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Research Accountant 1

Job Details


Title: Research Accountant 1

Department: Division of Research Administration (DRA) office as a part of the Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development

Job Summary/Essential Job Functions

This position serves as an Accountant Level I in the Division of Research Administration (DRA). This department provides financial administrative service to the research community for post-award functions as part of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development. Sponsored project and agency fund expenditures financially reported and collected by this unit totaled $468M in FY2023. Accountants within DRA are responsible for the financial management of millions of dollars per individual portfolio; financial compliance reviews; submitting financial reports; providing financial guidance to Principal Investigators, Business Managers, Budget Directors, and others within UT departments; serving as financial point of contact with outside sponsors; and accounts receivable collections. This is a very fast-paced, high volume environment in which one must be able to manage multiple deadlines; exercise good judgment and decision making skills; apply knowledge of UT fiscal policy, federal regulations, and sponsors’ terms and conditions; and conform to those requirements to reduce the risk of loss of funds for the University. The Accountant Level I has substantial accountability, independent decision making capabilities, and handles numerous sponsors. This position performs financial tasks with minimal supervision, has extensive latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment, and draws conclusions on financial and compliance-related issues. Research Accountants provide exceptional service to faculty, staff, administrators, and sponsors regarding the fiscal management of sponsored funds; the mitigation of potential compliance risks and liability; the navigation of research administration tools and systems; and and the overall management of sponsored accounts. This position is part of the career path program within DRA involving increasing levels of responsibilities from Accountant Level I, to Accountant Level II, to Accountant Level III, to Manager.

Duties and Responsibilities

Post-Award Financial Administration

•  Provides guidance and oversight to Researchers, Business Managers, Budget Directors, and others within UT departments in the fiscal management of sponsored funds.

•  Interprets and applies fiscal regulations and guidelines to ensure all Federal, State, University, and private sponsor requirements are met for effective financial reporting purposes.

•  Evaluates allowability and allocability of costs based on federal regulations, sponsor terms, fiscal policies, and other applicable guidelines to report to sponsors.

•  Analyzes and effectively resolves problems related to all aspects of financial compliance.

•  Evaluates sponsors' financial terms and conditions; departmental and sponsors' budgets and corresponding justifications; and financial reporting requirements of awards for efficient and compliant account management.

•  Monitors sponsor budgets, cost share, subawards, guidelines, and expenses for allowability and compliance.

•  Manages numerous and competing deadlines to ensure contractual terms and conditions are met and the University is not exposed to financial liability due to missed deadlines.

•  Proficiently utilizes an array of secure web-based federal, state, and private sponsor systems for financial reporting, letter of credit draws, and reimbursement requests per sponsor requirements.

•  Monitors accounts receivable to maximize the University's cash flow. Recommends referral of delinquent accounts to UT Legal Counsel.

•  Prepares reports quarterly, semi-annually, and annually for federal agencies and sponsors as required.

•  Annually reviews fund balances to properly classify revenues for University financial statements.

•  Develops, prepares, and maintains the closeout of reports, financial documentation, Schedules of Final Charges, and related work papers that accurately represent financial expenses to sponsors per University fiscal policy and sponsor guidelines. Work papers detail adjustments, reconciliations, justifications, cost share information, program income and all other facets involved in the accurate reporting of a sponsored project.


•  Conducts and monitors compliance activities and accurately applies relevant fiscal policies and sponsor requirements to mitigate the risks of financial liability that could result from Federal, State, University, and private audits.

•  Analyzes expenditure documentation to determine if allowable, allocable, and consistently applied.

•  Interprets and enforces award terms and conditions to ensure financial compliance.

•  Monitors applicable salary cap restrictions, timely effort certification, potential high-risk expenditures, and directs departments on corrective resolutions.

•  Reviews cost share expenditures, third party, and in-kind cost share to ensure compliance with sponsor requirements.

•  Participates and assists with internal and external audit related issues.

•  Monitors limitation of funds requirements and advises Researchers, Business Managers, Budget Directors, and others within UT departments when to contact sponsors for additional funding.

•  Stays abreast of Federal, State, and University regulations related to research issues by researching materials and attending conferences, among other methods, to advance knowledge and understanding of complex compliance risk-assessment and mitigation.

Collaboration External to Department

•  Provides exceptional service to faculty, staff, administrators, and sponsors regarding the fiscal management of sponsored funds; the mitigation of potential compliance risks and liability; the navigation of research administration tools and systems; and and the overall management of sponsored accounts. Assists in pro-actively identifying, proposing solutions, and working towards resolution of complex matters.

