University of Waterloo

  • Research Financial Analyst

    Requisition ID
    Job Category
    5470 - Office of Research
    Job Status
    Temporary Appointment (Contract)
    Hiring Range
    $51,422 - $70,226
  • Overview

    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
    • 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

    • 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 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
    • 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 inkind 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of Excel
    • Intermediate knowledge of Word
    • Beginner to intermediate knowledge of PowerPoint
    • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of Unit4, Adobe, Outlook
    • There may be unusual hours or schedules


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