The Pathway School
"They have what it takes…."
The Pathway School is a nonprofit private school in Montgomery County, Penna., which, when it was founded in 1961, was among the very few schools in the greater Philadelphia area designed exclusively for the learning-disabled child. Today, The Pathway School unifies the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and social work with education to serve 180 students aged 5 to 21 with autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, serious emotional disturbances, and other neurological impairments. The school has grown dramatically over the years and its 12-acre campus today supports a growing enrollment and a staff of 120 employees. The Pathway School has solidified its reputation as a leader in innovative, quality programs and services for those who need a specialized education. Throughout all of its growth, the school’s mission has remained the same: to build academic, social and life skills in students with special needs to promote their success and independence after Pathway.
When Les Gallagher, CPA, was hired as the CFO position in 2016 certain processes needed to be changed dramatically including account reconciliations, monthly closing, budget versus actual analysis, and receivable collection. Plus, a complete campus renovation was also getting under way. The previous CFO, who had been with the school for 33 years, was supposed to stay on for a while to help guide the transition but he decided to leave. The controller, who had been at the school for six years, left due to personal reasons. That left just Gallagher and a clerk to handle all of the accounting for a $12 million organization. “I was new on the job and I needed help,” he recalls. “I was barely keeping it together.”
There were several false starts: Gallagher’s background includes the financial professionals staffing industry, so he brought in several contractors and temporary employees, none of whom worked out. Meanwhile, the audit was coming up.
Gallagher was familiar with Your Part-Time Controller – having applied to work at YPTC many years previously – and brought in two YPTC associates. They got through the audit and over a period of five months implemented the redesigned processes.
Gallagher appreciates the way YPTC’s personnel systematized the books. “We can get information now any time we want it. The Board likes that we’re providing accurate and timely information. We can close the books in three days and receivables are less than one month outstanding,” he says. “If I hadn’t had YPTC around there’s no way I could have undertaken the campus renovation project management: the day-to-day manual processes would have overwhelmed me.”
“They have what it takes,” he says about YPTC’s people. “You give them a job and you know that they’ve got it. I don’t have to follow up with them because I know it’s done right the first time. Their quality control was a huge help to me.”