ABA SUMMER: FULL SPEED AHEAD
At Sacramento State, a different environment emerges when the academic year comes to a close, and faculty and students take off for destinations unknown. But as the academic pace slows down, ABA is operating at full speed to support the University’s summer calendar of events and tackle some of the year’s most demanding work.
This year, the campus is host to nine large-scale events for such noteworthy organizations as the 2011 World Master’s Track & Field Championships, California Boys State, and the United Football League (UFL). Over 15 youth programs can be found on campus, including Academic Talent Search, the CAMP Summer Leadership Institute, Eppie’s Great Race Kids Duathlon, and a variety of other academic and sports camps. These activities supplement the University’s standard seasonal line-up, which includes Summer Session and Summer Bridge, Athletics, intramural sports, and orientation, as well as with testing, seminars, conferences, workshops and rehearsals. For ABA, this means the full range of support, from coordination and preparation of facilities to the provision of insurance, safety, billing and parking services.
While ABA is busy supporting University’s summer program, special events and visitors, some of the division’s key financial processes reach their peak. Among the most critical are the year-end closing of financial records, and development of the budget for the new fiscal year. A 22-page calendar of deadlines outlines the year-end schedule, from purchasing deadlines beginning in mid-March to final reports due mid-July. The deadline call yields a substantial volume of transactions and "catch up" activities, impacting business and financial staff significantly throughout the fourth quarter. Lots of follow-up, trouble-shooting and analysis takes place to ensure that no pending accruals or open requisitions remain on the books and that invoices have been issued and collections cleared for the year, "with 100 percent accuracy." This means "all hands on deck" from the last week in June to July 15, when reports are submitted in preparation for late summer audits.
Concurrently, from June through August, the GAAP Report1 detailing the University’s financial balances is in process and financial data and adjustment entries are converted to GASB2 standards for over 100 different schedules. Around the same time, final data is gathered to formulate the new fiscal year budget projections for the FIRMS3 report required by the Chancellor’s Office. Work must be completed to meet these and many other regulatory deadlines, regardless of the season. In fact, numerous inspections, audits, audit reports and compliance training have been conducted or are planned throughout the summer.
While ABA’s focus during the academic year is on services to students and faculty, summer conditions are favorable for construction and special repairs. Work is more efficient when use of facilities, roadways, parking areas and walkways is minimal. This summer’s major projects include: remodel of sixteen classrooms with smart technology features to better meet today’s student learning styles; replacement of Yosemite Hall’s gym floor with modern, durable materials; the first phase remodel to repurpose the former Student Health Center for its new residents, Athletics; resurfacing, reconfiguration, striping and seal coating of parking lots and structures; and preparations for the fall semester and winter weather conditions, as well as routine facilities maintenance. Many operational improvements are implemented and trainings are conducted during this time to ensure more welcoming campus for students when they return in the fall.
Safety improvements are emphasized this summer, as the campus continues to conduct safety audits and repair trip hazards on roads and pathways around the Esplanade and State University Drive. As part of the University’s Safety & Security Study, replacement of walkway lighting has begun on heavily trafficked pathways between the residence halls, the library, and the WELL. Aside from safety enhancement for students during evening hours, the new energy efficient lighting signifies the University’s commitment to sustainability. The lighting project is just one aspect of the more comprehensive review taking place to identify safety measures for implementation. A project to augment and relocate bicycle storage and reinforce security is underway, with a goal for “zero” bike thefts come fall.
Over the past several years, ABA has increased its presence at summer freshman orientations, to help students navigate services with ease, and share tips to promote a safe and successful college experience. At these events, ABA issues OneCards and parking permits, presents tutorials on personal safety, provides coaching to promote financial literacy through the Your Money Matters Program, and provides other useful information to help students succeed.
ABA employees understand that, while summer may be a time for rest and relaxation, there is still much to be accomplished. Each office faces unique challenges managing workloads and meeting tight year-end deadlines. All the same, ABA staff members carve out time for seasonal activities with friends and family. (Read the Roving Reporter to learn more about some of the exciting plans in the works for ABA employees this summer.) The summer months fly by fast, and ABA is ready to meet the needs of the campus to ensure the coming academic semester is successful.
1 GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, refers to the standard framework of guidelines followed for financial accounting in the preparation of financial statements.
2 GASB, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, is the independent organization that establishes and improves standards of accounting and financial reporting for U.S. state and local governments.