Office the Treasurer helps preserve DePaul's fiscal strength

In addition to the various outward financial transactions, Erin Archer, DePaul's treasurer, and her team also work on DePaul's 403(b) retirement plan and help the Board of Trustees manage the university's endowment. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
In addition to the various outward financial transactions, Erin Archer, DePaul's treasurer, and her team also work on DePaul's 403(b) retirement plan and help the Board of Trustees manage the university's endowment. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
One of the priorities in DePaul 2024, the university's draft strategic plan, is ensuring DePaul's continued fiscal strength for future generations. Maintaining that strength comes not only from properly managing investments and long-term debt, including leases and loans, but also by contributing to employees' financial wellness, supporting retirement plans and maintaining a healthy endowment. That's where the Office of the Treasurer comes in.

"Every day, we collaborate with other offices across the university," says Erin Archer, the university's treasurer. "We are a resource for any and all members of the DePaul community."

At the end of January, DePaul named Archer as its new treasurer. After 15 years working in finance in both the United States and overseas, Archer joined the university in November 2015 and became interim treasurer in June 2017.

Separate from the Controller's Office, which oversees internal financial tasks such as budgeting, taxes, accounting and the audit, the Office of the Treasurer is in charge of many of the university's external financial transactions. These transactions can be broken down into four main categories: working capital, also known as daily cash management; long-term debt, including loans and leases; investments, including the endowment; and commercial real estate. Tasks within these categories include monitoring cash inflows and outflows across university departments; managing the university's balance sheet; and working with external clients, including the banks DePaul uses and the tenants of the university, such as Dunkin' Donuts and Jimmy Johns.

"We often work with investment bankers and rating agencies to make sure they understand not only our balance sheet, but also the university's strategic plan," Archer says. "We want them to understand the university's goals, the results of this next plan and the challenges we face as an educational institution in 2018 - all key in maintaining DePaul's longevity."

In addition to the various outward transactions, Archer and her team also work on DePaul's 403(b) retirement plan and help the Board of Trustees manage the university's endowment. Though the Board has ultimate authority over the endowment and its investments, assisting in their management is one of the responsibilities Archer enjoys most.

"I come from a family of teachers - both my parents and a number of aunts, uncles and cousins are all teachers," she says. "Education has always been something I'm passionate about, so to share my skills and experience at an institute of higher education is kind of full-circle for me. Through helping the board manage and grow the university's endowment, we are helping create more scholarships for students. Our goal is to open as many doors as possible for as many students as we can."

With the formation of DePaul's next strategic plan well underway, Archer and her team look forward to the coming years on campus, continuing to build the university's endowment and helping DePaul's employees stay on track for retirement.

"We want to continue collaborating with the board to grow DePaul's endowment for the benefit of students, and I want folks to take advantage of the university's 403(b) plan - the board just approved an increase to DePaul's contribution match, which is fantastic. Personal finance is another passion of mine; my hope is for everyone to be able to retire when and as comfortably as they want," she says. "And although we're on the sidelines for strategic planning, I've seen a lot of good energy and momentum from our faculty, staff and everyone involved. I'm excited to see the results of this plan and continue doing what I can for our campus community."