The Office of the Controller is responsible for managing the general accounting and financial reporting of the University. It contains several departments that provide a wide range of financial services on behalf of and for the University community. Financial accounting and reporting duties at the University are complex and significant. 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, 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. We strive to provide outstanding service while ensuring the financial business of the University is handled in an accurate and efficient manner.
The Accountant supports the University’s central accounting function within the Office of the Controller. Responsibilities for this role are concentrated around the functional areas of operations, administration & general reporting, gift & endowment, and treasury & investments accounting. The position serves as a resource for to the University community (e.g., electronic, phone, in-person inquiries) on policies, advises on appropriate transaction processing, and proposes policy and process improvements.
The role includes the following:
Supports a university accounting-related program for Gifts, Endowments and Investments.
Manages financial operations &/or analysis in support of area/unit's mission & in coordination with central offices such as Student Finance and Alumni Relations & Development; maintains relationship with external asset trustees
Manages daily, monthly, quarterly and annual financial processes for the area or program, including annual external audit management.
Implements existing policy & ensures the effective, compliant, & efficient completion of daily financial activities.
Applies industry and professional standards, interprets university policy and procedure, federal and state laws, granting agency guidelines, and other regulations (as applicable).
Represents &/or guides Manager and Controller’s Office on internal & external financial affairs by exchanging information.
Analysis, Statements & Reporting
Creates daily, monthly, annual, &/or project end analysis & reports regarding area/unit, grants &/or awards, accounts, funds, payroll, expense &/or revenue allocation, customer service activity, etc.
Prepares financial analysis and lead schedules for supplies, equipment, &/or personnel decisions.
Records journal entries and creates reports.
Performs financial account reconciliations, statement analysis, and transaction research.
Provides support for annual audit workpapers and quarterly financial statement workpapers.
Provides review and oversight of all types of financial transactions some of which may be complex in regard to size or duration of account.
Enters individual &/or summary of transactions into journals &/or general ledger or other NU enterprise system.
Reviews; ensures approval based on alternatives regarding practice & policy; analyzes and classifies transactions in accordance with established chart or coding of accounts; creates new accounts; prepares, processes, reconciles & provides receipts (as appropriate) for transactions.
Processes transfer &/or appropriation charges & may balance &/or close accounts.
Provides financial policy interpretation to determine the validity of customer requests & ensure compliance.
Reviews status of related university accounts, transactions and processes; troubleshoots issues as needed.
Processes & presents data & information through the application of database, graphic & spreadsheet software.
Obtains data by downloading from enterprise systems; develops and runs queries.
Identifies sources for data & information to be used & completes special financial projects such as (enter in explanation of special projects):
Performs general office support activities
Ensures that area service level goals are met.
Provides training and support to related university units or program participants; maintains website and training materials
Performs other duties as assigned.
Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Business Administration, Finance or related field; OR 2 years of work experience in financial administration; OR equivalent combination of education and experience where similar knowledge, skills, and abilities may be acquired.
2 years financial, budgeting &/or preparing account reconciliations or financial statements along with financial analysis experience.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Proficient in MS Office applications (Excel) and accounting software and experience working in a network environment with an integrated database.
Understanding financial reporting.
Experience with complex account reconciliations
Ability to communicate effectively and professionally with internal and external contacts at all different levels.
Ability to manage shifting priorities and proactively manage customer and manager expectations.
Well organized to provide deliverables on time and anticipates workload issues
Experience and/or working knowledge of accounting related to investments, gifts, and endowments.
Experience with fund accounting in a non-profit and/or private university setting
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
Experience with PeopleSoft (Oracle), reporting, query-rule building.
Excellent Excel skills and an ability to utilize advanced functions within excel to perform complex data analysis and reconciliations.
Strong analytical skills and ability to crosswalk data from multiple systems and summarize high level reporting concepts.
Familiarity with external audit process.
Intellectually inquisitive: knowledgeable and about and open to leading changes and continuous process improvement.
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.
Professional Growth & Development: Northwestern supports employee career development in all circumstances whether your workspace is on campus or at home. If you’re interested in developing your professional potential or continuing your formal education, we offer a variety of tools and resources. Visit us at https://www.northwestern.edu/hr/learning/index.html to learn more.
Northwestern requires all staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to limited exceptions. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 and Campus Updates website.
The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Click for information on EEO is the Law.
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.