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Case Study

Rhode Island Airport Corporation: The story behind more on-time hugs

March 28, 2024 / 3 min read

As an international airport focused on on-time operations, Rhode Island Airport Corporation expects us to provide timely, efficient services. But it’s our dedication and industry expertise that makes the difference. Here’s how RIAC counts on us as their trusted advisor.

When Rhode Islanders enter the terminal building at Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport, they’re typically not thinking about the skill, energy, and coordination it takes to provide safe, efficient, and convenient air transportation, or the millions of dollars of value the facility generates for the state and regional economies each year. Rather, what’s likely front-of-mind for most travelers is what awaits them on the other side of their journey: friends or family, the bucket-list, once-in-a-lifetime experience they’ve dreamed of, or simply the comfort of their own bed. What’s maybe not front-of-mind are the small, but essential, details of their trip: an on-time flight, a hassle-free trek to the gate, and everything behind the scenes to make it all possible.

When it comes to being on time, for our client, Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC), every detail counts at each of the six state-owned airports it operates. Creating a welcoming experience and meeting the needs of the passengers, airlines, concessionaires, and other tenants critical to airport operations is a big mission — and based on its consistent passenger choice awards — one that passengers say RIAC executes very well.

For Nicole Williams, RIAC Vice President of Finance and Accounting, a big part of the story is what the passengers don’t see — the financial management that enables RIAC to achieve its commitment of operational excellence and timeliness for its customers, and support a culture based on equal opportunity, teamwork, and professional conduct.

“As a quasi-public corporation, RIAC is held to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, not just by the traveling public, but by our Board of Directors, the State of Rhode Island, and many others,” says Williams. “This means meeting stringent state-mandated timelines for financial reports and keeping up with frequently changing regulations and accounting standards in a timely and accurate manner.”

As RIAC’s trusted business advisor, timeliness is a virtue prioritized by the entire Plante Moran engagement team. As RIAC’s annual auditor, we’ve been their go-to advisors for everything from standard audits, to specialized audits of passenger facility charge programs, to being a sounding board for the airport’s implementation of complex governmental accounting standards. When it came time to implement GASB 87 — a complex standard requiring the review of hundreds of leases, and in a short amount of time — RIAC looked to us for advice. No matter the challenge, we provide support for the RIAC team so that together we meet our shared goals efficiently and on time while avoiding unwanted surprises.

As a trusted advisor, we provide more than a timely audit. Beyond the advice we share, RIAC benefits from our broad perspective working with airport systems — from the East Coast to Hawaii — which allows us to serve as a sounding board during unprecedented times.

“It’s the people, communication, collaboration — the team approach,” says Williams. “From the new staff person to the partner — the Plante Moran team is approachable and there to help.”

Our experience and investment as a trusted advisor help RIAC look down the runway and create opportunities for future generations of travelers — whether it’s fulfilling someone’s wanderlust, catching a red-eye to that business meeting, or reuniting for yet another on-time hug.

“The staff at all levels of the engagement team are always professional, knowledgeable, and respectful. And I can’t say enough about Plante Moran’s expertise in the airport and government industries.”

— Nicole Williams, Vice President, Finance & Accounting, Rhode Island Airport Corporation

Our legacy is 100 years in the making — and that’s why you can count on us. 

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