In this guide, you will learn about Cornell University’s financial statements and what measurements are important to us.
A Message from the Executive Vice President and CFO, Christopher J. Cowen
Cornell University produces annual audited financial statements containing vital information for constituencies including the Board of Trustees, governmental funding agencies, the State of New York, credit rating agencies, alumni, donors, students, and the public. To help the community understand the terms and data that are critical to managing Cornell’s finances, this companion guide to the financial statements presents information in an accessible format and non-technical language. Cornell will continue to promote transparency and understanding in its fiscal reporting.
We hope you find this guide valuable. If you have questions, please contact University Controller Karen Mahalo.
Christopher J. Cowen
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
The Two Ways We Report
Cornell University reports its finances in two ways:
Operating Budget or Sources and Uses
Reports operating-unit financial performance versus the board-approved budget for Cornell’s day-to-day operating revenues and expenses. It reflects how resources and needs are balanced over the fiscal year.
Audited Financial Statements
Contain audited reports on the university’s financial performance over the fiscal year and Cornell’s financial position at the end of the fiscal year.
The Three Parts of the Audited Financial Statements
Statement of Financial Position
Provides a snapshot of a Cornell's assets and liabilities at a point in time.
Statement of Activities
Summarizes the current-year performance of total revenues, expenses, non-operating revenues and expenses, and changes in net assets over time compared to prior-year performance.
Statement of Cash Flows
Summarizes the amount of cash and cash equivalents that flowed in and out of the university during the year. It is segregated into operating, investing, and financing sections. We will not address this statement in this financial guide.