Firm News

Cherry Bekaert and Pilbara Join Forces to Assist Universities with Data Driven Insights

November 17, 2022

During a time when colleges and universities are facing declining enrollment, decreased state funding and increased program expenses due to inflation, never has it been more important for higher education to embrace cost and revenue management analytics capability.

Cherry Bekaert, a proven leader at helping institutions make better decisions through data driven insights, will augment its digital offerings through an agreement to resell software developed by the Pilbara Group with locations in Brisbane, Australia and Jacksonville, Fla.

Pilbara’s cloud-based platform, Pilbara Insights, delivers highly-automated, data driven models for current and future operations. The platforms can link large amounts of data from major, commonly-available datasets to build and configure custom models, including activity-based cost, predictive, and benchmarking, for intelligent, executive decision-making.

“We are proud to become a reseller of Pilbara’s cloud-based platform, which provides valuable insight to colleges and universities seeking a firm understanding of their cost and revenue drivers,” said Bob Misch, a Cherry Bekaert Partner and leader of its Digital Transformation Services practice. “A well-constructed cost and revenue management model provides a single source of truth and will help institutions make well-informed economic decisions.”

Lea Patterson, President and CEO at Pilbara, said, “Over the last 16 years, the use of models has grown throughout the United States, Australia and Canada. Our cost models yield the financial visibility and analysis necessary to support rapid, executive decision-making. With a complete, transparent view into institutional costs and profitability, colleges and universities can remain viable and deliver high quality, affordable education.”

A well-defined model examines tuition and fee revenue, student data, human resources data pertaining to salaries and fringe benefits and the total cost of operations and maintenance, including facilities and administration.

Cherry Bekaert starts with a scoping study that allows us to balance requirements against available data to ensure that institutional expectations and needs are met. After developing a model, Cherry Bekaert works with the institution to validate and refine the methodology and assumptions used in the initial model development. Once the model, and its analytics output, are validated, the institution uses the data to uncover valuable insights and formulate better decisions.

“Every institution is unique, with different cultures, objectives, needs, systems, and the data that accompanies them. As such, our approach is designed to help institutions with cost and revenue management wherever they are on their journey and develop solutions that are appropriately scoped and cost effective,” Misch said.

For more information about Pilbara’s software capabilities and how your institution can get started on the data journey, please contact Bob Misch or your Cherry Bekaert advisor.