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CZS/Brookfield Zoo

Vice President, Finance / Controller

The Chicago Zoological Society is a leading conservation organization and has an exciting, fast-paced work environment and family friendly atmosphere. We are very customer focused, as we host over 2 million guests to Brookfield Zoo each year. We are committed to conservation in the broadest sense, and we take PRIDE in every aspect of our operation. Our dedicated staff has a true sense of purpose and a strong commitment to animals and conservation.

The VP, Finance/Controller contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society by assisting the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer (“CFAO”) in managing, reporting, controlling and evaluating all finance-related functions of the Society, thereby maintaining the financial sustainability of the institution.

Primary duties and responsibilities:

Responsible for the Society’s Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable/cash receipts, fixed assets, Payroll functions and the Society’s operational, programmatic and capital grants. 

Responsible for general ledger reporting including managing the year-end and monthly close processes, monthly review, and posting of all customer invoices and deposits.  Reviews all transactions posted to the general ledger and account reconciliations.  Responsible for interpretation and application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) as they relate to the Society.  Ensures all transactions posted to the general ledger are in compliance with GAAP.  Prepare department budget and reconcile group-level budgets to actuals.   Creates financial reporting packages for Management Team and Board of Trustees.

Ensures compliance with the Uniform Guidance and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Compliance Supplement as it relates to the Society’s federal grants.  Reviews and approves financial reports prepared to satisfy reporting requirements of grant, governmental, or other funding agencies.  Monitors expenses and track the status of grant submissions to assure prompt and sufficient receipt of funds due.  Reviews and approves the Chicago Zoological Society Grant Indirect Cost Rate proposal.

Responsible for monitoring and identifying non-compliance with finance-related CZS policies and department procedures.  Monitors systems to improve productivity, efficiency and security of responsible functions and overall accounting and financial management systems. Recommends changes to the CFAO, as appropriate. Recommends, develops, and assists Society managers in the maintenance of and adherence to control-related procedures pertaining to purchasing policies.

Provides overall leadership and management of assigned Finance staff.  Duties include, but are not limited to selection and retention of staff, creating appropriate annual performance goals, staff accountability, training and development, performance counseling and evaluation, recognition, wage and salary, employment actions (i.e., promotion, discipline and separation), scheduling, and job assignments. 

Responsible for all bank account maintenance, wire transfers, Automated Clearing House payments, and monthly bank account reconciliations. Responsible for monitoring the Society’s daily cash position and processing account transfers as necessary.  Reviews and approves petty cash requests, purchase orders, quotation summary comparison forms, contract agreements and amendments to ensure compliance with expense reimbursement and purchasing policies.

Responsible for credit card system vendor relationships, reconciliation of credit card system reports to bank statements, and review of trends in credit card usage at the Society.  Serves as Administrator/Security Officer of the Society’s main credit card systems.

Responsible for coordinating annual external financial, benefit, and single audits including preparation of audit schedules and related supporting documents, financial statements, and footnotes. Conducts appropriate on-going communication with auditors throughout the year.  Ensures completion and submission of the federal data collection Form 5500, including extensions for both the 401(k) and Welfare Benefits Plans.

Responsible for all tax compliance areas that include sales, use and miscellaneous taxes, payroll taxes, backup withholding, etc.  Responsible for collection and remittance of tax withholding including monthly and annual Federal, state and local reporting.  Oversees W-2 and 1099/1042 processes and coordinates the electronic file transmission of Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) forms to the IRS.

Responsible for the oversight of all cash management activities.

Develops and implements actions to improve workplace culture with an emphasis on driving results and fostering inclusion.  Actively leads employee engagement, talent development, recruitment, and retention initiatives.  Leverages organizational resources (training and development-CZS University, performance management systems, employee surveys, regular communications vehicles, staff meetings, etc.) to drive continuous improvement and positive outcomes.       

Serves as a member of the Society’s 401k Committee.  Attends Continuing Professional Education training as needed.  Participates in Association of Zoos and Aquarium Finance Roundtable and Chicago Area Non-Profit Controllers group conference calls and meetings.

Supports the CFAO in engaging the Board of Trustees’ Audit Committee and Finance & Investment Committee. Actively participates in Management Team and Strategic Focus Group activities.  Other related duties as assigned.

Experience Required

Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance or other directly relevant field required. Registered Certified Public Accountant license. Five years directly related experience at a comparable level and with similar scope of responsibilities, including supervisory experience. Solid financial and analytical skills required. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including verbal, written, and effective listening required. An articulate, well-spoken individual, capable of effectively representing the organization to various audiences, both within and outside the organization. Ability to deal effectively and tactfully with others. Ability to work under pressure, juggle multiple priorities, and meet deadlines. Strong organizational, follow-up and follow-through skills. Attention to detail, accuracy, completeness. Ability to maintain confidentiality of privileged information. High integrity; strong work ethic. Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience. English fluency at a professional working proficiency. Experience with automated accounting and budgeting systems. High level of proficiency with Microsoft Word, Outlook and, in particular, Excel. A valid driver’s license is required. Illinois residents must possess a valid Illinois driver’s license or obtain one within 90 days of hire. Valid out-of-state driver’s license required for out-of-state residents. Preferred qualifications: Master’s Degree in Accounting, Finance, or directly related field highly preferred. Experience with financial reporting to a Board of Trustees and/or subcommittees (i.e., Audit, Finance and Investment, etc.) desirable. Experience with non-profit accounting, including non-profit accounting standards, fund accounting and preparation of IRS Form 990 and 990T. Experience with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Serenic Navigator a plus. Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency.

Further Comments

The Chicago Zoological Society requires current COVID vaccinations or weekly COVID testing if unvaccinated. The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


commensurate with experience

How to Apply

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile.  Please visit our website at  Please look for requisition number 2231BR.

CZS/Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, IL 60513
Phone: 7086888400

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