The Road to Public Finance: Getting to Know Usha Rackliffe
In an Emory University profile of the professor, Rackliffe explains that listening to radio news was a big part of why she left India to pursue journalism and experience a new culture.
“The radio was my window to the world,” she told the Emory Wheel. “You’d hear about life in different cultures and read about different stuff and think, ‘Wow, there’s so much happening beyond just where I am.’”
After a brief stint in journalism, she turned her focus to making an impact in business and finance. She obtained a Master of Business Administration and a law degree, both from Georgia State University, where she also taught.
She now has more than 20 years in public finance, including serving as chief financial officer and treasurer for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, overseeing a $7 billion budget. She also is a certified public accountant and a member of the Georgia Bar Association.
“I’ve been fortunate to have those kinds of positions,” she said. “I’m forever blessed with having that kind of experience, and I think a lot comes with being able to share the lessons one has learned over time.”
Now, an assistant professor of accounting at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, Rackliffe will join the Center for State and Local Finance‘s (CSLF) executive education program for a second time, as its lead instructor for the governmental accounting course being held in March.
In addition to governmental accounting, Rackliffe’s course will include accounting rules, financial statements, and auditing and internal controls. Typically, finance courses focus on the corporate sector, but there is an entire group of professionals who need specific information on public finance, she said.
“In the government sector it is about transparency, and it is about showing people – instilling that trust and confidence in the government,” Rackliffe said. “So, you kind of want to show where the money is going and what results are being accomplished with the money that the government has.”
She believes that digging deep into these aspects will help CSLF’s executive education participants be more effective leaders who then create more effective governments and businesses.
“The more you know, the more you think. And, the more you are able to think, then you can connect the dots, and then it prepares you for more leadership positions,” she said. “Ultimately, it is about being successful.”