Research Accounting Specialist I

Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.

Job location is in Salk North (Torrey Pines)

Position Summary

Position is responsible for the financial, post-award management of a portfolio of Salk Faculty sponsored research projects including government grants, private agency/foundation grants, gifts and internally funded projects. Works in partnership with administration and faculty to provide support in all aspects of financial management of direct costs and compliance with a large variety of funding sources including Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance. Assists principal investigators, lab administrators and management in providing financial information related to grants as well as advising on fiscal matters as needed. Acts as a liaison between research labs and other administrative departments and recharge centers utilizing multiple systems including Accounting, Human Resources/Payroll, Procurement, Animal Resources and Grant Proposal Submissions. Responsible for all financial grant reporting to external funding sources. Position will perform responsibilities in a fast-paced, complex, and multifaceted environment.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

Fund Management, Compliance and Analysis (30%)

  • Reviews all individual award documents for applicable sponsors' terms and conditions, regulations and restrictions. Maintains current knowledge of sponsors' requirements serving as a source of information on fiscal policies and procedures. As situations arise, research funding agencies' policies, applying a working knowledge to interpret policies and communicate information to PIs and/or designees. Advise PIs/designees on options or alternatives and effectively recommend courses of action on fiscal matters in order to serve scientific needs while also complying with institute and sponsor policies.
  • Manages financial and administrative aspects of accounting and grants to ensure compliance with internal and external requirements, and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Monitors expenditures throughout the budget period and life of a grant/gift to ensure compliance with funding source and Institute policies.
  • Analyzes current and historical funding/spending trends in order to identify budget deficiencies or surpluses by lab and grant by grant as well as budget categories within individual grants. Communicates issues to Management and PIs/designees via in-person meetings, phone calls or written emails.
  • Maintains audit support and backup expenditure documentation for electronic grant files and journal entries in compliance with institute and sponsor policies.
  • Conducts a summary review of monthly laboratory financial reports for personnel distribution/adjustments, budget line item restrictions, equipment budget adjustments, correct budget period allocation of expenses, open commitments, and Facilities & Administrative (indirect costs) expense allocation. Takes necessary action as needed for compliance with institute and sponsor policies.
  • Reviews grant cash receipt allocation as received and monitors grant accounts receivables including incoming consortium agreements invoiced. Makes inquiries to funding agencies on delinquent payments as applicable and notifies the Sr. Director, Research Accounting of situations as appropriate.

  • Reviews and approves source expenditure documents including purchase orders between $2,500 - $5,000, payment check requests, travel expense requests, invoices and monthly recharge center charges. This includes ensuring animal expenditures are compliant by grant per approved protocol.

  • Communicates with the PI or designee on all lab personnel related changes. Personnel Action Requests (PAR’s) are reviewed for compliance when funding changes occur. HR entry is analyzed to ensure proper setup for the different grant or fellowship funds. Visa status, work rules, and funding type need to be understood to review data. Retroactive entries and other distribution changes are also reviewed with the lab and entered by RACT. Knowledge of effort versus distribution is important in order to adhere with government rules and regulations.

Accounting and Labor Distribution (25%)

  • Prepares, processes, and/or reviews budget entries per awards and prepares and processes journal entries in the financial accounting system using a solid working knowledge of accounting.
  • Review and track outgoing consortium agreements. Consortium invoices received from subrecipient institutions pertaining to federal awards are scrutinized for compliance per the OMB Uniform Guidance regulations. Various levels of review are performed based on level of risk assessment. Non-federal consortium agreement invoices are reviewed for compliance with funding sources.
  • Manages the labor and effort distribution of personnel in H/R, Payroll system (ePersonality ) for all lab employees. Understanding the complexity of various visa's, fellowship and grant status, effort reporting, as well as fund number changes is critical when updating the system. Details such as fund number and account code are critical for a successful labor month end process. Errors result in the delay of the monthly close for payroll as well as other ramifications.
  • Effort allocation is regulated by the federal government and information has to be current and correct in the ePersonality system. Effort input into the system is reported, certified by faculty, utilized by Grants Administration for reporting and proposal submission and reviewed during annual audit.
  • Staying on top of the diversity of lab personnel due to the various types of funding and requirements, must be maintained appropriately in the eP system.
  • Obtains and analyzes information using applicable systems including those focusing on financial accounting, accounts payable, human resources, payroll, procurement (SciQuest), and ARD protocols. Identifies problems and troubleshoots as needed.

