“High-quality talent who can jump in and get the job done....”
Drexel University is a comprehensive research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with assets of $2.0 billion. The university manages three campuses in Philadelphia at University City, Center City and Queen Lane. Drexel has developed a diverse enterprise consisting of annual revenue streams of $1.0 billion from tuition and fees, research and patient care, and auxiliary activities. Drexel educates over 24,000 students per year and employs almost 7,000 people. Drexel has grown to offer over 200 degree programs in 15 schools and colleges, ranging from engineering and business, to law and computer sciences, to medicine and the health professions. Drexel is renowned for its oldest and largest cooperative education program. Drexel’s largest subsidiaries include the Academy of Natural Sciences, which is the oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas; Drexel University Online; and Academic Properties, Inc. These entities, programs and operations must be accurately accounted and reported on to the board of trustees, executive management and constituents by the Office of the Comptroller.
The Office of the Comptroller is made up of four departments: General Accounting, Research Accounting Services, Financial Reporting and Payroll. These departments handle weekly, biweekly and monthly payroll cycles, accounting and reporting on approximately 1,000 active research grants accounting for $120 million in revenues, processing over 9,000 journal entries per year, and reconciling hundreds of bank and balance sheet accounts to ensure accuracy of financial reports. These groups operate largely behind the scenes, but like a theatre stage crew, play an important role.
In the spring of 2017, Associate Vice President and Comptroller Patty Russo found herself in the midst of staffing challenges in key management positions in the General Accounting department. Dealing with staff turnover, the team in General Accounting was in serious need to catch up with their bank reconciliations before the year-end audit. The typical accounting temp agency skill set would not have sufficed. In discussing her dilemma, a colleague who previously worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where Your Part-Time Controller had previously done work, recommended she call YPTC.
YPTC brought in a team of two people who, with minimal training and oversight, reconciled the University’s most complex bank account for the entire fiscal year in less than three months. Russo was impressed. “I’m a CPA, and I can tell you that this was complicated. They dove right in and got it done by the deadline I needed. They operated with minimal supervision and made recommendations for improving the process along the way.”
Even after that immediate project was completed, Russo kept YPTC on board to transfer their knowledge to new management. She then utilized the YPTC team to fill in the management team gaps and assist in screening prospective new employees, including administering YPTC’s proprietary basic accounting skills test to prospective candidates. Further, YPTC personnel acted as front-line managers, providing direction to the accounting team and assisting with questions and building templates for reconciliations. “We took YPTC in a number of different directions. It was nice to have that flexibility,” she says. “Having them as a resource gives you comfort.
“It worked out wonderfully,” she adds. “It’s good to know that if a situation like this ever comes up again, I would have high-quality talent who can jump in and get the job done.”
Russo appreciates the level of expertise that YPTC brings to a job. “These are highly skilled people,” she says. “When you hire Your Part-Time Controller, y ou’re getting the quality you’re paying for.”