Title: Chief Financial Officer/Business Office Manager

Department: Administration Reports to: Head of School

The Cottage School is a school with a mission: Building a sense of self for students with special learning needs through academic and experiential programming. The Cottage School (TCS) has provided a comprehensive program for 4th-12th grade students with learning differences for the past 36 years. The school offers a unique program that focuses on small class sizes, a collaborative student-teacher environment, and a work-based model that promotes self-advocacy and fosters self-confidence.

Our solution is simple … we simply teach you differently. Learning styles are as unique as individual thumbprints we customize an education plan for each student.  We focus on the three pillars of success:  Academics, Socialization and Emotional Wellness.

The school currently seeks a Chief Financial Officer to join the school’s senior administration to oversee all financial operations at the school which is in the midst of substantial growth in enrollment and expansion of facilities. The duties of the CFO require working directly with the Head of School, fellow administrators, and Board of Directors to develop and execute the overall financial strategy for the school.

Job Description

In addition to embracing the mission of The Cottage School, supporting its Head and leadership, and representing the School at professional and public forums, the new CFO has a number of primary responsibilities:

 

Financial Management and Planning

Generates accurate and appropriately detailed reports including statements of financial position, statements of cash flow, and analyses of historical and projected income and expenses, in addition to other special reports that may be requested

Participates in the development of school strategy, providing recommendations, financial analysis, projections, and other data to inform the process

Manages annual budget process collaborating with the Head of School and Finance Committee and proposes annual budget to the Board of Trustees

Recommends tuition levels and fees for the school year

Prepares and presents budget and expense reports for the board/finance committee, including variance analyses and forecasts

Presents and advises the Head of School on pertinent annual surveys on independent school association data, particularly on tuition and salaries

Manages capital expense budget and fixed assets

Works with consultants and outside lenders in obtaining and managing commercial funding; monitoring compliance with loan covenants and ratios.

Accounting and Risk Management

Supervises accounting manager (bookkeeper/business office assistant)

Oversees all student billing and accounting, including management of past due accounts

Supports Director of Admissions with financial aspects of student enrollment/re-enrollment agreements, setting tuition for families

Organizes and manage accounts receivable and accounts payable to ensure accurate and timely oversight of all related functions

Ensures account reconciliations and financial statements are prepared on a monthly basis

Maintains inventory, fixed assets detail, and depreciation schedule

Collaborates with the Advancement department to assist in preparing monthly reports and materials for the Advancement Committee and supporting fund-raising programs

Supports reconciliation of Key Annual Fund pledges/gifts and other major fund-raisers

Oversees the preparation and filing various tax reports

Communicates accounting policies to teachers and staff and ensures compliance with said policies

Collaborates with the Principals on classroom and program expenses

Manages risk and insurance needs, including insurance reviews and recommendations, liability exposures and coverages, and any claims administration

Oversee the annual financial and plan audits and filings of tax returns.

Ensure that the School is in compliance with all local, state, and federal reporting requirements.

Cash Management

Manages bank accounts; reconcile account statements and investment gains/losses

Takes an active role in banking relations, debt negotiations, and compliance, cash management and investing

Reconciles and handle all incoming cash and checks and ensure accurate deposits

Monitors/projects cash flow and cash needs

Manage petty cash with campus office managers

 

Audit and Control

Monitors internal controls and safeguard confidential information

Maintains relationship with the school’s independent auditors (CPA)and prepares the schedules and work papers for annual audit

Responds to auditor’s administrative recommendations in management letter

Interfaces with CPA on accounting and finance matters; coordinates annual tax filing with CPA

Maintains permanent office files for all audit schedules prepared by the school

 

Human Resources Support

Manages the payroll process and accounting

Maintains sound and consistent employment policies, compliance, adequate staffing levels, compensation, and appropriate benefits programs.

Collaborates with business office on employee work hours and PTOs, benefits administration, and pertinent provisions in Employee Handbook

Responsible for implementing and administering all employee benefit programs including health insurance, retirement, worker’s compensation, life insurance, and other related plans. Provides guidance and best practices on salary and benefits.

Assists the Head of School in salary administration, compensation planning, and other benefit planning

Assists the Head of School in preparing employee work contracts (employment agreements and offers of employment)

School Surveys and Compliance Reports

Prepares periodic surveys and reports to associations of which the school is a member (NAIS, NBOA, SAIS, GISA)

Demonstrates compliance with various city, state, and county requirements

Keeps updated on current trends and activities in independent schools related to Business Office functions

Remains aware of legal changes that might influence school operations

 

General Responsibilities:

Serves as key member of the administrative and management team

Participate as a member of the Facilities and Expansion Committee

Collaborates with Administration and Facilities Manager on facilities, security, staffing

Manages the Accounting Manager/Business Office Assistant

Participates in school‐wide events including Open Houses, monthly staff and committee meetings, and other events

Accepts and performs other duties, as assigned by the Head of School

Oversee the development, administration, and reporting of the operating and long-term budget to the School’s Board of Directors; Finance and Audit committees; auditors; federal, state, and local authorities; lenders; donors; and various School administrative offices.

Building and/or maintaining the School’s short- and long-term strategic financial models.

Working with consultants and outside lenders in obtaining and managing commercial funding; monitoring compliance with loan covenants and ratios.

Serve as chief staff liaison to the Finance and Audit committees of the Board of Directors, working closely with Committee chairs and organizing agendas and meeting materials.

Collaborate with the School’s counsel and insurance agents regarding all legal and risk management matters.

Ensure that the School is in compliance with all local, state, and federal reporting requirements.

Publicly represent the School in a positive and proactive way, collaborating with other School administrators, neighbors, and city officials.

Work with the administration to ensure sound and consistent employment policies, compliance, adequate staffing levels, compensation, and appropriate benefits programs.

Participate as a member of the Facilities

Work with the Head of School to ensure smooth functioning of all current and future facilities management across campuses

Implement and administer all employee benefit programs including health insurance, retirement, worker’s compensation, life insurance, and other related plans. Provide guidance and best practices on salary and benefits.

Oversee the annual financial audits and filings of tax returns.

Provide transparent financial reporting and planning that builds trust among administrators, faculty and staff, students and alumni, parents, and board of directors.

Contribute to a safe, supportive school environment for both students and parents by acting with compassion and integrity in all situations, while at the same time maintaining appropriate professional boundaries.

Contribute to a positive school culture by building collaborative, collegial, and respectful relationships with colleagues and overtly supporting teachers, administrators, and the Board of Trustees

Model the mission, philosophy, and goals of the School to all staff, parents, students, and the community

Qualifications

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or closely related field. Master’s degree preferred
  • Minimum 5 years independent/private school or non-profit experience
  • Customer service mindset

Potential applicants should send the following items via email to Dr. Steven Palmer, stevenp@cottageschool.org : a cover letter expressing interest in the CFO position, current resume and a list of five references with name, phone number, and email address. References will not be contacted without the candidate’s consent.



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