The Critical Number
The Critical Number is defined as an operational or financial number that represents a weakness or vulnerability that, if not addressed and corrected, will negatively impact the overall performance and long-term security of the university. The Critical Number defines winning. It rallies people around a common goal and a focus on what’s most important and critical to the university's success. Our Critical Number has been identified as unrestricted operating cash. This is the cash used to pay our bills (e.g., payroll, utilities, etc.). It is not tied to a particular use (unlike financial aid, restricted gifts, most construction). The household analogy would be your checking and savings accounts. Most organizations (and households) maintain a certain level of operating cash in reserve (savings). Our Critical Number can be impacted in a positive way by both increasing revenue and decreasing expenses. There are many ways to affect it--both directly and indirectly. It is possible that our Critical Number will change over time, but as long as we are operating at a deficit, it will be operating cash.
When the Critical Number is tied to a reward (Stake in the game) – the rules of The Game have been set. The Critical Number becomes the focus of The Game. You can learn more about the Critical Number in the Learning Resources menu to the left.
CLICK HERE for a chart of the current status of operating cash at MSSU including academic year (AY) '15, '16 and '17. For a chart of the complete years AY '13, '14, and '15, CLICK HERE. For a chart including the complete years AY '14, '15, and '16, CLICK HERE. To ensure accurate numbers when reviewing these charts you will want to compare the same month within each year. This is due to fluctuations in our operating cash balance throughout the academic year because of when tuition revenue is collected (September and February) and scholarship money is typically received (January). Most expenses remain stable regardless of the timeframe selected. The declining monthly balances of operating cash from year-to-year are of concern.