The Office of the Controller is responsible for the accounting and financial reporting of Northwestern University, providing a wide range of financial services on behalf of and for the University community. Northwestern operates with an annual budget exceeding $2.0 billion, total investments in excess of $15.1 billion (representing one of the largest endowments in the country), more than $893.4 million in research awards, land, building and equipment (net) of $3.2 billion, and total long-term debt outstanding of $2.4 billion. The University has more than 22,000 students enrolled in 12 colleges and schools on three campuses. Its fiscal year ends August 31.
The Controller’s Office works diligently as a team to cultivate a positive culture and mindful work environment. Its scope of work directly supports the education and research mission of the University. A mindset of stewardship, professional excellence, and a customer-service orientation are valued across the team.
Reporting to the Accounting Director, the Accounting Manager, Capital and Debt leads processes ensuring proper accounting treatment and reporting of capital assets, leases, and debt. This role partners with a broad range of key stakeholders across the University and has high visibility to financial leadership.
Leading a team of two, the Accounting Manager’s key objectives and responsibilities include:
Providing guidance and operationalizing strategies related to proper accounting treatment, quarterly and annual financial reporting, analysis and forecasting, significant/unusual transactions, and accounting standard updates
Responsibility for the life cycle of capital assets in a leading research environment, such as capitalization policy, construction in progress tracking, depreciation and componentization, and monitoring for impairment
Management of the University’s equipment tagging program and leadership of the annual equipment inventory conducted by University departments
Partnership with Facilities Management to maintain lease accounting using Visual Lease software
Please Note: : Hybrid role (up to 40% remote)
Supervisor provides objectives & deadlines. Work is reviewed for fulfillment of objective & deadlines & overall compliance with policy & procedures. EE completes some activities without direction, informing supervisor only of potentially controversial matters, &/or far-reaching implications.
Analysis, Statements & Reporting:
Measures individual net performance of all areas/units as well as consolidated area/unit income statement & balance sheet with the use of pre-defined analytical financial tools.
Recommends changes to tools to improve analysis, forecasting, modeling & reporting & ultimately quality of financial information & analyses provided to management for planning, evaluating & controlling operations.
Establishes proper accounting & audit trails for revenue & expenses related to programs & initiatives.
Oversees monthly reconciliation & reports on current financial performance, impact on year-end forecast & opportunities & risks.
Acts as a key contact for external auditors; prepares financial statement and audit workpapers.
Prepares sections of the university's annual financial report.
Performs complex financial account reconciliations, statement analysis, and transaction research.
Builds, maintains, and updates financial models and associated financial analysis.
Serves as a GAAP subject matter expert for property-related accounting matters, policies and procedures, and adoption of accounting standard updates, as applicable
Communicates & coordinates regularly with Office of Budget and Planning, Facilities Management, & University schools regarding plant projects and policies & procedures to support appropriate accounting treatment
Oversees accurate, efficient and compliant workflow of all transactional processes across areas/units.
Provides optimal customer service and financial guidance to areas/units.
Oversees processing of all daily financial transactional activity.
Reviews status of related university unit accounts and processes; troubleshoots issues as needed.
Leads asset accounting processes including construction in progress tracking, asset additions and capitalization, depreciation, and plant fund accounting
Analyzes project expense, monitors and closes plant projects in a timely fashion.
Grants &/or Awards:
Provides information and support for the University’s annual Federal Single Audit and the Facilities and Administration (indirect cost recovery) rate negotiation.
Identifies current & future resource planning & allocation issues & develops, leads, & supervises complex studies & analyses that will assist senior staff in reaching resource planning and allocation decisions.
Processes & presents associated data & information through the application of sophisticated database, graphic & spreadsheet tools.
Acts as project manager for design and implementation of regulatory and system changes.
Ensures that service level goals are met.
Functional owner of PeopleSoft Asset Management module
Leads University annual equipment inventory verification
Provides training and support to related university units or program participants
Develops and maintains website content and training materials
Evaluates employees' performance
Provides work direction to other employees
Performs other duties as assigned.
Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in a major such as accounting, business administration, finance, or related; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
5 years financial, budgeting &/or preparing account reconciliations or financial statements along with financial analysis or other relevant experience
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Excellent computer skills including proficiency in the use of spreadsheet, database and word processing software.
Strong understanding of financial reporting.
Familiarity with FASB requirements.
Strong conceptual understanding of accounting theory and financial systems
Proven ability to prepare analytical reporting and perform account reconciliations
Ability to communicate effectively and professionally with others, in written and verbal conversations
CPA-Certified Public Accountant
Experience accounting for property, debt, and/or leases
Experience with accounting in non-profit and/or higher education environment.
Supervisory or project leader experience
Experience performing financial audit or Uniform Guidance Single Audit procedures
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
Work-Life and Wellness: Northwestern offers comprehensive programs and services to help you and your family navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. We support flexible work arrangements where possible and programs to help you locate and pay for quality, affordable childcare and senior/adult care. Visit us at https://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/work-life/index.html to learn more.
Northwestern University is a major private research university with 12 academic divisions located on three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Education City in Doha, Qatar. We have approximately 2,500 full-time faculty members, 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and over 5,700 full and part-time staff. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth.