Beginning in 2011, Pittsburgh nonprofit organizations with similar or related missions started collaborating to share one employee who would provide a similar function for each organization as a way to share costs and to collectively gain access to a more skilled individual than they could afford working alone. This approach has worked extremely well in the functional areas of Human Resources (http://philanthropynewsdigest.org) and Financial Strategy (Environmental Finance Collaborative - http://www.post-gazette.com/business; Arts Finance Cohort - http://triblive.com; CBO Collaborative - http://neighborhoodallies.com/locations/lawrenceville-united-2016-small-simple/).
In light of this success, five nonprofit organizations with environmental education-focused elements of their respective missions and programs have come together as the Environmental Education Finance Collaborative (“EEFC”). The EEFC is a group of five organizations hiring a Shared Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) to develop a planning process, seek funding, and secure the professional guidance to undertake capitalization planning.
The CFO supports the goals of the EEFC. The members (and their missions) are:
- Pennsylvania Resources Council (“PRC”) - To lead and promote individual and collective actions to preserve Pennsylvania’s environmental resources for each generation.
- Venture Outdoors (“VO”) - We believe everyone deserves the chance to experience how incredibly fun the outdoors can be, so we provide the gear, guidance and inspiration to make outdoor recreation part of people’s lives.
- Allegheny Land Trust (“ALT”) - We serve as the lead land trust conserving and stewarding lands that support the scenic, recreational, and environmental well-being of communities in Allegheny County and its environs.
- Hollow Oak Land Trust (“HOLT”) - A nonprofit conservation organization that protects and connects greenspace with an emphasis in the Pittsburgh Airport Corridor.
- Three Rivers Waterkeeper (“3RWK”) - We protect and improve the water quality of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. 3RWK is both a scientific and legal advocate for the community, working to ensure our three rivers are safe to drink, fish, swim, and enjoy.
This position has primary responsibility for providing participating organizations access to a higher level of strategic financial management and oversight than each would be able to afford independently. Work will be confidential in nature and a confidentiality agreement will be required.
While the Chief Financial Officer will be a full-time exempt employee of Pennsylvania Resources Council (the largest of the collaborating organizations), the position will report directly to the Executive Directors of each participating organization in accordance with the EEFC Operating Agreement. The CFO will provide high-level financial and operations support, as well as assistance with specific projects, problems, and tasks. Required are demonstrated high-level finance and accounting skills and the administrative expertise needed to advise and provide oversight for financial operations and accounting, financial analysis, reporting, and planning. The successful candidate must have the demonstrated ability to conduct financial analyses, forecasting, budgeting, and overseeing the production of audited financial statements.
The CFO will be responsible for the following:
Building and Enhancing Infrastructure
- Building and integrating information and systems – to ensure that data is captured in a timely and accurate manner and is available to all levels of the organization as well as to ensure that proper IT systems are being used for maximum efficiency.
- Focusing on process maturity and methods – in recognition that well-conceived and functioning processes yield the most accurate financial data.
- Providing oversight and coaching – to provide advice and encouragement so that data is being utilized as much as possible and interpreted accurately.
- Providing “hands on” support when necessary – realizing that in small organizations, it is sometimes necessary to get into the details in furtherance of goals.
- Specific tasks:
- Enhancing accounting and reporting systems and methods to simplify and streamline financial processes and provide as real-time information as possible.
- Working to integrate systems and information and propose solutions to automate and integrate when possible.
- Supporting financial staff, as appropriate, and supplement when necessary to ensure accurate and timely financial statements.
Encouraging a High-Performing Culture
- Strategic focus – assisting Executive Directors and Boards in maintaining a focus on strategic outcomes through aligned budgeting and management of financial performance.
- Decision support – ensuring that decisions are made with data and cost benefit analyses.
- Meaningful and timely information across the organization – delivering information across all levels of the organization in recognition that all employees have some part to play in financial performance.
- Continuous improvement – ensuring a long-term vision for improvement and achievement of best practices in financial management.
- Specific Tasks:
- Serving as a champion of on-going process improvements to align strategic objectives and provide support and advice to staff.
- Empowering staff with financial information relevant to achieving their goals and program objectives.
- Supervising, with the Executive Directors, the annual budgeting process with a focus on program alignment and strategy. Implement process changes to build a better and more meaningful budget.
- Attending relevant staff meetings and providing advice as appropriate.
- Technical expertise is applied to ensure accounting rules are properly followed.
- Financial information is timely, accurate, and made available to decision makers.
- Processes and procedures are documented and enhanced when necessary.
- The internal control environment is strong, functioning, and monitored.
- Specific Tasks:
- Reviewing work of the Bookkeeper (or other financial staff) as appropriate.
- Reviewing and analyzing monthly financial dashboards and detailed financial statements.
- Performing monthly cash flow projection.
- Making specific policy and procedure enhancements and documenting them appropriately.
- Managing annual audit process, including coordination with auditors, supervision of interim and final fieldwork visits, review financial statements, Form 990 and BCO filing prepared by auditors, and present to management and finance committees.
- Acting as a supervisory control when necessary to enhance segregation of duties.
Serving as a Business Partner
- Close partnership/peer relationship with Executive Director or designated Staff - providing an additional source of advice and review on major issues and decisions impacting the organization.
- Board and Finance Committee resource – providing information and advice as they exercise their fiduciary oversight responsibilities.
- Specific tasks:
- Attending each organization’s board and finance committee meetings and providing commentary and explanations for financial performance. Evening hours will likely be required based on the board and committee meeting schedules.
- Meeting on a regular basis with the ED to ensure focus on strategic objectives and goals for the fiscal year.
- Leading or supporting specific projects as agreed.
- Providing customized financial reports requested by funders in support of applications and compliance for grants, contracts, and other funding sources.
The successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate the following behavioral characteristics:
- Functional/Technical Skills - Has the functional and technical knowledge and skills to do the job at a high level of accomplishment.
- Business Acumen – Knows how businesses work; knowledgeable in current and possible future policies, practices, trends, developments in e-commerce, and information affecting his/her business and organization; knows the competition; is aware of how strategies and tactics work in the marketplace.
- Composure – Is cool under pressure; does not become defensive or irritated when times are tough; is considered mature; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off-balance by the unexpected; doesn’t show frustration when resisted or blocked; is a settling influence in a crisis.
- Integrity and Trust – Is widely trusted; is seen as a direct, truthful individual; can present the unvarnished truth in an appropriate and helpful manner; keeps confidences; admits mistakes; doesn’t misrepresent him/herself for personal gain.
- Dealing with Ambiguity – Can effectively cope with change; can shift gears comfortably; can decide and act without having the total picture; isn’t upset when things are up in the air; doesn’t have to finish things before moving on; can comfortably handle risk and uncertainty.
- Listening – Practices attentive and active listening; has the patience to hear people out; can accurately restate the opinions of others even when he/she disagrees.
- Planning – Accurately scopes out length and difficulty of tasks and projects; sets objectives and goals; breaks down work into the process steps; develops schedules and task/people assignments; anticipates and adjusts for problems and roadblocks; measures performance against goals; evaluates results.
- Teamwork – Works effectively and respectfully with management, board, and staff of each member organization; provides constructive support for overall mission, strategic plans, and programmatic priorities as identified by management and board of each member organization.
- Time Management – Uses his/her time effectively and efficiently; values time; has ability to allocate time equitably among the five member organizations and their respective business units; concentrates his/her efforts on the more important priorities; gets more done in less time than others; can attend to a broader range of activities.