Education

As accountants for higher education, we help advance our clients’ missions

In addition to their core purpose, education institutions are faced with complex financial issues, including government funding, development of non-tuition and non-traditional tuition revenue streams, alternative investments, financial aid and endowments. Depending on how well these accounting for higher education and other business issues are addressed, they can either contribute to or prohibit an institution’s long-term growth and success.

Whether you are a public or private college or university, community college, technical school, private K-12 school or related educational foundation, Cherry Bekaert offers significant experience in accounting for higher education and secondary education clients, beginning with the areas of financial and tax compliance, including:

Specialized Consulting for Advancement and Growth

Cherry Bekaert offers a wide range of specialized services designed to enhance profitability, reduce expenses and meet long-term business goals. Our accountants for higher education and secondary education are experienced in helping clients in such areas as:

  • Identifying unrelated business income exposure in advertising and sponsorship, use/rental of recreational facilities, bookstore sales, laboratory testing/research and joint venture activities.
  • Payroll taxation, including consultation in areas such as presidential and faculty housing; scholarship and fellowship payments; qualified tuition reductions and income tax withholding reporting on payments to nonresident aliens; taxability of commonly-offered fringe benefits such as cell phones, automobiles, professional dues, club memberships and travel; and entertainment.
  • Work classification as it relates to the determination of appropriate employee/independent contractor status to eliminate penalties and lawsuits.
  • Strategic financial analysis, including benchmarking and ratio analysis of liquidity and expendable resources; asset and debt management; and operating results.
  • IRS examination guidance in the event your institution is audited as a result of the 2008 questionnaire distributed to 400 public and private schools. Since the reporting of losses is common on Form 990-T, the IRS has been targeting expense allocations.  Cherry Bekaert can help with these situations, as well as conduct mock exams to identify potential tax exposure.
  • Risk management services, as sweeping reforms in financial reporting, regulatory compliance and Institute of Internal Audit (IIA) requirements have increased the strategic importance of a solid internal audit function and the role that function plays in the overall assessment of entity-wide risk.
  • Compensation & Benefits specialists can help identify areas of financial, legal, tax and regulatory risk in these obligations while maintaining the primary goal of promoting superior employee and contractor performance that results in a competitive edge.
  • Regulatory and recordkeeping requirements relating to tax-exempt bond compliance.  With the increased enforcement initiatives regarding facilities financed with tax-exempt bonds, a borrower may unknowingly jeopardize the tax-exempt status of its bonds by not keeping up with the recent changes.
  • International tax matters for universities, as global initiatives can involve substantial investments and risks. Cherry Bekaert can assist educational institutions in mitigating such risks involved with the organizational, operational and compliance aspects related to international activities.
  • Navigating the complexities of charitable giving. The income, estate and gift tax rules surrounding donor gifts can be complex and administratively time-consuming for many institutions. Our tax specialists help ensure compliance with all aspects of charitable giving and planning strategies, including the appropriate taxability and reporting of charitable contributions from donors.