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Vice President for Finance

  • Developing a communications platform—VPF has created the position of senior director to support stronger external connections, community relations, customer service, training, and business process design.

We have welcomed a number of key new staff members to the VPF organization. Many others have accepted new roles and are contributing in substantial new ways.

With these changes, VPF has renewed its commitment to delivering the highest quality service to our faculty, staff, and students. We have better positioned ourselves to provide smooth systems, streamlined processes, and clear policies that will facilitate the work of administrators across the Institute.

Fiscal Year 2008 General Highlights

Continuing our strong commitment to a more sustainable model of support, the VPF, through its Budget, Finance & Treasury office, has promoted and implemented “rebalancing,” which allows DLCs a greater distribution from endowment while simultaneously relieving the General Institute Budget (GIB) of financial pressures. This new framework guided the formulation of a balanced GIB for FY2009, moving from a $30M budget gap in FY2008 to a projected surplus in FY2009, which will give the Institute the financial flexibility it needs to incorporate strategic programmatic and capital priorities in FY2009 and beyond, plus small surpluses for funding future initiatives. This strategy is important for the Institute as it helps ensure short-term financial well-being as well as long-term growth and strength.

Regarding debt strategy, VPF launched a considerable effort to analyze, document, and recommend improvements to the Institute’s integrated debt management and capital structure framework. This included a detailed study of municipal bond markets, the credit rating process, and the concepts of debt capacity and debt affordability during a period of considerable market tumult and concern about budget volatility.

Although providing a significant and sustainable flow of funds to the operating budget in the short term and maintaining the purchasing power of the endowment over the long term are fundamental goals for the financial health of the Institute, VPF has made significant strides in other areas as well. The Accounting Services and Controller’s office started providing accounting support to the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) operation, MIT’s first overseas subsidiary, and it enhanced the collaboration with Lincoln Laboratory to leverage the eCAT3 portal and contracts; Procurement improved the front-end and back-end procurement processes, further reducing paper handling; the Travel Office released an improved travel policy to the MIT Community; and the Insurance Office saw a drop of over 18 percent in both payments and claims incurred in Workers’ Compensation.

VPF has begun process-redesign efforts, with an emphasis on collaborating with other administrative areas (Human Resources, Information Services & Technology, and Office of Sponsored Programs) to better meet the needs of the DLCs. These efforts include automating the process for faculty and employee appointment actions and providing an interface between the WebGradAid system used by academic administrators for graduate student appointments and the SAP payroll system.

MIT Reports to the President 2007–2008

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