Director of Finance / Operations – COMPASS (Science Communications) – Portland, OR


COMPASS is an innovative nonprofit that empowers scientists to effectively communicate and engage in the public discourse about the environment. Emerging from fifteen years of fiscal sponsorship, relying on the infrastructure of the sponsoring organization, COMPASS will become an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2016. We are seeking a collaborative, motivated, and organized leader to serve as our Director of Finance and Administration to support this transition, and lead and manage the finance, operations and administrative aspects of our work moving forward.

COMPASS provides communication trainings for scientists and supports scientists to engage with media and policymakers. We are a networked organization with 15 staff and part-time contractors in several states. Our $2+ million budget consists of multiple grants and contracts. Our staff and revenue have doubled in the last decade and we anticipate continued growth. We are passionate, motivated, connected and networked. We strive for our operations, finance and administration to support and keep pace with our programmatic work and growth.

The Director of Finance and Administration (DFA) will be a thought partner with the Executive Director to design and implement a new financial system and oversee the administration and operations needed to operate as an independent organization. The DFA will recommend and implement our fund accounting, payroll, time-tracking and personnel systems. S/he will oversee all aspects of administration (e.g., risk management, HR and IT support, facilities and equipment). The DFA will work with the organizations’ directors on strategic planning and will lead the annual budgeting process. S/he will take pride in creating efficient, effective financial information systems and in supporting our team in financial planning and tracking. The DFA will work with the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors and supervise administrative staff. The DFA will also lead the organization’s efforts in human resources, compliance, and operations.

Our team is our most important asset in achieving our mission. We strive to create an innovative, connected and collaborative environment. We look to hire people whose beliefs align with ours and reflect our culture.

People on the COMPASS team are:

Passionate about science, the environment, and the role of scientists in a productive public discourse
Connectors who bridge the worlds of science, journalism, policy
Innovative and entrepreneurial
Effective coaches and trainers
Adaptable and flexible
Committed to people and relationships
Respected by scientists
Resourceful and ambitious
Forward thinking
Graceful facilitators
Generous in spirit

Learn more about COMPASS’s mission and the change we seek in the world by exploring our website, our blog, and our theory of change (pdf).

Director of Finance and Administration’s Roles and Responsibilities

The DFA designs, implements, and oversees COMPASS’s financial and administrative systems, processes, policies, and controls in order to best advance COMPASS’s activities, programs, goals and mission.

The DFA will work with the Executive Director and senior staff on strategic planning while leading our financial projections, decisions related to our business filters, and contributing to our organizational growth with business, financial and operational leadership. The DFA is a “servant leader” to the COMPASS staff and Board, strengthening their knowledge and skills in financial planning, budgeting, and record keeping; providing clear, timely, accurate, and useful financial reports; and overseeing technology, personnel and facilities to help foster a supportive and healthy work environment.

As a member of COMPASS’ management team, the DFA leads and manages all aspects of COMPASS’ financial, accounting, human resources, and other administrative systems. S/he is the staff liaison to the Board Finance Committee, works with the Treasurer to plan Committee meeting agendas and participates in Committee meetings. The DFA will supervise staff that contribute to the organization’s operations and administration (from 1 – 3 FTEs), and may also oversee part-time contractors.

The DFA develops and implements policies and strategies across the organization to meet multiple objectives, including facilitating the work of the Program Directors. The DFA assures accurate tracking, reporting and compliance of COMPASS’ multiple revenue streams, including fees for service, contracts, grants, and donations. The DFA provides clear and timely financial reports serving multiple users and works cooperatively with COMPASS managers on project budgeting, tracking, and reporting.

Specifically, the DFA:

Selects and maintains COMPASS’ electronic accounting and financial reporting system.
Supervises operations and finance staff.
Accounts for COMPASS’ finances, including unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted funds according to GAAP.
Oversees accounts payable, accounts receivable, month-end, and year-end closing processes. Plans, monitors, and reports on cash flow to meet the organization’s needs.
Produces timely and accurate monthly financial statements and reports to funding agencies in the formats required.
Develops and maintains internal controls to document purchases and safeguard financial assets.
Implements payroll and purchasing systems; assures employment taxes are paid as required.
Coordinates the annual audit and the preparation of tax returns and 990 filings.
Manages the annual budget process, assists other directors in developing their programmatic budgets, provides draft and final budgets to management and assures clear budget narratives.
Manages the organization’s banking, insurance and accounting relationships.
Assures the organization maintains adequate insurance policies.
Researches, recommends, and implements employee compensation schedule.
Maintains personnel files.
Oversees and administers information and communication technology, leases and contracts.
Recommends and oversees document retention policy.
Maintains an inventory of fixed assets and depreciation schedules.
Advises on and oversees human resource needs.
Other duties as assigned.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

The successful candidate for COMPASS’s Director of Finance and Administration will have seven to ten years of experience in nonprofit accounting and management, including a high degree of skill in fund accounting in accordance with GAAP, project budgeting, and grant tracking and reporting using Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, ACCPAC, or a similar accounting software system. Experience with payroll and employee benefits, and familiarity with general nonprofit administration (HR, IT, risk management, facilities, etc.) is required. A Master’s degree in accounting or CPA is desirable.

High level of skill in:

Nonprofit accounting in accordance with GAAP. Familiarity with OMB Circulars A-133, A-110, and A-122, and applicable sections of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, ACCPAC, or similar accounting software systems and their application in nonprofit organizations.
Excel, Microsoft Office Suite, and use of databases.
Nonprofit governance and management practices and regulations affecting nonprofits.
General employment laws and regulations.
Organization and attention to detail.

Ability to:

Create user-friendly budgeting, grant tracking, and reporting systems that meet the needs of mangers and funders.
Recognize and be responsive to the needs of co-workers, customers, funders, and other stakeholders.
Communicate effectively in written and verbal form.
Supervise and motivate staff: implement feedback and performance management processes that support the culture of the organization and motivate and retain high performing staff, conduct performance reviews as appropriate, structure improvement plans if necessary.

Education and Experience

Bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from an accredited college or university or equivalent work experience; master’s degree in accounting, MBA, or CPA desirable.
Seven to ten years of hands-on accounting and financial management experience in a comparable complex nonprofit environment.
Purchasing, HR, IT, and risk management experience highly desirable.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Because COMPASS uses the Tides Center as a fiscal sponsor, the Tides Center is the legal employer of this position until we transition our payroll and HR to our own entity. Tides Center is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, including bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Applicants shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, medical condition (cancer-related) or conditions Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related conditions (ARC). Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

How to apply

Application Guidelines

To apply, please send a pdf (titled LastName_FirstName) to that includes:
A letter describing why you want to work for COMPASS and why you would be a great DFA.
A resume or CV.
Three professional references.

Application materials should be received by January 18, 2016. Position will remain open until filled. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

An electronic acknowledgement will be sent to all applicants. Please do not contact COMPASS unless your application is not acknowledged, in which case contact

Download a pdf of this announcement.

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