Reporting (20%)

  • Upon receipt of grant awards and gift agreements from a multitude of varied funding sources,
    responsible for independently scheduling, preparation and submission of external financial reports by varied, mandatory deadlines. Reporting requirements, formats and level of detail required are very diverse per individual funding source.
  • Prepares internal report of expenditure spreadsheets on each 12-month budget period of each federally sponsored grant within 90 days of end date reconciling budget awarded, direct costs and indirect costs expended, and funds received. This process includes closeout actions on funds.
  • Prepares funding and expenditures analysis for budget forecasting and identifying historic trends as needed by senior management and/or principal investigators to enable Principal Investigators (PIs) and members of management to monitor the financial performance of research funding.

Communication and counsel to scientists regarding research funding (20%)

  • Serves as primary contact for PIs or designees regarding post-award research funding including financial management, compliance, institute policies and procedures which often requires applying comprehensive knowledge and independent judgment when policies and guidelines are not clear or specifically stated.
  • Responds promptly to questions and requests for information. Investigates problems and issues that arise regarding grant data including questions from PIs or their designees, members of administrative management, and personnel from other departments (Human Resources, Grants Administration, Payroll, etc.).
  • Provides counsel to PIs or their designees on grant fund management and budget planning. Arranges and meets face to face with PIs or designees twice each year or as needed.
  • Facilitates processes both within Research Accounting and within other administrative departments as needed in relationship to grant fund management and compliance. This may include communicating with personnel of all levels within the Institute both within labs and administrative departments.
  • Develops and maintains positive relationships with outside funding agencies as needed regarding policies, reporting requirements, payments, etc. Provides competent and timely feedback as requested.

Special Projects & Other Duties as Assigned (5%)

  • Provides project support as needed to the Sr. Director of Research Accounting, Manager and/or the CFO in the area of post-award administration of research grants and gifts.

Education

Required

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent years of experience and education

Preferred

  • Bachelor's degree in Finance, Accounting, or Business related field

 

Experience

Required

  • No experience required with Bachelor's degree in Finance, Accounting or Business related field; minimum of 2 years experience in Accounting, Finance or Business related field without applicable Business degree
  • 2+ years of Microsoft Excel experience

Preferred

  • 1+ years of post-award research administration experience.
  • Experience using accounting and financial reporting systems.

SKILLS AND ABILITIES

Required

  • Excellent organizational, analytical, and time management skills in order to prioritize workload, foresee problem areas, and seek immediate action.
  • Ability to multi-task and work against inflexible deadlines.
  • Ability to work independently, within tight time lines as well as excel in a collaborative environment.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Excellent customer service and verbal and written communication skills appropriate for interactions with a broad array of individuals. Interpersonal skills must include tact, good judgment, diplomacy, and flexibility to relate to diverse scientific research staff, faculty, executive management, administrative staff, and external contacts. Serve as a resource for all contacts while providing a high level of customer service.
  • Knowledge of accounting, accounting cycles, and commonly accepted accounting terminology and principles and using the general ledger to identify expenses and liabilities, journal entries, etc. Ability to accurately monitor expenditures and maintain data, documenting exceptions as needed.
  • Strong computer skills with an emphasis on proficiency in Microsoft Excel.
  • Advanced Excel skills (Pivot tables, graphs, etc.) or the aptitude to learn and apply in one year.
  • Ability to learn and maintain knowledge of applicable systems including those focusing on financial accounting, accounts payable, payroll, human resources, purchasing (SciQuest), and ARD protocols for data extracting and troubleshooting.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment to determine when issues should be brought to the attention of management.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality

Preferred

  • Demonstrated knowledge of NIH or other federally sponsored awards.

SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

  • Must be able to work overtime as needed and occasionally work a flexible schedule based on workload and deadlines. Peak times include month-end and fiscal year-end close, annual external audit and meeting high volume of financial grant reporting deadlines.
  • Must be willing to work at a location away from the main campus (but within walking distance) and travel to and from campus as needed (parking is available at both locations).
  • Successful completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Must sign an employee confidentiality agreement.
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

This position requires constant adjusting focus, touching/feeling, grasping, handling,  reading, reasoning, analyzing, communicating and working inside. 

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