The Composite Financial Index: Gauging Your School’s Financial Health

Senior Leaders Seminar

The Composite Financial Index: Analyzing and Communicating School Financial Health

The Composite Financial Index (CFI) is a sophisticated tool employed by higher education institutions for decades, designed to help you think strategically about your school's overall financial health and communicate succinctly about it with school leaders. In this seminar, you will learn how to produce a more complete picture of your institution's financial strengths and weaknesses using four core ratios:

  • Primary reserve ratio – a measure of financial flexibility

  • Net operating revenues ratio – a measure of operating performance

  • Return on net assets ratio – a measure of overall asset return and performance

  • Viability ratio – a measure of ability to cover debt with available resources

This seminar will take you beyond learning the conceptual framework of the CFI and empower you to complete the CFI for your school. You will:

  • Gain understanding of the CFI as an analytic tool

  • Complete the CFI using your school's financial statements

  • Interpret the results of your CFI and understand related implications

  • Learn how to leverage your CFI results as a succinct, yet powerful communications tool for complex financial information to be shared with senior leadership at your school

  • Apply your CFI score over an extended period to provide a more stable long-term view of your school's financial performance

Please note: Attendees (one from each school) will be sent a calculation template in advance and asked to familiarize themselves with the data points requested. Attendees should also gather their past audits (soft copies are fine) to bring to the seminar so they have five fiscal years’ worth of data. Please bring all parts of the audit, including the footnotes and disclosures.

Used for decades in higher education and endorsed by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the CFI has significant practical application to independent schools. This version of the CFI is the result of an important partnership between NBOA and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Featured Speakers

Phil Tahey

Phil Tahey, CPA, Owner, P Tahey CPA

Phil Tahey is an independent consultant with over 35 years of experience in the not-for-profit community, especially serving higher education institutions. He has served this community in various roles, including consultant, auditor, and Controller at Johns Hopkins University. Phil is also co-author of several editions of Strategic Financial Analysis in Higher Education, which is the source publication for the Composite Financial Index (CFI). Phil has also served Pre-K to 12 private schools as Board Member, Finance Committee member or Financial Advisor.

Tom Gorman

Tom Gorman, CPA, Chief Operating Officer, Westover School

During his nearly 28 year career as an auditor, Tom worked with a variety of educational, non-profit and governmental entities. He made the transition from public accounting to private industry in 2016 and now serves as the chief operating officer at Westover School in Middlebury, CT. In this capacity, he oversees the finance, accounting, investment management, facilities and information technology needs of the School. In presentations to audit committees, boards, and others, Tom has applied the concepts of ratio analysis to help constituents look at their financial condition in a new way. Most recently, he has incorporated ratio analysis into a board-level snapshot for his trustees. Key financial and operating metrics are now used to measure progress in attaining measurable results. Combined with the development of 5-year financial and cash flow models, the dashboard and financial ratios are used to set goals and measure success in attaining them.

Additional Speakers

  • Jennifer Hillen, CPA, CGMA, Vice President, Professional Development and Business Affairs, NBOA
  • Mary Kay Markunas, Director, Research and Member Resources, NBOA


Sunday, March 3

  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


  • 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm


  • 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm


Seminar Registration

Categories Member Nonmember
Full Registration $195 $285

CPE Credit

Field of Study: Finance
Delivery Method: Group Live
Advanced Preparation: Become familiarized with CFI components in data template that will be provided. Bring five years’ of audited financial statements and footnotes.

Program Level: Basic
Prerequisites: None
Recommended CPE Credits: 3.5

NBOA is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:


HRCI Credit

Recommended HRCI Credits: 3.0

HRCI Category: Business

NBOA is a recognized provider of recertification credits. This program has met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be pre-approved for credit towards aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification.


SHRM Credit

SHRM PDC Credit: 3.0

SHRM BoCK: Leadership and Navigation

NBOA is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). This program has met SHRM's criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit