And the cycle continues: The Business Office in the summer

Jul 8, 2014

Quite often, Heidelberg staff members are asked, "What are you doing this summer?" In a series of web features during the month of July, we answer the question by profiling several offices who are busy during the summer months, preparing for the upcoming school year. In fact, for some, summer is the busiest time of the entire year.

the Business officeAt her fingertips, long-time Business Officer Barb Gabel has an “Easy” button and a “No” button. “When (VP for Administration and Business Affairs) John Wilkin asks for something, it’s always ‘no,’” jokes Barb with her well-known sense of humor.

Of course, the answer is more frequently “Yes” as the Business Office staff navigates through its busiest time of the year during the summer. A dose of humor helps get the office through hectic days of closing the books on one fiscal year and beginning a new one, while preparing for the annual audit of the university’s books. There are year-end invoices to process and departmental budgets to update.

Controller Kelly Warnke’s to-do list is especially long this time of year. “We just finished budgeting for the new fiscal year,” she explains, adding that she will continue to prepare for the auditors’ visit in September.

The summer class schedule starts immediately after graduation in May, so there’s no break for the Business Office in dealing with billing, financial aid and general communication with students, Barb says. The office also handles payroll for all ‘Berg employees, including about 150 students who work an expanded schedule in the summer months.

And then, there’s the preparation for the new academic year. “This is the time we’re setting up all of the payment plans for the coming year,” she explains. “Our phones are ringing constantly, and when we’re not on the phone, we’re handling questions and correspondence with families.”

Barb and her Business Office colleagues are in constant contact with new and returning students to get their payment plans in order. Within about a week, bills will go out for the fall semester, so payment processing will begin shortly. As of July 1, the parking registration process also got under way.

Along with many other offices on campus, the Business Office also is a key player during summer orientation for incoming students, ensuring all the necessary paperwork for each student is completed before they’re permitted to move into their residence halls.

In August, the cycle starts to filter back to the beginning again.

“We try to get everything done as a team,” says Barb. “If it doesn’t work, you get booted off the team.”

Clearly, that’s not the case. But one thing is certain: the candy bowls at the main desk in the Business Office are always full. “The majority of students know they can come in here for Tootsie Rolls and bubble gum.”

And a helpful, friendly team that truly does work together to serve students, the campus community and vendors in a timely fashion.