Education Accounting Services

Our Commitment to Education

Both higher education and K-12 institutions face many challenges – students with greater financial needs; questions about access, affordability, and institutional value; and grave long-term financial sustainability concerns – to name a few. Your institution needs a dedicated team in your corner to advise you and support your efforts as you encounter these challenges. Private education is a core focus of our firm and with more than 40 years of experience and expertise, we are a recognized leader in the industry.

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Southern Adventist University

Higher Education

Doug Frood, Associate Vice President

"Our time with Brown Edwards has been very positive. From a higher education perspective, their June conference is high on our list to attend. The ability to network with other schools and learn from them as well as the speakers that are brought in is fantastic. The audit is very well prepared and the communication between us and them is great. We feel our time with Brown Edwards has been time well spent and has helped us do our jobs better."

Blue Ridge School

K-12 Education

D. Franklin Daniels, Jr. Associate Headmaster for Advancement and Admissions

“While non-profits are different than for-profits, the best non-profits use for-profit planning and wisdom to their advantage. Brown Edwards brings valuable perspective to our School, and is very much a part of the success we are enjoying at Blue Ridge today.”

Why Choose Brown Edwards?

  • Serving the private education industry is a core focus in our firm. For you, this means that we understand your issues, your challenges, and your unique accounting and reporting requirements.
  • We offer you the comprehensive size and scope of a large national firm with a strong emphasis on personal and quality service; plus, you’ll be dealing with seasoned, high level CPAs on your important issues and your audit.
  • Private education industry expertise –  serving a number of small, private education clients within reasonable geographic proximity to you allows Brown Edwards to be a leader in this industry.
  • Quality audits and advice on making your financial statements more transparent and that “tell your story”.
  • Unrivaled benchmarking information included in your audit fee; plus, we don’t just calculate the trends, we provide meaningful counsel regarding how they impact you.
  • An annual State of Private Education article to keep you abreast of what’s happening in the industry; Monthly electronic tax alerts and accounting newsletters specifically geared to private education.
  • A top-notch higher education seminar and other training sessions.

Brown Edwards has a pool of private education specialists who are highly experienced and sensitive to your needs and concerns. Our team members are noted by our clients for their accessibility and hands-on style, as well as the depth of knowledge and capabilities. Ultimately, in professional relationships, people make the difference.

In addition, you know you can expect the following from your Brown Edwards’ team:

  • Accessible and responsive – 24/7 availability with experienced personnel
  • Significant senior level involvement and availability, which is not always a given with many of our competitors
  • Trained to take a practical approach with practical solutions, and to be courteous and professional

Our audit process addresses today’s heightened risks and makes suggestions to alleviate them, which helps to ensure your integrity and reputation. In addition to giving you the compliance value you deserve through an efficient and effective audit, we will deliver the business value you should expect. This philosophy is the cornerstone of the Brown Edwards’ audit approach. You can expect all of the following as a part of your audit by Brown Edwards:

  • Our audits are efficient, thorough, and effective – the epitome of quality
  • Appropriately focused using an “8-hour” risk assessment methodology directed at key controls – budgeting process, restricted contributions, endowment monitoring and oversight, and the financial reporting process
  • Timely communications – formal pre-audit, during the audit process, and formal post-audit
  • State-of-the art approach – full use of the latest technology; paperless
  • Assessment of your information technology risks and controls by an experienced CISA (Certified Information System Auditor)
  • We give you the compliance value but also leverage our in-depth knowledge of the institution to deliver business value
    • Benchmarking comparisons and related high-level counsel, operational advice, and traditional required communications on internal controls
    • Communicated to you in a clear and concise presentation along with other deliverables
  • Our approach addresses today’s heightened awareness of corruption and fraud by identifying risks and making suggestions to alleviate them

Concern over the level of fees for accounting and consulting services is a real issue for every business, particularly with so much pressure on increasing costs. We are highly sensitive to this concern and are committed to ensuring all appropriate actions are taken to maintain fees at reasonable levels. However, we also recognize that fees cannot be compromised for reduced quality. Our goal is always to be fair to the institution and to Brown Edwards – a “win/win situation.”

Services Offered

  • Independent external audit
  • Employee benefit plan/403(b) audit
  • Specialized audits – effectiveness of internal controls, reports of specific operations
  • Accounting advisory – accounting assistance, projections
  • Preparation or review of Form 990 and Form 990T
  • Executive and other compensation-related matters
  • Unrelated business income
  • Assisted clients with the IRS College & University Compliance Project
  • Overall financial statement presentation, disclosure and transparency
  • Utilizing an operating measure
  • Classification of net assets
  • Development of a chart of accounts structure
  • Financial projections with related financial ratio analysis
  • Employee training on all aspects of financial statement elements
  • Accounting and classification of contributions and split-interest agreements
  • Accounting for asset retirement obligations (asbestos removal)
  • Enhancing financial reporting controls related to the closing process
  • Development of audit committee charters, roles and responsibilities and other related policies
  • Conflict of interest, whistleblower and record retention policies
  • Practical ways to meet audit committee responsibilities
  • Development of policies related to executive compensation and Form 990 review
  • Board financial statement training for not-for-profit organizations
  • Development and execution of an internal audit function and programs
  • Strategic business analysis – assess current resources and project future needs
  • Organization structure
  • Financial benchmarking
  • Strategic debt management
  • Accounting for various types of investments including alternative investments
  • Implementation and accounting for the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA)
  • Unitization
  • Endowment spending practices
  • Benchmarking of investment returns
  • Internal control assessments
  • Enterprise risk management (ERM)
  • 401(k) and 403(b) consultation, design and audits

Contact Our Higher Education Team

John C. Hash, CPA

Partner, Practice Leader

John C. Hash, CPA

Partner, Practice Leader

Mark E. Woolwine, CPA

Partner, Practice Leader

Mark E. Woolwine, CPA

Partner, Practice Leader

Leslie F Roberts, CPA

Partner

Leslie F Roberts, CPA

Partner

Valerie R. Ellis, CPA, CGMA

Partner

Valerie R. Ellis, CPA, CGMA

Partner

Contact Our K-12 Education Team

James R. Fries, CPA, MSA

Partner, Practice Leader

James R. Fries, CPA, MSA

Partner, Practice Leader

Melissa Stanley, CPA

Partner, Practice Leader

Melissa Stanley, CPA

Partner, Practice Leader

Ready to Grow Your Business?

Contact us to learn more about our services.