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Accountant II - Accounts Payable

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
La Jolla, CA

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Job Details

Job location is at 10240 Science Center Dr, San Diego, CA 92121

The AP Accountant II is responsible for executing all aspects of the accounts payable process.  Under general direction, incumbent is responsible for dealing with all complex issues (fund allocations, sales tax differences,  vendor disputes, and account reconciliations) related to invoices with or without purchase orders and possibly including employee and travel reimbursement requests.   Assists others in the resolution of complex issues.  Responsible for journal entries to correct expense coding.  Analyzes, reconciles and prepares projections of future expenses for standing purchase orders to determine appropriate encumbrance balances.  Analyzes reports and interprets data.  Reconciles open encumbrances monthly and prepares journal entries to adjust balances while also researching grant funds that are ending.  Makes determination of prepaid items based on the Prepaid Policy and expenses these items accordingly.  Seeks learning opportunities within the team as appropriate.   Assists with training of new Accounts Payable employees or assists others in the absence of the Assistant Controller.  Ensures confidentiality of information, follows accounting principles, and exercises sound judgment.  Works closely with Research Accounting, Procurement, Receiving and other departments/labs of the Institute, as well as numerous vendors.

May also include creating monthly account reconciliations, reviewing and distributing employee accounts receivable statements, reviewing credit card transactions and associated journal entries.


AP Finance

  • Responsible for all Accounts Payable (A/P) tasks for assigned vendors and assigned phone vendors while ensuring compliance with AP policies and procedures.
  • Handles regular and complex invoices, statement reconciliations, purchase orders, and vendors.
  • Researches and resolves escalated issues from other accountants.
  • Handle incoming AP email.
  • Scans invoices and enters imaged invoices into financial system to include verifying quantity received, price computations and sales tax.
  • Requests approval from Procurement for material, price and freight discrepancies.
  • Reconciles vendor statements monthly and resolves discrepancies.
  • Answers incoming vendor and customer questions by phone or email in a timely fashion.  Conducts related research as necessary.
  • Reviews entered invoices for accuracy before checks are issued.
  • Responsible for initiating the check run, including running, reviewing, and resolving all exception reports required in the check run process.
  • Reconciles, analyzes, and prepares projections of future expenses for standing purchase orders to determine appropriate encumbrance balances.  Requests funds as needed from Procurement for increases based on analysis and expediture trend.
  • Reconciles and analyzes open encumbrances monthly and prepares a journal entry to adjust balances while also reviewing grant funds that are ending.   This may include purchase orders and employee travel encumbrances.
  • Accrues invoices at year-end.
  • Prepares reclassification journals for corrections of fund, account or encumbrances (as needed throughout the month).
  • Communicates with vendors for credits and inquiries.
  • Makes determination of prepaid items based on the Prepaid Policy and expenses these items accordingly.
  • Performs research and other special projects as assigned.

Back up Support

  • Assists with training of new Accounts Payable employees or assists others in the absence of the Assistant Controller.
  • Add notes on items identified on the daily Invoice to P.O. comparison reports for the Assistant Controller's review.
  • Review other A/P  Accountants' reclassification journals for corrections of fund, account, or encumbrance postings (prior to the Assistant Controller's review).
  • Assumes additional duties when other A/P Accountants are out or require assistance.
  • Assists with ensuring that all A/P tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.
  • Audit and process employee travel expense and reimbursement reports.  May process, review, and distribute employee accounts receivable statements.
  • Audit and process credit card transaction reports.
  • Prepare monthly phone journal.
  • Upload recharge data to financial system, and process recharge reports, journal entries, and adjustments.
  • Create monthly account reconciliations and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Provide backup coverage for the handling of incoming mail (via US mail and/or email).

General Accounting Support

  • May provide backup coverage for basic administrative support and/or clerical duties in support of the Finance department.
  • Assists Finance with special projects as needed.


  • This job has no supervisory responsibilities.


  • Associate's degree in Accounting, Business or related field, or equivalent combination of education and related work experience in accounting, payroll or finance required.
  • Minimum of three years of high volume (200-300 invoices per week) accounts payable experience.
  • Minimum of three years of accounting, finance or payroll experience including account reconciliations and journal entries.
  • Must have experience with complex invoices (fund allocations, sales tax issues, complicated maintenance or software agreements).
  • Must have the ability to interpret reports and analyze data with attention to detail.
  • Must have strong problem solving skills including the ability to recommend options and implement solutions.
  • Experience with Ellucian Banner finance system
  • Must be detailed and service oriented, and reliable.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Outlook).
  • Functional knowledge of accounting policies and procedures.  Familiarity with chart of accounts.
  • Strong organizational, analytical, time-management, and multi-tasking skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong attention to detail, problem solving and reconciliation skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to analyze transactions and prepare journal entries.
  • Excellent customer service and written and verbal communication skills with diverse groups of people.  Interpersonal skills including tact, good judgment, diplomacy and flexibility in relating to a diverse scientific research staff, faculty, and staff personnel at all levels of the Institute.
  • Must 10-key by touch.
The expected pay range for this position is $26.92 to $32.26 per hour. Salk Institute provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the institute reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location, and external market pay for comparable jobs. 


  • Adaptability - Adapts to changes in the work environment; Manages competing demands; Changes approach or method to best fit the situation; Able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events.
  • Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Commits to long hours of work when necessary to reach goals; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.
  • Initiative - Volunteers readily; Undertakes self-development activities; Seeks increased responsibilities; Takes independent actions and calculated risks; Looks for and takes advantage of opportunities; Asks for and offers help when needed.
  • Problem Solving - Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations; Uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.
  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Treats others with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.
  • Teamwork - Balances team and individual responsibilities; Exhibits objectivity and openness to others' views; Gives and welcomes feedback; Contributes to building a positive team spirit; Puts success of team above own interests; Able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives; Supports everyone's efforts to succeed.
  • Technical Skills - Assesses own strengths and weaknesses; Pursues training and development opportunities; Strives to continuously build knowledge and skills; Shares expertise with others.
  • Quality - Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Applies feedback to improve performance; Monitors own work to ensure quality.


  • Occasionally required to stand
  • Occasionally required to walk
  • Continually required to sit
  • Frequently required to talk or hear
  • While performing the duties of this job, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet

The Salk Institute is an internationally renowned research institution that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. We seek bold and interactive leaders passionate about exploring new frontiers in science. Our collaborative community embraces diverse perspectives and unique life experiences, fostering innovation, and a sense of belonging. Together, we strive to improve the wellbeing of humanity through groundbreaking research.

The above is intended to describe the general content of and requirements for the performance of this job.  It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or physical requirements.  Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Working at Salk Institute for Biological Studies

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world's preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused on both discovery and mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.

Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M.D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.

Salk Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is committed to providing equal access to opportunities for students, employees, applicants for employment and other persons.

Our policies prohibit harassment or unlawful discrimination against individuals on the basis of sex, gender, marital or parental status, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, medical conditions/disabilities related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation age, ancestry, color, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), family and/or medical care leave status, disability (mental or physical), registered domestic partner status, legally protected medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status (disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, other covered veteran status), national origin (including language use restrictions and possession of a driver’s license), race, religion or any other classification protected by local, state or federal laws.

The Salk Institute participates in the E-Verify program.

Reasonable accommodation is available for qualified individuals with disabilities and for individuals with religious restrictions.

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