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Manager of Finance and Operations

School of Engineering and Applied Science Admin

Manager of Finance and Operations

  • 530302
  • Morningside
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science Admin
  • Full Time
  • Opening on: Oct 11 2022
  • Grade 13
  • Job Type: Officer of Administration
  • Bargaining Unit:
  • Regular/Temporary: Regular
  • End Date if Temporary:
  • Hours Per Week: 35
  • Salary Range:

Position Summary

Reporting to the Managing Director of the Center for Learning the Earth with Artificial Intelligence & Physics (LEAP), the Manager of Finance and Operations is responsible for managing the day-to-day financial transactions and the Center’s accounting operations in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). The Manager administers the $5M annual Center budget, implements and enforces internal controls, provides reporting and analyses on financial activities, budget projections, and burnout rate, and collaborates closely with internal financial offices of SEAS and Columbia University. The Manager will also identify and track additional grant funding opportunities, help lead grant proposal development and submission in coordination with LEAP PIs, and submit and monitor the status of submitted grant applications. The Manager will also work closely with the Managing Director to administer the annual Request for Proposals (RFP) and oversee related budget transfers and salary distribution requests. As a member of a collaborative staff for the Center, this person contributes to event planning and implementation. They are also the primary contact with SEAS and Columbia Facilities on facilities issues.            


  • (40%) Budget Administration, Financial Controls, and Reporting:

    Budget Administration and Reconciliation. Under the direction of the Managing Director, actively administers the Center’s administrative operating budget. Performs monthly reconciliation of Center accounts, actively monitors Center expenditures to prevent overdrafts, and provides projections to the Center. Investigates and resolves variances and recommends budget modifications to adjust levels of spending.  Works with Central University offices on setting up activities, scopes on the grant, and any budget modifications.

    Internal Controls.  Assists in developing, and is responsible for implementing and enforcing, the Center’s financial transaction- and accounting-related standard operating procedures (SOPs).  Monitors the Center’s financial activity to ensure compliance with departmental, SEAS, and University policies and procedures. Coordinates with SEAS Finance, CU Internal Audit, SPA/SPF, and other internal stakeholders, including sub-awardees, to comply with any audit requirements. 

    Closing and Reporting. Provides data analysis and reporting and works in close collaboration with the SEAS Finance team to complete all year-end transactions for the Center. Prepares monthly budget projections and burn rate, and provides budget reports for the Center’s annual report, as well as post-award reporting to the NSF.

    Internal Collaboration. Serves as a liaison with A/P, Procurement, the Dean’s Office, Sponsored Projects Finance, and other internal CU stakeholders on financial and operational matters.

    External Collaboration. Serves as a liaison with external partners and their financial professionals on financial and operational matters, which are funded through subawards. Monitors and processes subaward to the Center partners.

    Annual Requests for Proposals (RFP). Assist the Managing Director in administering and renewing the annual RFP, which will serve as the internal funding mechanism for the Center’s research activities.


  • (20%) Daily Financial Operations, Payroll Accounting, and HR Support:

    Initiation of Financial Transactions.  Initiates all Center finance transactions including but not limited to Travel and Business Expense Reimbursements (TBERs), purchase orders (PO), and processing invoices. Reviews and reconciles all Pcard and Ccard transactions associated with the Center, as applicable.  Processes any receipt of funds associated with Center activities and ensures funds are recorded on the appropriate projects. Creates projects and chartfields as needed.

    Initiation of Payroll Transactions.  Initiates or reviews cost transfers and prepares salary distribution requests (SDRs) to ensure proper allocation of expenditures within the Center, and departmental and Dean’s Office accounts. Manages the Center’s casual and work-study payroll. Journal Entries. Initiates / reviews journal entries and internal costs, and oversees the allocation of expenses and recoveries

    Support the hiring and appointment functions of the Center.  This includes understanding the various appointment and hiring processes, advising Center faculty on these processes, and working with them to procure relevant paperwork for hires. Initiates various hiring and appointment transactions in PAC.



  • (20%) Awards Proposal and Grants Management:

    Researches, identifies, and tracks additional grant funding and business development opportunities to further sustain and broaden LEAP’s reach.

    Drafts grant proposals/LOIs, grant application narratives, and supporting budgets in coordination with LEAP PIs and the Managing Director. Helps lead grant proposal submission, including but not limited to preparing and organizing materials, in coordination with LEAP PIs and the Managing Director.

    Submits grant applications and monitors the status of submissions. Maintains a master calendar of grants and prospects, all associated files and correspondence, and a library of grant support documents (e.g., resumes, CVs, bios, forms, etc.).

    Event and Facilities Support:

    Event planning support. Assist with knowledge transfer, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and educational events organization and event support. Manages Capital Improvements.  As needed, coordinates with the SEAS Facilities staff and CU Facilities to plan, implement, and monitor Center renovations and other facilities projects.

    Service Tickets.  Initiates service tickets and works with SEAS Facilities and CU Facilities to follow-up on facilities-related needs within the Center. Travels.  Manages travel reimbursement and funds advance.


  • (5%) Interfacing and Development:

    Hands-on Leadership. Demonstrates day-to-day leadership and guidance to staff by proactively managing and providing clear, timely and University-compliant solutions on a wide range of financial and other administrative matters.  Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Receives training on DEI in the workplace.

    Interfacing. Interfaces with other parts of the center (research, education, DEI) requiring budget allocation. Development and Documentation of SOPs.  Works with staff to document workplace procedures and processes and to optimize efficiency through standardization.

    Innovation, Transparency and Continuous Improvement. Identifies and recommends process improvements and promotes a culture of innovation, advancement, and continuous improvement. Provides appropriate summaries of budget spending on a public platform (e.g., Github) for budget transparency with the Center and with the funding agencies and partners.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree is required, with a preference for training in Finance, Accounting, or other relevant fields. Master’s Degree preferred.
  • 4-6 years of hands-on experience in financial administration and supervisory/management experience required.
  • 2+ years of experience in fundraising, grant writing or grants management required.
  • Detail-oriented and possess quantitative skills with a high degree of proficiency in spreadsheets using Excel and Google Sheets.
  • Experience in higher education or other large, complex institutions is preferred. Familiarity with Columbia financial systems, particularly the Accounting at Columbia (ARC) system, is desired.
  • Experience with running a financial report for project reconciliation and budgeting; experience in the University Budget Tools, handling labor accounting in People @ Columbia (PAC), working in the Financial Front End (FFE) and RASCAL systems desired.


Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

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