Cost Studies Team Lead
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Reporting to the Director of Cost Studies, the Cost Studies Team Lead is responsible for overseeing the technical activities within the Special Cost Studies Office. The Special Cost Studies Office is responsible for completing all activities related to the following cost studies:
- Capital asset cost studies for supporting indirect cost recovery, management decisions, and verifying adequacies of Caltech’s accounting practices and internal control systems.
- Recovery of interest expenses related to the financing of capital assets.
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL LS) Lump Sum proposals for negotiations with NASA. JPL LS projections for use by Caltech and JPL budget offices.
- Review of Staff Benefit and Paid Leave costs, including examination of transactions for allowability, coverage eligibility, and consistencies with Caltech’s written benefit policies and 2 CFR 200.
- Reconcile and initiate clean-up of raw data sources supporting the F&A, Staff Benefit, Paid Leave, JPL Lump Sum, and other cost studies performed in the office.
- Examination of internal controls over the financial and accounting processes for adequacy to support Caltech’s cost recovery process.
- Identify and address any technical inadequacies related to Caltech’s service centers from the perspective of costing and management of the service centers.
- Identify and recommend areas for process improvements, increasing productivity and efficiencies, and ensuring accuracy of the final cost study results.
- Special cost studies in support of executive decision-making process.
- Investigate complex issues related to areas identified by DCAA auditors that may point to weaknesses in Caltech’s accounting practices or treatment of costs included in the F&A, JPL Lump Sum, Staff Benefit, and Paid Leave cost proposals.
- Provide technical guidance and assistance in supporting the F&A, Staff Benefit, and Paid Leave Rates; JPL Lump Sum, and service center related cost studies.
The Special Cost Studies Team Lead will review the work performed by one or more staff, and provide the staff with guidance, training, and mentorship.
The Team Lead will work with available staff to ensure that all cost studies, projects, and assignments within the Special Cost Studies Office are completed accurately and on time.
- Under minimal direction, applies specialized knowledge and expertise in various areas of cost analysis; relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals.
- Nature of work reflects substantial variety and high level of sensitivity and complexity.
- Responsible for leading, conducting, and documenting high profile, complex projects for the Institute.
- Provides significant technical advice for the development and negotiation of the Institute’s research overhead, staff benefit and paid leave rates and JPL lump sum reimbursement with the Federal government.
- Contributes to the Institute’s audit support and rate negotiation processes, service center studies, and other financial analysis activities.
- Develops a suitable strategy for preparing overhead proposals (i.e.., what risks to assume, regulatory interpretation, etc.) and developing internal controls for relevant groups that are impacted, etc.
- Acts as a key technical expert on all cost analysis, concerns, and special projects; acts in an expert advisory capacity and provides strategic overview on all levels of cost analysis.
- Responds to management requests for financial data and make recommendations for resolving technical issues concerning costing and accounting practices.
- Clearly communicates any technical concerns with any department’s or Institute’s costing or accounting policies, procedures, or practices that would have an unfavorable impact on Caltech’s ability to recover costs.
- Alerts management of any abnormalities or weaknesses within Caltech’s financial accounting system that would jeopardize the integrity of the financial data used to support cost recovery.
- Reviews Caltech’s policies and practices and identifies areas that may impose unfavorable outcomes or increase risk in Caltech’s abilities to maximized cost recoveries, and make management aware of them.
- Fulfills a lead role in the continued development and enhancement of financial management systems.
- Provides leadership and/or guidance to other personnel (e.g.., orientation, interviews, training, assignments, reviews work performed by other staff, counsels, advises, etc.).
- Demonstrates mastery of skills in various areas of planning, coordinating, and organizing cost analysis and reporting activities.
- Performs specialized functions requiring evaluation and application of non-standard techniques and/or procedures.
- Knowledgeable in all conventional and technical aspects of applicable policies, practices, and principles.
- Serves as a technical resource to other staff.
- Demonstrates advanced knowledge of industry practices, trends, and issues affecting the operation, function, or department.
- Fully understands the financial impacts of business operations and explores ways of serving customers and vendors to minimize Institute costs.
- Work results have major impact on Institute planning and expenditures.
- Continually looks for opportunities to improve work techniques and processes.
- Provides leadership and/or guidance in all aspects of financial analyses; may spearhead special projects and provide solutions to inadequate processes that effect cost recovery.
- Develops strategies to improve internal/external productivity and/or efficient use of resources.
- Utilizes internal and external resources to provide innovative solutions to unique accounting assignments that effects cost recovery.
- Develops and recommends creative approaches to achieving financial objectives.
- Interaction normally involves exchange of highly complex, sensitive financial information involving Campus customer, internal and external auditors, management, government agencies and other involved Campus support units.
- Maintains business relationships through strong communication skills and regular contact.
- Reports accounting activities/performance to management for improving the scope and execution of services in the future.
- Regularly interacts with project team, supervisor and management, functional peers and managers, and internal/external contacts (i.e.., customers, agencies, etc.).
- Regularly determines assignment/project deadlines within department, ensuring proper time management of all processes.
- Tracks and monitors project deadline(s) to insure timely completion of transaction(s).
- Exercises sound judgment and personal initiative in resolving problems, making recommendations, identifying, and implementing technical solutions to highly complex problems.
- Applies job skills, departmental policies, and procedures to resolve highly complex problems.
- Assesses internal and external department or government auditor needs, develops options to meet those needs, and presents options and recommendations to external department staff or government auditors.
- Responds to unique or complex customer requests.
- Must be able to quickly learn complex quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques to process large volumes of data in a fast-paced work environment.
- Must have excellent ability to prioritize and multitask when working on multiple projects with hard deadlines.
- Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, Math, Economics, or related field or combination of education and experience in cost accounting related activities
- Five plus years related work experience in an academic institution with responsibilities that include F&A Rate preparation, space functionalization studies, and/or other research administration activities
- Demonstrated experience in financial analysis and complex cost studies and analysis and be able to manipulate and interpret data
- Position requires an advanced understanding of financial, business, accounting, and management principles gained either through formal education in the functional areas, or relevant work experience. The complex analyses conducted in the position requires expertise in advance applications of the computer technologies
- Knowledgeable of the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) and Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) 501, 502, and 503
- Ability to develop strong business relationships with internal and external contacts
- Effective business writing and speaking skills
- Advanced proficiency using Microsoft Office Products (Excel and Word), Labor Distribution Systems, and Data Warehouses such as Cognos or equivalent database tools
- Graduate level education in business, accounting, or a related field is desirable
- Advanced Knowledge of Caltech’s Charts of Account structure, and understanding of how accounts, journal entries, and adjustments relates to actual costs incurred by Caltech and the annual financial statements.
- Advanced knowledge of Caltech’s Internal Policies and Procedures
- Proficiency with ORACLE Financial system
- Knowledgeable of critical current costing issues impacting organizations associated with Higher Education