Assistant Controller


The Christensen Fund

The Christensen Fund (www.christensenfund.org) is a sixty-year old foundation in Northern California with a long history of funding internationally in the arts, environmental conservation and education. In December 2017, the Christensen Board approved a new iteration of Christensen’s mission, which refocuses the overall grantmaking strategy towards supporting the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It does so by building on our partners’ and Christensen’s strengths and experiences and reimagining our grantmaking strategy and organization to be in closer solidarity with the global Indigenous Peoples movement.

Vision Christensen envisions a bioculturally diverse world enriched and sustained by beautiful, bountiful and resilient communities, landscapes and seascapes.

Mission Christensen backs the global Indigenous Peoples movement in its efforts to advance the rights and opportunities of stewards of biocultural diversity.

The Opportunity

The Assistant Controller (AC) is a take-charge, hands-on role responsible for designing and implementing sound and prudent financial policies and practices consistent with relevant regulatory authorities and the policies of The Christensen Fund. The AC will build partnerships with Christensen staff and vendors, and facilitate funding to support Christensen’s domestic and international grantmaking. The AC will support investments and operations through strict, accurate and timely maintenance of financial controls, general and investment accounting, tax compliance and planning, budget, banking, payroll and benefits processing. The AC will implement all Christensen’s financial transactions and maintain a complete general ledger and file of financial records. The AC is a key member of the controls structure and reports to the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The Christensen Fund is seeking an AC who demonstrates strong organizational skills, attention to detail, leadership, and who is eager to learn and grow. S/he will be passionate about social justice, rights, and Christensen’s work.

Responsibilities 

The Assistant Controller will be based in San Francisco. Key responsibilities include:

Controls and Practices 

  • Together with COO, vigilantly maintain and improve strict controls and security for the use of Christensen resources and associated transactions in compliance with regulators and internal policies.
  • Exercise transparency and consistency to the maximum, prudent extent.
  • Segregate duties whenever possible in the design and implementation of financial processes, while keeping multiple reconciliation paths.

General Accounting 

  • Prepare and review Christensen’s general ledger and accounting records using QuickBooks and sound accounting principles.
  • Develop, implement and enforce compliance with regulations and Christensen accounting policies, procedures and systems.
  • Prepare and review annual and quarterly financial statements to support analysis of investments and expenses and budgets to the Board, the Budget Committee, Investment Committee, management and departments.
  • Consolidate reporting for a domestic subsidiary.
  • Perform monthly and year-end closes.
  • Manage financial aspects of relationships with vendors and subcontractors (e.g., financial administration of benefits, 1099, 1096).
  • Serve as designer, custodian, and enforcer of accounting policies, procedures and controls for key processes of domestic and international operations for: grant payments, investments, payroll and benefits, accounts payable and receivable, expense reporting and policies, monthly and annual closings, document retention.
  • Work closely with HR and Operations on payroll and benefits administration processes and management of fixed assets.
  • Maintain current knowledge of relevant accounting standards through participation in professional societies and peer networking.

Investment Accounting 

  • Reconcile all investment statements and accounts on a monthly or quarterly basis as appropriate; maintain investment records and databases.
  • Work with outsourced CIO and other investment managers as needed.

Manage Budget Operations 

  • Direct the annual organization and department financial planning and budget preparation process.
  • Prepare and partner with COO on quarterly budget performance analyses, reviews, and projections for the Board, management and departments to develop and implement measures to minimize variance.

Manage Cash Flow and Payments 

  • Reconcile projected expenses and cash flow requirements and coordinate with COO to plan redemption decisions; recommend to COO decisions for deployment of cash.
  • Oversee the management of internal banking controls, policies and procedures.
  • Manage Christensen’s multiple banking relationships and bank accounts to maximize value and reduce fees.
  • Oversee and make payment of grants, invoices, expense reports, and day-to-day cash receipts and disbursements and cash transfer functions including check writing, ACH and wire transfers.
  • Ensure that grants payable and grant expenses are accurately reported and accounts are reconciled, including reconciliations between grant database and accounting database.

Tax and Audit Compliance 

  • Provide oversight and timely, complete and accurate information to support: 1) external preparation of all federal and state tax returns and reporting and 2) the annual external audit and fieldwork.
  • Work with external advisors to ensure compliance with domestic and international regulatory requirements in areas of taxes, documentation requirements and retention, payroll and benefits.
  • Review quarterly tax estimates and estimated payments.
  • Maintain current knowledge of regulatory requirements affecting foundations and philanthropy.

Other relevant duties from time to time as needed. 

Candidate Profile 

The ideal candidate possesses the following professional and personal qualities and skills:

Organized systems-thinker and builder – The Assistant Controller displays complete ownership and accountability for all the work of the accounting function. Given the relatively small size of Christensen’s staff, this position must be hands-on. This person must be able to establish routines and improve processes to make the accounting function as effectively and efficiently as possible. The AC is a strong project manager and can anticipate challenges and address them before they become emergencies. S/he understands the importance of a strong financial infrastructure in allowing an organization to fulfill its mission.

High expectations –  The Assistant Controller has high expectations for his/her own work and takes pride in this work and final results. The AC is meticulous in his/her work.

Hunger to learn and grow – The Assistant Controller is someone who realizes there is always more to learn. Given the very particular field in which Christensen works (private foundation doing international grantmaking to Indigenous groups), it is likely there will be components of the AC role that will be new to whomever steps into this role. The AC is able to self-identify growth areas, asks questions, seeks solutions, and requests assistance openly. S/he seeks to understand deeply the work that Christensen does and the financial and operational mechanisms that allow this work to be done. The AC is someone who seeks to take on greater responsibility within the Finance/Operations team with time and who is eager to learn more about administrative and operational functions.

Technically and culturally competent – The Assistant Controller is an excellent bookkeeper, with experience in QuickBooks preferred. S/he has very strong Excel skills, and has experience with the Microsoft Suite (PowerPoint, Word), Google Suite (Gmail, Calendar, Drive), online banking (Wells Fargo CEO portal), expense management systems (Expensify), and CRM databases (Fluxx grants management platform). The AC is very comfortable with learning and mastering new technological platforms. In addition to strong technical skills, the AC must demonstrate an ability to engage positively and actively with culturally and geographically diverse staff and partners.

Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, finance, or related field, or equivalent experience; CPA or master’s degree in related field preferred
  • 5+ years in accounting roles with increasing responsibility, preferably with managerial experience
  • Experience with nonprofit accounting strong desired; experience with a private foundation preferred

Terms of Employment 

This position will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area office. A salary and benefits package commensurate with qualifications and experience will be provided.

To Apply 

Please submit an application packet to HR@christensenfund.org . A complete application packet consists of the following two items:

  • Cover letter outlining your relevant experience, salary requirements, and why you are interested in working in this position with The Christensen Fund.
  • Résumé (CV)

Review of credentials will begin immediately. Principals only. No phone calls please.

The Christensen Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer.