The Financial Assistant provides day-to-day financial and accounting support using an advanced knowledge of applicable skills, methods and practices and some innovation, analysis, and reasoning to choose appropriate alternatives from among pre-defined policies and procedures to complete work that includes successive steps and involves some non-routine problems and/or decisions. Applies industry and professional standards, university policy and procedure, federal and state laws and other regulations. This role provides administrative and/or clerical support.
- Maintains and tracks individual budget accounts.
- Coordinates annual budget process including tasks associated with the open/close processes.
- Updates calendar, spreadsheets, templates and forms; monitors submissions.
- Completes reconciliation procedures.
- Creates summary reports.
- Coordinates and/or provides information for annual salary review process.
- Analysis, Statements and Reporting:
- Prepares account, budget, cost, expenditure and/or funds analysis.
- Provides reports to managers/PIs in tracking payment status and notification when balances and activities do not comply with policy, procedures or are inadequately prepared.
- Creates reports and queries; reviews for incomplete records, data entry errors, and/or accounting mistakes.
- May analyze open encumbrances that are no longer valid and recommend appropriate modifications to ensure smooth processing of financial transactions.
- Completes and maintains transactions in enterprise systems.
- Provides review and oversight of all types of financial transactions some of which may be complex in regard to size or duration of account.
- Reviews; ensures approval based on alternatives regarding practice and policy.
- Troubleshoots problems.
- Performs vendor/account research as needed.
- Obtains additional information from or provides instruction and guidance for customers/vendors; corrects or escalates.
- Accesses multiple banking systems to process transactions, retrieve information, and/or initiate wire transfers.
- Provides financial policy interpretation to determine the validity of customer requests and ensure compliance.
- Contacts outside agencies, banks and/or banking systems to obtain clarification of rules and/or regulations.
- Enters information into database.
Grants and/or Awards:
- Provides assistance regarding grant financial administration such as preparing financial information for grant submission.
- Completes post award accounting.
- Sets-up sub-contracts and/or start-up research accounts.
- Modifies grant budgets.
- Closes grants.
- Approves expenditures on travel, consulting and/or equipment, along with various forms, such as Intra Institutional Vouchers, Requests for Accounting Corrections, the Research Assistant and Scholarship Appointments, and/or payroll adjustments, in accordance with granting agency guidelines and University policies and procedures.
- Processes subcontract payments according to rules and regulations of granting agencies.
- Reconciles subcontract payments.
- Verifies payroll funding entries.
- Corrects charges to various accounts.
- Provides excellent customer service, over the phone and in person answering standard questions regarding status of requests, policies and procedures for processing transactions, and/or instructions for completing paperwork.
- Instructs and advises regarding options and appropriate courses of action and follows-up inquiries to ensure customer satisfaction.
- Completes other administrative and/or clerical activities such as organizing meetings; reserving AV equipment.
- Coordinates office, lab and/or building repairs and maintenance.
- Maintains inventory.
- Assists with training of new staff members
- Creates and provides financial training on practice, procedure, policy and/or laws and regulations to customers.
Performs other duties as assigned.
- High school diploma or the equivalent.
- 3 years accounting and/or bookkeeping or other relevant experience.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
- Excellent computer skills including proficiency in the use of spreadsheet, database and word processing software.
- Familiarity with financial reporting.
- Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in finance-related field; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
- Prior working experience in an academic setting.
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
- Ability to work independently and in a team setting;
- Excellent communication skills, both written and oral;
- Demonstrated ability to think proactively;
- Demonstrated high attention to detail; and
- Ability to thinking analytically.
As per Northwestern University policy, this position requires a criminal background check. Successful applicants will need to submit to a criminal background check prior to employment.
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. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.