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What Does a Chief Business Officer Do?

By C.B. Fox
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A chief business officer manages many different aspects of an educational organization or research facility. These administrators can also be called administrative directors or academic officers, depending on the organization they work for. They usually report directly to the head of the university or research facility where they oversee a number of different departments and have a large staff under their direct or indirect supervision. Some of the responsibilities of a chief business officer include managing financial resources, personnel, and the facilities.

One of the primary responsibilities of a chief business officer is the management of a university's or research facility’s finances. These administrators oversee the budget, allocating the funds available and making cuts as needed. They may also be in charge of ensuring that enough money is coming into the facility and finding ways to generate more income, often through grants, tuition, or other fees. Though the chief business officer may employ an accountant and a number of financial advisors to assist with this part of the business, having a working knowledge of accounting and finance can help the administrator manage the facility’s financial resources more effectively.

Another function of a university's or research facility's chief business officer is the management of the facilities themselves. These administrators often oversee building inspections and construction projects. In some cases, this may mean ensuring that projects are built to code and that they follow environmental safety and protection laws. The chief business officer may also make sure that existing buildings that are not up to code are properly retrofitted. Any work orders, whether for repairs or new projects are approved by this administrator.

The management of the staff at the facility also falls to the chief business officer. Though departments are often in charge of hiring and managing their own staff, the business officer may approve the employees brought on and also allocate funds to different departments, dictating how many positions they can staff. As the lead person in charge of all staff, the business officer will often work with the heads of various departments to ensure that the facility runs smoothly. The payroll is also managed by chief business officers.

In some organizations, the chief business officer may also work closely with other staff members to develop long-term goals. This administrator will bring a strong understanding of the current and future financial state of the institution and, with this knowledge, will be able to help determine which goals are realistic. This administrator will also work to make sure that goals are compatible with current educational policies and local and federal laws.

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