Research Project Accountant

  • Company:
    University of Waterloo
  • Location:
  • Salary:
    negotiable / monthly
  • Job type:
    Full-Time
  • Posted:
    2 weeks ago
  • Category:
    Accounting / Banking

The Research Project Accountant (RPA) is responsible for the financial planning, compliance, management and reporting of one or more major, complex research projects. These responsibilities include problem-solving with respect to the specific research projects they are assigned to, preparation of internal and external financial statements, management of the relationship between and the requirements of internal and external stakeholders, financial planning and analysis and ensuring adherence and compliance with financial guidelines and requirements as specified by sponsors and/or University policies. In addition, this position will include the provision of data for strategic financial planning and management. The individual must have a good working knowledge of policies and procedures to provide guidance on general day-to-day operations.This role is contingent on funding.Financial project planning, analysis and strategic decision supportCoordinates, monitors, and directs the set-up of financial reporting structures for projects to ensure that project activity can be appropriately managed and reported on throughout its durationParticipates in the preparation of annual project work plans in conjunction with the Principal Investigator (PI), project director and others as requiredPlans, manages, and coordinates the development of the annual project budget to support the work plan incorporating contributions from multiple stakeholders including supporting organizations, external funding agencies, private corporations and international funding sources and the distribution of research funds across multiple institutions via establishment and amendment of subgrant agreementsPrepares financial planning documentation and funding models that assist project management and other relevant managers within the university with planning and operationsResponsible for ensuring all revenue and expenses related to the project are recorded in a timely manner and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, regularly monitored and supported by appropriate documentationAs the key financial contact for project partners provides advice and support on project financial requirements and documentationResponsible for the fiscal viability of the research project by providing complex financial analysis, advice and support to the PI and project manager to assist them in identifying the financial consequences of current and long-range plans and proposals to facilitate effective strategic decision-makingResponsible for the provision of regular internal financial reporting to project management on the financial status of the project including current position, annual and multi-year projections, including all partner (both internal and external to the University) budgets; highlighting potential problems and proposing possible solutionsInterprets and implements existing policies, and develops and implements new financial and nonfinancial processes at the project level, in conjunction with appropriate stakeholders to support the achievement of project goals, while meeting university and sponsor requirementsProvides complex accounting advice and support to the PI and project manager regarding the management and internal control of research fundsProvides financial and budgetary training, coaching, and development for administrative staff; conducts regular reviews of financial and expense reports generated by them; and meets to discuss potential problems or any issues that may ariseCommunicates regularly, either in person, by email or telephone, with project staff in each on-campus and collaborating institution to support effective financial planning, management, and internal control and to encourage the sharing of best practicesFinancial administration, management and external reporting of research programSet up of financial structure within the University financial systemReview, gain an understanding and approve applicable research projects through the research awards management systemLiaise with the Office of Research pre-awards colleagues regarding new or unusual areas of the research agreementSet up and maintain an accurate, well organized print and/or electronic project filesSet up the research project on Office of Research databases to allow tracking of key reporting, invoicing and audit datesSet up budget, overhead and encumbrance journal entries in accordance with the specific requirements of the award agreementMaintain accurate, well organized financial project filesWork with the PI and/or project director/manager to ensure all key financial reporting requirements and sponsor guidelines are met Financial management and external reportingPrepare invoice or disbursement requests in accordance with invoicing schedules in the award agreementMonitor outstanding invoices to ensure that project management are advised on a timely basis if payment may be an issue so that appropriate action can be takenEnsure that reporting schedules are met by proactively tracking project schedules and reporting deadlinesDevelop and implement a framework for reporting financial activity, both within the university and at collaborating institutions, to ensure financial activity can be accurately and efficiently tracked and reported on according to university and sponsor requirementsCommunicate and train project staff and/or collaborators on financial reporting framework and on financial reporting requirements and timescalesManage the process of obtaining, confirming and tracking all data/reporting/supporting documentation including in-kind certifications from project partnersManage the process of obtaining, confirming and tracking institutional commitments from internal stakeholdersReview the financial reports submitted by each partner on a regular basis and conduct meetings with the necessary staff to discuss potential issuesMonitor all project accounts to ensure all funds are spent appropriately by the end date or that an extension request submittedProvide advice to the PI and/or project director/manager for options on resolving any surplus or deficit balances and prepare the applicable close out entries ensuring that appropriate authorization and supporting documentation has been providedFinalize the print and/or electronic files to ensure that all appropriate documentation is kept according to record retention guidelinesEligibility and Compliance Review and Facilitation of auditsReviews advances, requests for payment, purchase requisitions, salary payments, invoices, and other designated research financial transactions for compliance and eligibility with external sponsor guidelines and University policiesResolve any issues with transactions prior to forwarding them to Finance/HR for processingKey point of contact with sponsor, UW or collaborating institution auditors during the audit process for the research projectProvision of an overview of sponsor program details and UW policies and procedures to the auditorsPreparation and reconciliation of audit support listings to auditorsProvision of supporting documentation for transactions being auditedCo-ordination and reconciliation of supporting documentation from collaborating institutionsResponding to audit queriesManage and foster relationships with internal and external stakeholdersKey point of contact between the UW project team and representatives from partner organizations for financial advice, guidance and queries pertaining to the research projectProvides strategic professional advice about accounting and process issues and offers financial analytical support to the project manager and to both on-campus and collaborating personnelWorks closely with applicable project staff to ensure that all financial transactions are processed in a timely and efficient mannerKey point of contact with collaborating research institutions to ensure appropriate financial reporting of research fundsKey point of contact with external research sponsors regarding the financial management of the project, e.g. interpretation of guidelines or reporting requirements and the resolution of specific project needs/concerns/issuesLiaise with Office of Research pre-awards colleagues regarding clarification or amendments to research agreementsLiaise with other University academic support units to ensure appropriate management of research fundsOtherCarries out other general and specific duties as may from time to time be determinedCompletion of a undergraduate degree, preferable in Accounting, Business or Finance requiredAccounting designation (CGA, CMA, CPA or CA) or in final stages of obtaining a recognized accounting designation requiredA minimum of five years’ experience with progressively greater responsibility in accounting/financial related environmentPrevious experience developing and managing complex project budgets of either significant dollar value ($1m+) or with significant international exposureWorking knowledge of auditing practices and proceduresExperience working both independently and as part of a team and managing workload and setting prioritiesExperience supervising workload and output of a financial team would be an advantageExperience in an academic, not-for-profit and/or research environment is an assetProven ability to work within a framework of multiple principles and guidelines and to apply professional judgment in situations in which clear direction is unavailable and/or interpretation is requiredDemonstrated high degree of aptitude for critical thinking coupled with strong analytical and problem-solving skills and proficiency in written and oral communicationDemonstrated superior interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively, build consensus, maintain confidentiality, exhibit sensitivity to the needs and interests of a variety of stakeholders, and support the functioning of a diverse project teamStrong organizational skills coupled with the ability to handle multiple tasks, meet deadlines, and excel in a fast-paced environment characterized by changing prioritiesDemonstrated ability to thrive in and contribute to an integrated and collaborative team environment and to apply a positive team approach to working with colleaguesWorking knowledge of research granting agencies and their programs is preferredIntermediate to advanced skill level using Microsoft Office suite