On paper, Concordia’s second quarter results, which project a balanced budget for 2009-2010, suggest that the university’s finances are quite healthy. But the positive results should not be interpreted to mean that the university is immune to financial challenges, Patrick Kelley, interim chief financial officer, warned in a document prepared for the Feb. 4 Board of Governors meeting.
The projected results for 2009-2010, according to the second quarter results ending Nov. 30, 2009, indicate a balanced budget 8212; a far cry from the deficit of $4.2 million that was projected when the year’s budget was adopted by the Board in June 2009.
The first quarter results, presented to the Board in December, indicated a projected deficit of $920,000.
Starting this year, at the urging of the Board, the university’s finances are being reported on a quarterly basis and will lead up to the annual report.
The variances from previous projected results are attributed to an increase in enrolment and retention of students, and improving cost control, Kelley said in the document.
The second quarter annual projection is based on actual enrolments for the summer and fall 2009 semesters.
Despite the positive outlook, this and the next financial years will present the university with “significant and difficult challenges,” the financial officer cautioned.
Some of these challenges will come from new standardized guidelines and accounting policies that all Quebec universities must adhere to.
One such policy comes from the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, which came into effect for Quebec universities this year. In accordance with these guidelines, Concordia must manage its pension program differently than in the past. Whereas the pension fund was previously only responsible for paying out to retiring or sick beneficiaries, the university is now financially liable for keeping the fund at a certain level.
“Given our projected results, we expect to be in a better position than in the past few years to begin addressing these financial matters,” Kelley said.
At the December board meeting, the university’s controller, Nathalie Laporte, said that the final results for 2008-2009 showed a small surplus of $9,695.