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Assistant Director, Research Finance

Vanderbilt University
Tennessee, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Dec 22, 2021

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Position Type
Executive, Executive Directors
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Assistant Director, Research Finance


Nashville, TN, United States


Job Description

This position is responsible for Vanderbilt’s cost accounting activities, as well as institutional research activity reporting including the NSF HERD Survey, Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA), and supporting schedules for the internal quarterly and external annual financial reports, award setup and effort certification compliance.


As a key leader of the Research Financial Operations Team, the Assistant Director of Data and Cost Analysis maintains a close partnership with university research functions across campus as well as finance and accounting and leads efforts related to all research data and cost analysis activities. This position has direct supervisory responsibility over the Research Financial Operations Data and Cost Analysis Team. This position reports administratively and functionally to the Senior Director for Research Financial Operations.


The Research Financial Operations Team strives for excellence in providing support and oversight in administratively managing sponsored projects, monitoring associated financial compliance requirements in accordance with sponsor regulations and university policies, and providing analytical and cost accounting expertise to the management of Vanderbilt’s research enterprise. Research Financial Operations includes the Research Operations Specialists that provide central oversight for project expenditures, financial reconciliation, financial reporting, and award closeout, the Research Accountants that perform invoicing, cash management and accounts receivable management, and the Data and Cost Analysts that perform cost accounting activities and institutional research reporting as well as award setup and effort certification compliance oversight.


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Oversees the day-to-day operations of the Research Financial Operations Data and Cost Analysis Team including award setup, effort certification compliance, and costing activities.
  • Oversees development of the F&A rate and internal recharge rates.
  • Develop data metrics and research data reporting.
  • Oversees centralized CORES (recharge center) accounting
  • Provides oversight for the development of policies, procedures, and training for research reporting, cost analysis, award setup, and effort reporting compliance.
  • Establishes goals and monitors performance objectives for optimal service delivery and efficient operations. Leads identification and development of high-performing staff.
  • Identifies, envisions, and champions process improvements including system-based opportunities to best support Vanderbilt’s research enterprise. Works collaboratively with the Office of Continuous Improvement, VUIT, and Accounting on fully utilizing system functionality and designing new functionality.
  • Oversees preparation of the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards and Schedule of Expenditures of State Awards for the annual financial report.
  • Works collaboratively with top leadership in schools and departments on research administration compliance activities.



  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.
  • A Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in accounting or finance is preferred.
  • CPA or MACC/MBA is preferred.
  • 5+ years of supervisory experience is necessary.
  • Skill in advanced Excel, Word, and PowerPoint applications is necessary.
  • Time management skills and the ability to work well in a team environment is necessary.
  • Experience in higher education with a focus in research compliance and/or financial administration in a research university, academic medical center, or other organization subject to an externally regulated environment is preferred.
  • Experience in research data analysis including F&A rate development and proposals is preferred.
  • Experience leading an organization and providing effective management to a diverse staff, ensuring that they are developing professionally and sustaining a high level of performance is preferred.
  • Demonstrated performance in establishing and maintaining productive and collaborative relationships with a full range of internal and external constituencies is preferred.
  • Advanced understanding of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and General Ledgers is necessary.
  • Proven detail-oriented work style in collaboration with effective written and verbal communication skills is preferred.
  • Ability to build and maintain effective working relationships with a range of people, understanding their needs and goals is preferred.
  • Ability to work co-operatively with others as part of a team, as opposed to working separately or competitively, is preferred.
  • Openness to change, adaptability, and the ability to work effectively in a variety of situations, with individuals or groups is preferred.
  • Ability to understand and appreciate different and opposing perspectives on an issue is preferred.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop and maintain relationships with key stakeholders is preferred.


Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are.  We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.


Please apply to:


Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.


Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.


About Us

Vanderbilt is a community of talented and diverse staff & faculty!

At Vanderbilt University , our work - regardless of title or role - is in service to an important and noble mission in which every member of our community serves in advancing knowledge and transforming lives on a daily basis. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, on a 330+ acre campus and arboretum dating back to 1873, Vanderbilt is proud to have been named as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” as well as a top employer in Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area by Forbes for several years running. We welcome those who are interested in learning and growing professionally with an employer that strives to create, foster and sustain opportunities as an employer of choice through:

  • Working and growing together as a community of communities... we are One Vanderbilt.
  • Providing a work environment where every staff and faculty member can be their authentic and bestself, while providing the resources and opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Encouraging development, collaboration, and partnership both internally and externally while fostering the value that every member of the Vanderbilt community can lead and growregardless of title or position.


We understand you have a choice when choosing where to work and pursue a career. We understand you are unique and have a story. We want to hear it. We encourage you to apply today so that you might become a part of our story.


Vanderbilt University has made the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and our surrounding communities a top priority. As part of that commitment, the University requires all employees to (1) participate in routine on-campus COVID-19 testing or (2) show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.



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