Director of Finance and Administration

Remote - Tucson, AZ

Organization Overview

LSST Discovery Alliance (LSST-DA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that aims to bridge the gap between the challenges and the opportunities posed by data-intensive, open data, astrophysics projects.  LSST-DA’s work focuses on the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST).  In 2025, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory will begin the LSST - an unprecedented 4-dimensional map of the Universe with the world’s largest digital camera on a new telescope in Chile.  This map will generate curated, open access, astronomical data at a scale never previously seen.  LSST is destined to have a transformative impact on humankind’s understanding of the Universe. 

LSST-DA is currently a small organization in terms of FTE (6 FTE), but has a complex structure and global reach. LSST-DA is funded by dues from member institutions, grants from foundations, and donations from corporations and individual donors.  LSST-DA also awards grants to both individuals and institutions around the globe.  LSST-DA leverages the expertise, ideas, and commitment of Alliance members (currently more than 30 institutions around the globe) and our close collaboration with the Rubin Project and LSST Science Collaborations.

We offer an outstanding benefits package, a supportive work environment, and opportunities for professional growth and development.   To apply for this position, please submit a resume or CV, a cover letter that describes your interest in and qualifications for this position, and the contact information for 3 professional references. 

General Description of Position

The Director of Finance and Administration (DFA) is responsible for the financial and administrative operations for LSST Discovery Alliance (LSST-DA), implementing sound financial practices and systems that ensure and promote the organization’s continued growth and success.  The DFA will be a critical partner to the CEO in the internal operations of LSST Discovery Alliance, including in strategic decision making, as LSST Discovery Alliance continues to enhance its programming and build capacity.  This is a new role for LSST-DA, to support evolution of our operations model in response to current and anticipated growth and a changing operations landscape.

Responsibilities include: managing the financial aspects of LSST-DA operations; ensuring timely and successful day-to-day financial operations of LSST-DA; leading financial planning, analysis, and reporting; supporting the financial aspects of grant administration; and establishing or improving upon the organization's administrative and financial policies and procedures.  Responsibilities also include management of administrative business functions including insurance, legal compliance, risk management, and IT. 

Salary range is $110,000 to $150,000 and is based on experience.  The position may be performed from anywhere in the continental United States.

Essential Functions

Financial Planning, Analysis and Reporting – Organization Wide

  • Lead the annual budgeting and planning process in collaboration with the CEO.
  • Prepare and review all financial plans and budgets, monitor progress and changes, and keep senior leadership abreast of the organization’s financial status.
  • Analyze and present monthly and annual financial statements to the CEO and Project Manager.  Explain critical financial matters to the Audit and Finance Committee and Board of Directors.
  • Coordinate and lead the annual audit and tax return (Form 990 and any other applicable state or information returns) preparation processes.
  • Liaise with external accounting consultant on technical accounting matters to ensure all accounting positions are documented and technical accounting guidance is properly implemented.
  • Update and implement all necessary business policies and accounting practices; improve the financial operations policy and procedure manual.
  • Serve as the day-to-day point of contact for all accounting functions including payroll, accounts payable, member contribution billing and collection, and all other transactional accounting. Prepares and/or oversees account reconciliations for all balance sheet accounts.

Grants (Incoming and Outgoing) Administration

  • Review budgets and budget justifications for grant proposals from LSST-DA to funding agents, prior to submission to funder. Record and track newly created project accounts and activities.  Oversee adherence to funding requirements.
  • Oversee all operations, project, and philanthropic fund accounting.   Ensure prompt tracking and communication of all philanthropic donations to the Development Team.
  • Participate in LSST-DA outgoing grant-making activities including review of budgets and budget justification submitted to LSST-DA to request funding.  Monitor performance-based grant requirements linked to additional funding.
  • Serve as a liaison with university administrators, state, federal, and private funding sources for both incoming and outgoing grant activities.

Business and Administrative Management

  • Oversee administrative functions to ensure efficient and consistent operations as the organization scales.
  • In preparing and reviewing budgets, proposals, and procedures, ensure that they are in line with 501(c)(3) regulations.
  • With the CEO, assure that the organization is in good financial health. 
  • Review or draft (as needed) all MOUs, MOAs, SOWs, and contracts for LSST-DA and ensure that they are regularly monitored.
  • Manage an IT consultant to ensure staff members have the computing technology resources they need, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies.
  • Work with outside insurance broker to ensure all appropriate insurance coverages are in place for the organization.
  • Liaise and consult with an outside legal consultant, as needed to ensure compliant operations.

Employee Relations

  • Lead comprehensive onboarding and training to educate employees regarding staff tools and resources, policies, and procedures.
  • In reviewing and preparing work products and budgets, ensure that staff members follow company policies and procedures.
  • Work closely and transparently with LSST-DA’s outsourced Human Resources consultant and the CEO to enhance professional development, compensation and benefits, performance evaluation, and training.

Other Functions

  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, or a related field. 10+ years of experience overall and 5+ years of experience in a leadership and management position in a complex for-profit or not-for-profit organization (or equivalent experience).
  • Skills and experience consistent with a graduate degree in Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, or a related discipline.
  • Advanced knowledge of business management practices and regulatory frameworks for non-profit organizations.
  • Substantial non-profit and project accounting experience, with multiple revenue streams.
  • Strict attention to deadlines and a proactive work ethic. 
  • Able to effectively prioritize work, to set and meet realistic goals, and to make decisions using sound judgement. 
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Superb attention to detail with pride in accuracy.
  • Strong communication, technology, organizational, and leadership skills.
  • Mastery of QuickBooks Online and Microsoft 365 apps, including Excel.  Familiarity with third-party accounts payable solutions such as preferred.
  • Currently and legally authorized to work in the United States.