University of Waterloo

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Research Financial Analyst

Research Financial Analyst

Requisition ID 
Job Category  
5470 - Office of Research
Job Status 
Temporary Appointment (Contract)
Hiring Range 
$48,620 - $78,721

More information about this job


Term: 1 year


The Research Financial Analyst (RFA) is responsible for the financial administration and management of a portfolio of research accounts for a specific group of researchers. These responsibilities include problem–solving with respect to the management and analysis of a portfolio of research accounts, preparation of financial statements, management of the relationship between and requirements of internal and external stakeholders and ensuring adherence to financial requirements/guidelines specified by sponsors and to University policies.


Manage and Foster Relationships with Internal and External Stakeholders

  • Key point of contact between researchers and research administrators for financial advice, guidance and queries pertaining to research accounts
  • Communicate regularly and proactively with researchers in person, by e-mail or by telephone to discuss progress on their accounts
  • Provide advice and assistance to researchers and their departmental/faculty administrators on sponsor guidelines or university policy as it pertains to research.
  • Communicate with external research sponsors regarding interpretation of guidelines or reporting requirements and resolution of specific project needs/concerns/issues.
  • Key point of contact with collaborating research institutions to ensure appropriate financial reporting of research funds.
  • Liaise with Office of Research pre-awards colleagues regarding clarifications or amendments to research agreements/contracts
  • Liaise with other UW academic support units to ensure appropriate management of research funds

Financial Administration and Management of a Portfolio of Research Accounts


a) Set up of new research accounts

  • Review, gain an understanding of and approve new research projects through the research awards management system (InfoEd)
  • Liaise with Office of Research pre-awards colleagues regarding new or unusual areas of the research agreement
  • Set up a print and/or electronic project file structure for each new research project
  • Set up the project on the Research Finance Access database to allow tracking of key reporting invoicing and auditing dates
  • Set up budget, overhead and encumbrance journal entries in accordance with specific requirements of the award agreement
  • Notify the Principal Investigator (PI) of the key financial reporting requirements and sponsor guidelines of the specific research project

b)  Financial administration and management of research accounts

  • Ensure that reporting schedules are met by proactively tracking project schedules and reporting deadlines for assigned accounts to ensure that reporting deadlines are met
  • Prepare invoice requests in accordance with invoicing schedules in the award agreement
  • Prepare financial reporting in the format stipulated by each individual research sponsor
  • Collate appropriate supporting documentation to accompany reports
  • Liaise with representatives of collaborating institutions to ensure that all data/reporting/supporting documentation for a specific project is received on a timely basis
  • Liaise with PIs and/or research project managers and administrators to ensure that any in-kind supporting documentation has been collected from external partners
  • Review in-kind provided by external partners to support research projects to ensure that the documentation provided is appropriate and calculated in accordance with the specific sponsor’s requirements
  • Maintain accurate, well organized financial project files
  • Conduct budget variance analysis to identify areas of concern and in conjunction with PI’s take appropriate action
  • Analysis of PI’s research accounts to assist them in efficiently managing their portfolios and in appropriately spending their research funds
  • Monitor outstanding invoices to ensure that researchers are advised on a timely basis if payment may be an issue so that appropriate action can be taken

c)  Closing Research Accounts

  • Monitor accounts that are coming close to their end date to ensure that all funds will be spent appropriately by the end date or that an extension request submitted
  •  Ensure that all reporting requirements have been met and all funds have been received
  • Provide advice to PIs over options for resolving surplus or deficit account balances to an alternative eligible account
  • Prepare journal entries to close out the project account ensuring that appropriate PI authorization and supporting documentation is retained
  • Finalize the print and/or electronic research files ensuring that all appropriate documentation is kept according to record retention guidelines


Facilitation of audits on research accounts

  • Key point of contact with sponsor, UW or collaborating institution auditors during the audit of research accounts in their portfolio.
  • Provision of an overview of sponsor program details and UW policies and procedures to the auditors.
  • Preparation and reconciliation of audit support listings to auditors
  • Provision of supporting documentation for transactions being audited
  • Co-ordination and reconciliation of supporting documentation from collaborating institutions
  • Responding to audit queries


  • University undergraduate degree preferably in Accounting, Business or Finance or equivalent combination of experience and education
  • Enrolment in a recognized accounting designation is recommended
  • Experience in financial reporting, account reconciliation and financial analysis
  • Working knowledge of auditing practices and procedures is an asset
  • Experience of effectively communicating with key stakeholders
  • Knowledge of the academic and research environment is an advantage
  • MS Word - Intermediate, Excel - Intermediate to Advanced