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Chief, Accounting Operations

Job Summary

Under the general direction of the Corporate Controller, the Chief ensures the efficient operation of corporate accounting operations by ensuring financial transactions are accurately and timely recorded in the financial system for all activities associated with accounting including cost allocation, accounts payable, accounts receivable, fixed assets, tax, and the production of timely and accurate month, quarter and year-end financial statements.  

The responsibilities of this position are Centre-wide in scope, involving accountability for financial accounting; supervising a team of intermediate staff; developing or supporting the development and implementation of financial policies, procedures and desk guides.  The incumbent participates in the implementation and upgrade of the Centre’s financial system.

Primary Duties and/or Responsibilities

Financial Reporting and Accounting Operations

a)    Oversees the integrity of the Centre’s corporate financial information:
•    Ensuring that financial transactions recorded in the financial system are complete and accurate;  
•    Conducting quality assurance reviews of financial statements (Trial Balance, Statement of Operations, etc.) to identify errors, omissions and performs, directly or through the team of Analysts, various financial analysis (e.g., year-over-year analysis, budget category and cost structure analysis etc.);
•    Remains current with evolving International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and updates the annual IFRS Checklist, in conjunction with the Chief Treasury Operations ensuring the alignment of IDRC accounting, working papers, financial statements and note disclosures; 
•    Corresponding with cost centre owners throughout head office and the regions to discuss errors, omissions and appropriate corrective action;
•    Identifying reporting needs and participating in the design of reports to meet new requirements and/or to enhance day-to-day operations including approving specifications, descriptive content for the Reports Catalogue and the testing of reports (this requires coordination with the Financial Systems Unit and IMTD); and
•    Providing advice to staff on all matters relating to accounting operations.
b)    Month, quarter and year-end 
•    Approving the cut-off schedules;
•    Preparing procedures to accompany all cut-off schedules;
•    Reviewing worksheets and other working papers and consolidating information as required;
•    Coordinating and or updating process descriptions for the OAG;
•    Overseeing all aspects of the annual attest audit and key point of contact for the OAG;
•    Coordinating changes to the Financial Statements based on feedback from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada; and
•    Proofreading the French translation of the financial statements and disclosure notes.

c)    Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivables and Fixed Assets
•    Ensuring compliance to policies and procedures in the recording and approval of vendor and sales invoices in the financial system in accordance with service standards;
•    Ensuring compliance to policies and procedures in the creation, depreciation, amortization and disposal of fixed assets;  
•    Approving and posting journal entries including payroll, fixed assets entries, prepaids, recoverable deposits, advances, conference services chargebacks, corrections, allocations, redistributions and adjustments;
•    Approving and posting sales invoices and credit memos;
•    Overseeing expense report and purchasing card processing;
•    Ensuring the timely completion of audits of senior management expenses;
•    Monitoring and following up on unpaid invoices and outstanding receivables.

d)    Taxation
•    Remains current with Canadian Income Tax and sales tax regulations and ensures compliance with regulations in the areas of commodity taxes, and self-assessments for payments made to suppliers, consultants and grantees;
•    Reviews and interprets changes to taxation regulations to determine real and potential impacts on operations, implementing procedural revisions if necessary;
•    Contracts for external tax consultant and ensures annual training sessions are provided to key stakeholders;;
•    Approves commodity and non-commodity tax remittances and reporting, as well as approves submission and issuance of income tax returns and forms – T4A and T4A-NR; and
•    Key contact for taxation audit.

Financial System and Business Process Enhancements/Special Projects

Financial System and Business Process Enhancement

•    Maintains flowcharts of key business processes ensuring that controls are designed to meet corporate objectives as well as ensure the safe-keeping of IDRC assets, the reliability of financial reporting and the prevention and detection of errors and fraud;
•    Critically reviews business processes and how the financial system is being leveraged for those processes to meet operational needs;
•    Continuously reviews and recommends more streamlined and efficient work methods and procedures;
•    Keeps current with emerging financial system functionality (next releases) and how that can be deployed for business processes; 
•    Ensures alignment of access rights to the financial system with job responsibilities of direct reports, in collaboration with the Financial system unit.
Special Projects 
Aside from the operational duties assigned to this unit, special projects are defined within the FAD or Corporate Accounting work plan.  Special projects may extend beyond the limited scope of the operational responsibilities reflected above, but will affect future accounting operations. 
•    Leads and completes special projects that are defined within the FAD or Corporate Accounting work plans;
•    Actively participates in the analysis of new or evolving accounting standards (IFRS) and ensures readiness for the introduction of any required changes (people, process or technology).

Supervision and Other

Supervises a team of 1 Senior Financial Analyst, 2 Financial Analysts and 1 Accounts Payable Administrator by:

•    Assigning and scheduling work and identifying and setting priorities;
•    Coaching, motivating and monitoring the performance of staff and initiates corrective action as required;
•    Identifying training needs for direct reports;
•    Identifying problems and provides guidance, support and feedback; and
•    Managing performance using periodic feedback mechanisms and the preparation of annual performance review and appraisals.

Supports the Corporate Controller in the discharge of his/her responsibilities. This includes:

•    Preparing periodic feedback to stakeholders on the findings of Corporate Accounting and the OAG on the results of the attest audit; 
•    Drafting, or updating, financial policies, procedures and desk guides, in collaboration with the Process Coordination and Policy Officer;
•    Researching authoritative literature for proper treatment of accounting topics;
•    Reviewing internal and external audit reports and contributing to the preparation of management responses based on audit observations;
•    Preparing ad hoc financial analysis as requested by the Corporate Controller;
•    Is secondary System Administrator for banking systems ensuring access rights to the bank provide appropriate segregation of duties.

Job Scope

This position is responsible for ensuring that corporate financial transactions are accurately recorded in the financial system and that the financial statements are prepared on a timely and accurate basis. The Chief of Accounting Operations must carefully review the financial data and develop procedures and processes to ensure data integrity.  Failure to capture and report on financial transactions accurately has both reputational and financial risk to IDRC.  Errors could cause embarrrassment to the Centre as well as possibly attract fines and/or penalties if legislated reporting is not timely.