Image of Christine M. Smith

Christine M. Smith

Managing Director
608 240 2391

Christine is a director in our higher education practice and has been with Baker Tilly since 1998. She has advised clients for more than 20 years on innovative solutions to transform organizational effectiveness and ensure the appropriate level of compliance, transparency and efficiency. Christine has extensive experience managing strategic budgeting and financial planning, organizational and operational analysis, strategic planning, resource optimization, performance and program audits, and human resource management initiatives. Her work in risk management spans overall internal audit organizational effectiveness assessments, internal controls reviews and sponsored research operations assessments. She has served traditional four-year and research universities, private colleges, community and technical colleges, and university extensions. 


  • Clients include the University of Illinois Foundation, University of New Hampshire, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, University of Wisconsin System, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-San Francisco, the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, University of Wisconsin Extension, Georgetown University, Loyola University Chicago and Oregon State University. She has directed transformative projects relative to strategic budgeting and finance and process redesign for public and private higher education institutions, and for numerous publicly funded entities including Kenosha, Madison and Milwaukee Metropolitan school districts and multiple large public agencies, including City of Chicago, Will and Lake Counties, Cities of Madison, Chicago and Saint Paul and LOGIS, an IT consortium of Minneapolis-area municipalities
  • Has directed several key management consulting projects for higher education institutions, including:
    • Strategic planning and financial management
    • Fiscal position assessment
    • Internal control framework design
    • HR organizational redesign
    • Business process reviews
    • Risk assessments
    • Structural deficit reversal planning
    • Financial, student service and administration process reengineering and organizational restructuring
    • Benchmarking and best practice reviews
    • Pre-ERP implementation process reengineering, task realignment and risk assessment
  • Focused on effective higher education strategy and tactic alignment, including:
    • Assessing strategic financial position to ensure accurate understanding of key fiscal condition; working with executives, governing bodies and technical managers to identify and prioritize action plans
    • Leading major studies to reorganize and restructure entities of all sizes to achieve significant cost savings, improve resource optimization and set clear organizational outcome expectations, including oversight for consolidation and shared-service feasibility studies
    • Evaluating efforts for diverse operations such as financial, internal audit, academic and institutional support to re-engineer processes, enhance the use of technology and ensure responsive service delivery at lower costs
    • Conducting reviews to enhance controls, ensure appropriate reporting and improve governance effectiveness
    • Performing focused assessments of internal audit and control roles, processes, and technology to position operations for enhanced accountabilities, decreased liabilities, and improved reporting and decision making
    • Implementing budget reductions/revenue enhancements and articulating the cost/benefit of specific enhancements
    • Presenting and training on the topics of affordability, revenue enhancement, risk management and strategic resource alignment


  • Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
  • Association of Governing Board (AGB)
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and its regional partners (CACUBO, EACUBO)
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Speaks on management, operations, performance and human resource issues at national and local industry conferences
  • Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (2012 – 2017) - Executive Committee (2017)
  • University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Foundation (2015 – current) - Chair, Risk Management; Executive Committee
  • 1517 Media (2016 – current)

Thought Leadership

  • Will be presenting “Minding the Metrics – What Role Does the Business Office Play to Ensure Realities are Understood and Critical Decisions are Made,” EACUBO Annual Meeting (October 2018)
  • Presented “Finding Your “Sweet Spot” of Financial Sustainability,” CACUBO (2017)
  • Presented “How to Save a College,” EACUBO Annual (2017)
  • Co-Authored “Transforming your institutions for long-term sustainability and strategic growth” with King’s College (2017)
  • Presented “Mission Focused Yet Fiscally Viable – How to Reach Your Sweet Spot,” CACUBO (2016)
  • Co-presented “Affordability: Traversing the tightrope between student outcome expectations and fiscal constraints,” ACUA (2014)


University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Bachelor of Business Administration-magna cum laude

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Concentration in Public Program Evaluation

Continuing Education

Six Sigma coursework
Baker Tilly leadership training
UW School of Business-Strategic Formulation and Implementation Leadership Series