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Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo


Sr. Vice President Finance

The Sr. Vice President, Finance contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society by planning, organizing, controlling, and directing the Institution’s financial functions.  Primary responsibility for financial accounting and reporting, tax reporting, budgeting, payroll, cash management, investments, debt structure, audit, internal controls, contract review, insurance and risk management, financial forecasting and analyses, internal and external audits, grant and contract administration and analysis of profitability.

The successful candidate will:

Plan, direct, and control the organization’s financial functions in accordance with established accounting/financial principles and government regulations.  In cooperation with the CEO, establish financial policies and overall financial objectives for the organization.  Ensure the accurate analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and reporting of financial information and results.  Implement policies, procedures, actions, and financial controls to assure the organization is fiscally sound, accurate assessment of financial position, and appropriate allocation and disposition of financial resources to ensure the Society’s long-term financial sustainability.

Direct and prepare meaningful financial analyses to guide management and short and long-term decision-making.  Provide competent, responsive financial counsel to the CEO and senior management staff.  Direct and oversee activities to assure the safekeeping, control, and accounting of Society assets and securities.  Review every Society contract agreement and verify proper legal language and protections.  Consult with Society legal counsel as needed and serve as point person with counsel for (non-employment related) litigation or legal actions.

Maintain excellent financial relationship with the Forest Preserves of Cook County and verify an accurate and thorough budget is submitted each year and proper accounting for all tax collections and other financial transactions with the County.

Serve as a member of Information Security Working Group charged with protecting the Society’s sensitive information.

Implement and maintain effective control and proper levels of management approval of all purchasing and cash disbursements.

Serve as member of the Society’s 401(k) Working Group charged with overseeing the administration and investments of the Society’s Retirement Savings Plan.

Maintain effective reporting processes and procedures to record the Institutions’ progress toward MBE and WBE goals.

Report and make recommendations to top management, Board of Trustees, and designated Board committees regarding Society finances, policies, and programs.  Serve as staff representative to the Society’s Finance and Investment Committee, Audit Committee and Executive Committee.  Provide information on finances and financial condition and keep CEO, other appropriate staff, and Board members apprised of financial affairs.  Work with CEO to assure a balanced budget.  Oversee management of computerized financial and accounting systems.  Assure consistent, accurate, timely and integrated information and the ability to produce detailed, accurate reports for the Society and its agents to plan, make decisions, and allocate financial resources to accomplish established objectives.

Develop effective processes for and direct the preparation of the annual operating budget and financial forecasts.  Coordinate with department heads and senior managers and other staff to obtain department operating budgets.  Analyze all budget requests to identify additional sources of revenue and/or areas in which cost reductions can be made and work with the CEO and/or his/her designee to allocate the operating budget.

Design and manage the budgeting process and system that allows the Society to allocate and manage its financial resources effectively.  Monitor budget performance and identify variances.  In collaboration with the CEO, recommend and/or takes necessary action to assure achievement of budget and financial plans.

Design, operate, and manage financial systems, policies, and procedures.  Record and satisfy financial obligations in a timely, organized, and accurate manner; ensure the financial welfare of the Society and comply with all accounting, financial, and governmental standards and legal requirements.

Responsible for all banking and other financial institution relationships and for the analysis and recommendations to the CEO and Board of Trustees for the Institution’s prudent investment policy and debt structure.  Monitor and manage the investment of Society funds to maximize returns and verify that investments are within prescribed investment policy guidelines.  Forecast long and short-term cash requirements.

Direct the planning, selection, and administration of property and casualty insurance, Director and Officers’ coverage, and other insurance and major benefit coverages to assure appropriate financial planning, risk management, and decision-making and to protect the Society and limit its exposures.

Oversee and direct the Cash Control Department.  Working with the Cash Control Manager, oversee the Society’s effective management of the Cash Control operations.  Ensure the security and accuracy of asset handling.

Review and approve financial reports prepared to satisfy reporting requirements of grant, governmental, or other funding agencies.  Monitor expenses and track the status of grant submissions in order to assure prompt and sufficient receipt of funds due.

Serve on Society-wide working groups and task forces and provide input on organization-wide issues, finances, special projects, decisions, and other pertinent topics.

Supervise and manage direct reports.  Actively participate in and support employee survey participation and action planning; hold reporting managers and staff accountable for implementation of action plans, continuous improvement, and improvement of survey results.

Plan, develop, and establish protocols and objectives of assigned functions in accordance with objectives of the organization.  Confer with management team to plan business objectives, develop organizational policies, and to coordinate functions.  Provide support and assistance to other functions, departments, and operating units of the organization.  Interpret relevant organizational policy to employees and enforce relevant policies and practices.

Working with management team, provide a physical working environment that provides a positive, productive climate for operations through appropriate maintenance, planning, and administrative services and support.

Counsel management and provide recommendations and insights that contribute to overall strategic planning, organizational management, and future direction.

Experience Required

The requirements for this position include: • Masters Degree in Finance or Accounting, Business Administration (with a major in Finance) and/or equivalent combination of training and experience required. • Seven years of solid comparable experience in an equivalent financial management position, including a proven track record in effectively managing organization finances and assets for a medium or large organization. • Strong leadership ability, presentation skills, and ability to translate financial terms and information for managers and staff. • Strategic orientation. Sound logic and strong decision-making and problem-solving skills. Must be able to work under pressure, juggle multiple priorities, and meet critical deadlines. • Solid, demonstrated financial and analytical skills. Eye for detail, accuracy, and completeness. Understanding of computerized financial management/database systems. Must be able to maintain strict confidentiality of the most privileged and sensitive information. • Strong interpersonal, communications, and organizational skills. Must be able to establish and build a strong rapport and maintain positive relationships. High integrity; strong work ethic. Flexible, assertive individual. Must be able to deal effectively and tactfully with all levels of staff. Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience. • Valid driver’s license required. Illinois residents must possess a valid Illinois license within 90 days of hire. Valid out-of-state license required for out-of-state residents. The preferred qualifications: • Experience working for a non-profit organization or with fund accounting systems a plus. • Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.) status preferred. • Experience working with Boards and giving Board presentations preferred. • Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus. Additional Information: Normal workweeks in excess of 50+ are not unusual. Individual will be expected to be present and visible at meetings and events for Board members, employees, and other professional participants and audiences. Some local travel required. The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer / Affirmative Action Employer – Minorities / Women / Veterans / Disabled.

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 1325BR.

Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, IL 60513

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