Chicago, IL, US
Nov 20, 2020
Position Title: Controller

F.T.E: 1.0

Location: 910 W. Van Buren Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Reports To: CFO

Start Date: December 2020

The Mission of Distinctive Schools, an educational practice leader committed to social justice and the elevation of access and achievement in historically marginalized communities, is to support each child in becoming an engaged and curious learner, a confident self-advocate, and a creative problem-solver by setting high expectations and nurturing a positive culture that honors diversity, collaboration, and optimism.

Position Description:

The Controller reports directly to the Chief Financial Officer and is the leader of accounting functions across all entities in the Distinctive Schools Network. This includes managing a high performing team of staff and consultants in the accounting department, as well as recommending, implementing and supporting processes, systems and training for non financial staff at schools and throughout the network.

The Controller is a critical leader in providing financial oversight and support to the CFO, ensuring that financial processes, records and reports meet the highest standards of accuracy, integrity, and timeliness. Distinctive Schools is a high-performing, culture-first organization of educators, and the Controller is expected to develop a team and systems of financial controls and communication that values trust, efficiency, and mission focused decision making. This position provides an unparalleled opportunity for an individual with superior critical thinking, organization, and communication to maximize Distinctive Schools' impact and future growth. This person will:

General Duties
  • Lead financial efforts across organizational lines to ensure productivity and strong financial leadership
  • Deliver monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports with a high degree of accuracy
  • Lead an efficient closing process that values transparency, inclusiveness, and risk management
  • Make recommendations to CFO regarding accounting policies, decisions, and interpretations
  • Attend board meetings and conduct presentations as needed, as a trusted representative of the CFO

Accounting Operations
  • Lead and plan the full year-end audit process, in partnership with independent auditors
  • Ensure resources in place will accurately and efficiently prepare schedules and invoices, provide explanations and supporting material, and prepare any other necessary data
  • Ensure banking, bookkeeping, cash flow meets weekly standards
  • Partner with banking institutions to build strong relationships for future growth, borrowing, and banking partnerships

Financial Communications and Partnership
  • Create systems and processes that support educational leadership at all schools and provide tools leaders need to make quality decisions for students and families
  • Support the partnership and open communication, systems, processes, and workflow with auditors, governing agencies, programmatic partners, funders, and vendors
  • Partner with Distinctive Schools HR team, external benefits providers and all related pension, insurance and brokerage institutions to become an expert in Distinctive Schools liabilities and risk management

Reporting and Compliance
  • Participate in preparation of the budget, monitor budget variances, and find and recommend opportunities for financial optimization, in partnership with the Financial Planning team
  • Design and implement accounting controls and procedures to promote effective and efficient operations and for financial management and control, including training of staff
  • Develop expertise in financial compliance in all regions where Distinctive Schools does business, and support all compliance activities, including federal funds and state 31A drawdowns and reporting
  • Prepare reports in compliance with appropriate accounting standards for multiple governing bodies, and develop accounting systems that support efficient reporting to those standards
  • Maintain records of all financial documents with appropriate supporting material; update records as necessary

  • Bachelor's Degree in Finance, Accounting, Economics, Business Administration, or related field
  • CPA strongly preferred
  • Track record of managing effective and efficient accounting systems and records in a complex and growing organization
  • Strong strategic thinking skill set, especially regarding accounting policies
  • Ability to plan and manage to quality outcomes amid uncertainty
  • Effective, empathetic, and inclusive communicator to multiple constituencies
  • Passion for improving educational opportunities for young people
  • 7-10 years of experience

Why Join the Distinctive Schools Team:
  • We are a collaborative team of professionals supporting each other to instill a love of learning in our students
  • We empower students, families and staff to contribute to our mission in a meaningful way
  • We make an impact in our communities by serving some of the most historically marginalized in the city
  • We offer a great benefits package for full time employees (Medical; Dental; Vision; PTO; 403b match, discounted gym membership, tuition reimbursement options, referral bonus)

Distinctive Schools is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other personal characteristic protected by applicable law.

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