Beyond the Numbers: CCBO Conference Recap

Dan Graves, CPA, Partner with Weaver Risk Advisory Services, and Rebecca Goldstein, CPS, Partner with Weaver’s Assurance Services Team, returned from the recently held 2021 CCBO (Community College Business Officers), where they gave a joint presentation on grant compliance. They shared their experiences and insights from the conference with Adam Jones, Weaver’s State Government Practice Leader.

“The presentation Dan and I gave went through the whole gamut of the grant lifecycle,” Goldstein explained. “We started with what does the grant cycle look like, and emphasizing, ‘you need to think about compliance, not just at the beginning or end, but throughout the grant lifecycle.’”

There are many new fund streams available for community colleges due to COVID relief packages, therefore, Goldstein and Graves discussed the importance of understanding what funding is available and the compliance rules involved.

“One of the things that a lot of questions and a lot of topics about the conference were about the HEERF and CARES funding,” Graves said. “The COVID relief funding was a huge topic throughout the conference, and with those dollars comes a lot of special new purchases and new things that colleges and universities typically haven’t spent money on with grant funds.” One challenge for educators is to ensure they have the appropriate internal controls and reporting in place so that whatever funds they spend are valid expenditures.

Another hot topic at the conference was the emergence of data and making data-driven decisions. “That encompasses anything from registration to a lot of the initiatives that the federal government is using federal funds to make sure they achieve educational outcomes,” Graves said. “They’re using data-driven decisions through the enrollment process and the registration process.” On the operational side, artificial intelligence helps generate automated workflows and better communication with students.

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