University of Waterloo

Financial Coordinator

Requisition ID
Job Category
Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
Job Status
Temporary Appointment (Contract)
Hiring Range
$51,422 - $64,277


Term: 2 years


The Financial Coordinator (Coordinator) is responsible for all research and administrative activities of an assigned group of faculty members and research groups in the Department of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering (MME). They are the key point of contact for financial and procurement support. The Coordinator manages the operating and research accounting of assigned faculty members and groups, ensures compliance with University and granting agency financial policies and procedures, provides guidance and reporting, to reduce the liability to the department and University by proactive financial management of external research funding. The grants/contracts can include but are not limited to any federal, provincial, institutional, corporation/business, association/society, foundation, or any other agency/organization. The incumbent understands the constraints of specific granting programs, and forecasts and recommends strategies to maximize the use and leverage of the research funding.


This position reports to the Financial Officer. The Coordinator also supports the Financial Officer in managing the School’s operating budget and ensures compliance with financial management policies necessary to ensure effective and efficient operations.


Research Financial Administration and Compliance

  • Responsible for the financial administration of all operating and research grants/contracts for assigned faculty members in accordance with relevant university policies, granting agency guidelines, and negotiated sponsor agreements
  • Delegated signing authority up to $20,000.00 on assigned accounts
  • Provide advice to Principal Investigators (PIs) concerning University and/or granting agency’s policies and procedures (e.g. eligibility of expenses, preparation of forms) and comprehension of financial reports
  • Provide guidance to faculty members on University financial rules and policies including overhead allocation, release time stipend allocation, etc
  • Ensure researchers and relevant research personnel are complaint with UW research finance policies and procedures, and those set forth by external granting agencies
  • Monitor, review and reconcile accounts monthly, and advise PIs of discrepancies
  • Review expenses and ensure budget allocations are appropriate and adequate
  • Confirm eligibility of expenditures against agency guidelines and University policies and procedures
  • Assist with the procurement of research goods and services to ensure compliance with Procurement policies and procedures including determination of independent contractor status
  • Monitor spending levels on research project grants and provide PIs with budget and financial information enabling them to manage their accounts
  • Ensure funds have been collected or returned, overspent balances have been transferred and grants/contracts have been inactivated
  • Identify overspends and work with the PI to resolve through re-allocation of expenses
  • Make recommendations to respective faculty members, the Financial Officer and Office of Research regarding deficit resolution strategies
  • Prepares custom financial reports based on researcher needs and interprets financial data to answer queries from PIs, identifying potential issues and anomalies
  • Answers non-routine and complex inquiries that are specific in nature and require specialized knowledge of policies and procedures, and may require follow-up with granting agencies
  • Responsible for financial reporting as required including data analysis and create detailed and summary reports as appropriate to the funding agency, industry contract or auditors
  • Review purchase of equipment and supplies for research groups, including the sourcing and procurement of major equipment and is compliant with Policy 17
  • Responsible for fixed asset inventory of all research equipment and furniture purchases and asset disposals associated with all research activities of assigned faculty and research groups
  • Forwards financial reports e.g. form 300’s received from Office of Research to PIs and obtains approval signatures by stipulated deadline date
  • Assists the Principal Investigator in the preparation of research budgets for major contracts and research grants
  • Work with assigned principal investigators and research personnel on the preparation of research proposals including budget review


Financial Administration

  • Review and process out-of-pocket expense and faculty professional expense reimbursement claims in financial system
  • Assist client groups with understanding various financial reports, financial policies/procedures, financial terminology, and standard accounting practices
  • Advise on budget and cost-recovery requirements
  • Prepare internal lab billings ensuring compliance with internal policies, external funding agency requirements, and accounting standards
  • Process all financial transactions including purchasing payables, and invoicing both internal and external
  • Create and review journal entry transactions, including interdepartmental billings and ensure transaction is in compliance with the University’s policies on fund transfers, applicable tax rules and expense transfer approvals
  • Reconcile general ledger accounts including accounts receivable, advances, etc. as assigned
  • Analyze details of budget, actual expenditures, encumbrances, and prepare variance analysis reports
  • Provide guidance to others on the use of financial systems including procurement and Concur
  • Update, maintain and verify information in a variety of spreadsheets and databases


Human Resources Administration

  • Review requests for non-faculty appointments (post-doctoral fellows, research associates), temporary employment authorizations, casual payments, and change of salary allocations for eligibility and available funds
  • Ensure that contract end dates do not exceed the grant end date and prepare revised salary allocation forms as required
  • Review Graduate Research Studentship and Graduate Research Assistants payments for available funds
  • Coordinate payroll for research staff and ensure sufficient funds are available before processing
  • Prepare supporting documentation for non-faculty appointments and coordinate hiring documentation for research staff
  • Liaise between PIs, the department and Human Resources on issues relating to research staff personnel
  • Update database for URA and URSA appointments



  • Act as backup to other Financial Coordinators during absences or as required
  • Stay current on changes in granting agency regulations, University policies and procedures, research administration best practices, and new technology or programs
  • Attend all training on new systems and procedures, and meetings as required
  • Assist with internal and external audits as required
  • Special projects analysis, reporting, or other duties as assigned by the Financial Officer or Administrative Officer as required to meet the research goals and strategic objectives of the department


  • University degree in accounting, post-secondary accounting diploma, or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Working towards CPA designation is an asset
  • 3 years related accounting experience including financial monitoring and analysis, preferably in a university environment
  • Research finance experience working with grants/contract administration an asset
  • An understanding of the academic environment, in particular research environment is preferred
  • Experience in financial reporting, internal control, financial analysis, budgeting, forecasting and accounting
  • Experience with reconciliation, troubleshooting and resolving variances, and reporting on the same
  • Strong computer skills with advanced experience with MS Excel including pivot tables, look-ups, macros, scenario analysis, etc.
  • Previous experience in an enterprise wide computerized accounting environment. Experience using University internal systems (Concur, Unit4) are assets
  • Experience with online financial reimbursement and procurement systems, and databases e.g. FileMaker, and SharePoint
  • Working knowledge of online human resource management and payroll systems desirable
  • Knowledge of federal and provincial funding sources and related guidelines for institutional awards preferred
  • Sound knowledge of accounting principles and financial acumen
  • Strong decision- making and critical thinking skills, and maturity of judgment
  • Demonstrated ability to interpret policies, financial statements and apply guidelines and procedures
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills with the ability to identify issues; investigate and seek creative solutions
  • Ability to analyze financial data and present it in an appropriate format
  • Strong client-service orientation with a focus on providing exceptional customer service in a team environment
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interact professionally and effectively with diverse constituencies of the university and external partners
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills are essential
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills
  • Ability to work accurately, efficiently and effectively both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to manage a high volume of work, multiple demands with excellent attention to detail
  • Flexibility and initiative is necessary to work in a dynamic and challenging work environment
  • Demonstrated ability to handle confidential information with discretion and tact
  • Ability to adapt to changing administrative and financial systems


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