Finance Director

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Accounting & Finance
Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024


UL Crime Ed Lab Administration

About the Department

Who We Are: In cities across the country, people face high rates of gun violence, under-resourced schools, and social harms associated with the criminal justice system -- all of which disproportionately impact people of color. These inequalities have profound consequences on public safety and opportunity. As a society we have failed to address these challenges, in part, because of our lack of understanding of the most effective and cost-effective solutions that can have a real impact on people’s lives. We believe that rigorous research can help. The University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab partner with cities and communities to use data and rigorous research to design, test, and scale programs and policies that enhance public safety, improve educational outcomes, and advance justice. Our mission is to combine world-class data science and research, in partnership with government agencies, to substantially improve the effectiveness of the public sector and achieve impact at scale. To learn more about the Crime Lab and Education Lab, visit https://urbanlabs.uchicago.edu/labs/crime.

Job Summary

The Finance Director will oversee all financial and grant-related activities for the Crime Lab and Education Lab. This role is crucial in ensuring the effective financial management, compliance with university and external funding regulations, and the successful acquisition and administration of grants. The Director leads a team of professional staff responsible for the financial management of operating and capital budgets for the unit.


Financial Management

  • Develops and manages the annual budget including monthly forecasting, fiscal year close out, and reporting to the Provost, Dean, and Budget Office. Offering strategic guidance throughout the planning and reporting processes.

  • Oversees financial operations including accounting, budgeting, reporting, and auditing.

  • Provides financial analysis and strategic guidance to the Leadership Team as they make unit-wide financial decisions.

  • Ensures compliance with University financial policies and procedures.

  • Works with key stakeholders at the University (such as the Dean of the Harris School and Provost of the University) to ensure the unit is meeting the metrics that were set regarding cash flow, accounting, as well as each of the individual gifts and grants.

  • Works with the Chief of Staff and Leadership team to identify the funding needs of individual projects and the larger unit. Also responsible for developing project level budgets with research teams for funding proposals.

  • Oversees and audits reporting within the General Expense Management System (GEMS) system of $50k-$100k in spending each month.

  • Directs and manages the procurement of all goods and services for the Crime Lab and the Education Lab via contracts, RFTs, purchase orders, GEMS. This includes ensuring compliance with University requirements as well as with federal foundations and the individual restriction of each grant and gift.

Grant Administration

  • Oversees the grants administration of the Crime Lab and Education Lab and ensures compliance with University policies and sponsor guidelines and reporting requirements.

  • Work collaboratively with Principal Investigators, Research Directors, Research Staff, and Urban Lab partners to develop new projects, proposals, and other initiatives.

  • Work with University Research Administration to prepare budget summaries as required for sponsored project reports.

  • Prepare interim sponsored project financial reports and manage award closeout processes.

  • Maintains communication with University and sponsor agencies.

  • Leads annual budgeting and planning process; administers and reviews all financial plans and budgets; monitors progress and changes; and keeps unit leadership team abreast of financial performance and position.


  • Oversees the management of payroll allocations, employee credit card program, out-of-pocket expense reimbursements, electronic check payments, purchase requisitions, and invoicing.

  • Develop, communicate, and implement financial policies and procedures such as Travel and Entertainment – communicating established guidelines that were created in light of current budget, University policies, and funding restrictions. Then audits expenses as they come in to ensure they are compliant with policies.

  • Develop and manage project database system to aid leadership in project management and ensure grant and gift spending accurately align with staff effort.

  • Develop and conduct in-house trainings around pre- and post-award administration.

Team Management and Collaboration

  • Provide direct supervision and mentorship to the finance and grants staff, establishes performance goals and allocates necessary resources.

  • Serves as the liaison between the Labs and external financial entities.

  • Collaborate with other university departments such as the Harris School finance team, Budget office, URA, and other Urban Labs.

Reporting and Compliance

  • Ensures adherence to financial regulations and standards.

  • Stays updated on changes in financial policies, grant requirements, and best practices.

  • Manages the preparation of financial statements, activity reports, financial position forecasts, and/or reports required by regulatory agencies.

  • Manages, negotiates, and resolves financial compliance issues with various governmental agencies.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • A Master’s degree in Business Administration, Finance, Accounting, or a related field.


  • Demonstrated experience in operations, grant administration, finance, or other related field.

  • Experience submitting grant proposals to a variety of sponsors including federal agencies, private foundations, and state/local governments.

  • Experience with budget planning and forecasting, ledgers, invoices, and fiscal reporting.

  • Experience working in a higher education or non-profit environment.

  • Experience with financial and accounting systems such as Workday or Oracle/Peoplesoft.

  • Experience managing post-award activities, especially projects that are funded by multiple sponsors.

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and experience managing multiple direct reports, including mentoring, training, and development.

Preferred Competencies

  • Able to engage effectively with a diverse workforce in a complex research environment.

  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills and comfortable with a consultative approach to interacting with employees.

  • Exceptional organization skills, with previous project management experience.

  • A resourceful problem-solver and critical thinker who is proactive in leveraging opportunities and anticipating and averting problems.

  • Able to handle all employment information and issues with absolute discretion and confidentiality.

  • High-level proficiency with spreadsheets, computer applications such as Word, Excel and accounting systems.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)

  • Cover Letter (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Financial Management

Role Impact

People Manager

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: http://securityreport.uchicago.edu. Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.