Facilities
Professor of Nutrition
Major Gifts Officer, Advancement
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Assistant Vice President, Advancement Operations
Assistant Professor, School of Business