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San Francisco

About the Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s current focus is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $2.0 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. With about $3 billion in assets, the Foundation will make grants of $128 million in 2021. We have about 55 staff across two offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Irvine Foundation is committed, internally and externally, to the values of accountability, curiosity, empathy, equity, nimbleness, partnership, and transparency.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Director of Finance (Director), the Controller is responsible for the day-to-day accounting for the Foundation’s financial transactions, as well as for developing, implementing, and ensuring compliance with financial policies and procedures consistent with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). As supervisor of all accounting staff, the Controller coordinates and reviews their work, providing technical guidance as needed and supporting their continuous professional and career development.

The Controller is responsible for maintaining and continuously improving the system of financial controls, including general accounting, investment accounting, tax compliance and planning, budgeting, banking, payroll, and benefits. In collaboration with the Director, the Controller develops and conducts financial and systems analysis, and recommends and enforces relevant policies and procedures conducive to smooth Foundation operations. Additionally, the Controller works with outside auditors and tax consultants to prepare the annual audit and all federal and state tax returns.

Principal Duties & Responsibilities

Accounting and Financial Reporting Functions

  • Responsible for the timely and accurate reporting of all financial activity, including AP/AR, grant and investment accounting, and maintenance of all financial-related data and systems of record.
  • Holds overall responsibility for all balance sheet and bank account reconciliations, including sub-ledgers (grants database, accounts payable, contracts/FAPs and investments), to the general ledger.
  • Supervises accounting procedures for Foundation Administered Projects (FAPs) and prepares reports for senior management and program staff regarding budget and expenditure status of FAPs.
  • Reviews various monthly investment reconciliations conducted by Sr. Accountant including review of underlying investment activities. Conducts periodic audit of custodian bank reporting for accuracy. Monitors large transactions and transfers across all funds held at custodian bank monthly.
  • Ensures a timely closing of accounting periods in the accounting system and conducts analytical review of overall monthly fluctuations in financial records.
  • Oversees daily cash flow monitoring, including line of credit activity and reporting.
  • Reviews semi-monthly payroll processing for accuracy.

Control Assurance and Compliance

  • Responsible working with the Director and CIO to ensure proper investment valuation reporting, including the development of year-end statements and disclosures as required.
  • Handles the resolution of all tax issue-related correspondence with tax agencies. Responsible for estimating the Foundation’s tax obligations and making appropriate payments in a timely manner to ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Coordinates annual audits, overseeing preparation of all requested information and drafting audited financial statements. Prepares financial statements, footnotes, disclosures, and supporting schedules.
  • Coordinates the Finance team’s work on the annual 990PF, compiles the necessary data for the 990T and state tax returns, and ensures the timely and accurate filing of City Property Tax and other government schedules or tax reports as required (e.g. IRS 1099 forms and CA form 592 reporting).
  • Responsible for maintaining accounting policies, procedures and internal controls in accordance with internal and external guidelines (GAAP, etc.). Monitors and provides initial evaluation of financial accounting policies, procedures and protocols/standards changes. Works with the Director to implement new policies and procedures.

Finance Operations and Analysis

  • Oversees contract management system, providing data and analysis to budget managers, Leadership Team and Executive Team on contract terms, compliance, and monitoring/reporting.
  • Works with the Director to develop the Foundation’s annual budgeting process, and periodic forecasting and analysis.
  • Identifies, assesses, and records near-term financial management needs, recommends priorities, documents operating requirements, and provides insight on options, risk, and cost/benefit.
  • Assists the Director with analysis of business operations, trends, costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations to project future revenues and expenses and provide advice.
  • Coordinates and provides analysis to increase understanding across the organization, for functions such as travel and expense management, and grants administration procedures for issuing and accounting for grant disbursements.
  • Continually engages Foundation staff to ascertain accounting-related needs, in order to recommend, develop, and implement solutions that enhance and refine business and financial operations. Leads the investigation into new financial software products and evaluates fit with the Foundation.

Communication and Staff Development

  • Ensure the continuous positioning of the Finance department as a customer service center within the Foundation, seeking continuous feedback and improvement and supporting collaborative engagements at the team and individual level.
  • Works collaboratively to support the ongoing informational needs of the Foundation, including providing education and training on accounting policies and procedures.
  • Participates in cross-departmental and management meetings, and works with the Director to develop informational materials for meetings as requested by conducting research, peer benchmarking, and producing special financial analysis and studies.
  • Works with Finance Department staff and other departments to identify and establish individual and team goals, including providing support and coaching in the pursuit of individual performance and growth, and achievement of operational and development objectives.

Education and Experience

  • A strong desire to contribute to the mission of The James Irvine Foundation.
  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting and/or finance; Master’s degree and/or CPA preferred.
  • Direct relevant work experience in the nonprofit arena and investment accounting.
  • Exceptional technical accounting and financial reporting skills, including the ability to aggregate, translate, and report financial information; and to develop meaningful and effective financial reporting and forecasting processes, reports, and systems.
  • Practical experience in supervision, recruitment, selection, and development of staff is essential.


Desired Skills and Abilities

  • Ability and willingness to be a hands-on financial manager in the day-to-day operations of the Foundation.
  • Must have strong emotional intelligence, be a highly skilled communicator and facilitator, and an effective leader.
  • Exceptional analytical skills grounded in sound financial theory; knowledge of standard accounting software applications to generate analyses of financial data.
  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills; excellent judgment in communicating within a variety of settings.
  • Must be self-confident, knowledgeable and able to exercise sound judgment in research, analysis and decision making.
  • Must be highly organized and able to effectively manage multiple priorities simultaneously.

To apply to this position:

This retained search is managed by Mary Law of Armanino, the largest California-based CPA and consulting firm. We work with over 1500 foundations, nonprofits, and private schools, and we are the California nonprofit executive search leader. Please submit your resume to:

Mary Law
Senior Manager, Executive Search

925-790-2780 direct
925-785-6991 cell

Position Details

Reports to: Director of Finance