•  Coordinates with departments, Principal Investigators, Controller's Office, Treasurer's Office, General Counsel, and DRA Proposal and Awards teams for the accurate, timely, and compliant completion of closeout documents.

•  Serves as liaison with sponsoring agencies regarding fiscal and administrative matters.

•  Assists in the preparation of related training materials and the organization of workshops to provide guidance to Principal Investigators, Business Managers, and other departmental staff.

Collaboration Internal to Department

•  Instrumental in the testing and implementation of innovative digital processes regarding research projects which will position DRA to more closely align with the University's goal to be a Top 25 public research organization and to become more environmentally conscious and cost-efficient.

•  Provides input and collaborative support to streamline operations, automate processes, formalize procedures, enhance customer service, and facilitate departmental goals.

•  Serves as a mentor to newly-hired Accountants to guide their professional development.

•  Collaborates to develop internal training materials to provide guidance.

Required knowledge, skills, and abilities

*Ability to communicate effectively, including active listening skills, plus the ability to work with a diverse group of faculty, staff, administrators and other stakeholders.

*Ability to prioritize and manage a high-volume of complex projects simultaneously to meet constant deadlines in a fast-paced environment with changing priorities.

*Ability to be detail-oriented with strong organizational and problem-solving skills.

*Ability to be flexible, have sound judgment with an open and collaborative style of work that encourages teamwork and cooperation.

*Ability to provide excellent customer service with a commitment to exceptional quality.

*Ability to think analytically, quantitatively, creatively, and strategically and to work with ambiguity.

*Skill to be an independent thinker with professional skepticism.

*Ability to be a team player who works well collectively and collaboratively with colleagues to achieve common goals.

*Knowledge of Microsoft Office.

Preferred knowledge, skills, and abilities

*Knowledge of research administration issues including financial management and the ability to interpret and communicate federal, state, and local laws and regulations related to research administration operations, policies, and procedures.

*Knowledge of UT fiscal, human resource, and research policies

*Knowledge of Uniform Guidance, Federal Acquisition Regulations, and granting agency requirements.

*Experience with IRIS, Cayuse, and PowerBI

Required level/type of experience and/or years of experience

Bachelor's Degree and three years of accounting-related work experience and minimum of six hours of accredited college accounting course

Preferred level/type of experience and/or years of experience

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting or business-related field Experience working with grants and contracts in a University setting Certified Research Administrator or Certified Public Accountant

Other Conditions of Employment required to perform essential functions of this position

  It is essential that the employee in this position obtains access to sponsors’ portals for financial reporting and billings. Access to sponsor portals may require creating personal accounts using personal information.

Additional Information

Please attach the following electronic documents to the application: Cover letter, resume, and the names, addresses (postal and electronic), and telephone numbers of at least three references.


Job: Other Professional
Primary Location: US-Tennessee-knoxville
Organization: Financial Management & Compliance
Schedule: Part-time
Job Posting: May 10, 2024, 8:35:51 AM


Working at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Founded in 1794, the University of Tennessee is one of the nation’s oldest and most storied public universities. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee’s flagship land-grant institution includes the statewide Institute of Agriculture and the Space Institute in Tullahoma. The university embodies excellence in teaching, discovery, scholarship, research, creative activity, outreach, and engagement. Known as the Volunteers, we lead with a spirit of selflessness, empathy, and courage, and strive to be champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion

UT Knoxville is a Research 1 university with 11 academic colleges and more than 900 programs of study. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, our academic programs are repeatedly ranked top in their class. The university co-manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the country’s most prominent national lab, driving innovation in advanced manufacturing and materials, national security, and more. We are closely connected with our communities through outreach and extension efforts across Tennessee and through partnerships with non-profits, corporations, and industries—regionally, nationally, and around the globe.

The city of Knoxville is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The modern, thriving community is surrounded by gorgeous lakes and hundreds of miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails. Situated along the banks of the Tennessee River, our beautiful features an eclectic music scene, internationally recognized festivals, unique restaurants, and a robust offering of diverse cultural activities. Knoxville is located within a day’s drive of Atlanta, Nashville, Asheville, Charlotte, Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Knoxville and the surrounding counties have a population of more than 850,000 people. The region houses many leading corporations and organizations, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pilot/Flying J, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Regal Cinemas, along with HGTV, Food Network, and other networks owned by Discovery Inc.

As a member of the UT family, you will be surrounded by top-notch faculty, staff, and students from around the world. You will be part of a diverse campus community that is passionate about changing the world and cheering for the Vols on game day.

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