Director of Finance

Position Description:

The Director of Finance is responsible for the overall financial management of the non-profit organization, as well as serving as a strategic advisor in the area of business operations. The Director of Finance will define the process and implement the infrastructure/systems needed to support and sustain substantial growth.

The ideal candidate will be a systems thinker, thought partner and hands-on financial expert who will create and lead in the following areas: finances and financial reporting; legal considerations; projecting, planning and budgeting; integration of CEC’s core systems to track time and expenditures.

The Director of Finance will play a critical role in strategic decision making and operations as the organization continues to enhance its quality programming and build capacity across the country. This position reports to the Co-Executive Directors and works in close collaboration with the Director of Operations.

Work Environment:

CEC transforms schools and districts by building collaborative relationships between unions, school administrators, and school boards, and through full-service consulting that builds capacity for long-term change at every level of the school system. The organization has an annual budget of approximately $6 million and employs 25 full and part-time staff and more than 50 independent consultants. To learn more about CEC and how it assists schools and districts in Illinois and across the country, review our website.

The Director of Finance will work out of the CEC Lombard Office, 530 E. 22nd Street, Lombard. The Director of Finance position works in a shared space with other System of Support team members and will supervise a part-time bookkeeper. The Director of Finance has the autonomy and responsibility to complete daily job responsibilities.

Specific job responsibilities include:

Financial Management

The Director of Finance develops and establishes financial organizational strategies by reporting financial and accounting information, provides expert analysis, evaluates trend data, and makes recommendations to strategic thinking and direction; and establishes functional objectives in coordination with organizational objectives.

Responsible for the preparation and integrity of the financial statements; updating and implementing all necessary business policies, legal requirements and accounting practices to ensure timely and accurate financial statements.

Create and prepare financial reports for grant funders; prepare financial reports for individual projects and programs including profit/loss event statements; complete special projects as needed; present financial reports to organizational leadership, colleagues and others in an accurate and timely manner; and analyze and communicate monthly and annual financial statements.

Help develop the organization by studying economic trends and revenue opportunities; project acquisition and expansion prospects; analyzes organization operations; and identify opportunities for improvement, cost reduction, and systems enhancement.

Lead the annual audit process and works with external auditors, the Steering Committee and the Investment Committee.

Lead an annual budgeting and planning process in conjunction with the executive leadership team that reflects the many funds and sources of revenues for the organization; administer and monitor all financial plans and budgets; and keep executive leadership team informed on the organization’s financial position.

Manage and monitor organizational cash flow and financial forecasting, maximizing return on invested funds and minimizing the impact of variances.

Ensure appropriate internal controls and improve/implement the organization’s policy and procedure manuals; and coordinate professional liability insurance and workers’ compensation policies.

Prepare and file all the organization’s federal and state tax returns.


Ensure that the finance department’s administrative and operational processes, including technology, office management and other key functions, are meeting the operational needs of the organization, with a goal of continuously developing and improving systems.

Develop efficient and effective systems and processes to reduce costs and/or improve productivity with a heavy focus on technology tools and systems.

Provide strategic leadership to the organization in financial matters, business development and forecasting.

Manage the daily financial functions in a coordinated and effective manner. These functions include but are not limited to: invoicing customers; posting checks to invoices; making deposits; process vendor payments; processing employee and consultant payroll; monitoring cash flow; managing investments; managing direct deposit accounts; distribution of funds; and recording final allocations of financial information.

Ensure that proper policies and procedures are in place to protect the organization’s assets, which includes, but is not limited to: procurement procedures to prevent fraud by employees or vendors; and risk management policies and procedures to protect the organization.

Evaluate and determine high quality external partners including audit firms, insurance carriers, 401k management administrators and benefit providers. Maintain a working and trusting relationship with CEC clients and partners.

Legal Compliance

Develop proper organizational procedures to ensure that the organization maintains it tax exempt status.

Develop and/or reviews contracts with vendors and consultants and ensuring proper fulfillment of contracts.

Ensure that the organization complies with all federal, state and local laws including federal and state lobbying laws.

Ensure that the organization complies with all federal, state and local employment laws.

Other duties as assigned.


Minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree. Ideal candidate will have an MBA or CPA.

Ideal candidate will have at least 10 years of overall experience and at least 5+ years of nonprofit or foundation experience.

Experience having final responsibility for the quality and content of all financial data, reporting and audit coordination for either an organization, division or significant program area.

Experience working in a collaborative and ever-changing environment and contributing new ideas and suggestions for improvement of systems.  Ability to adjust easily and quickly to changing circumstances.

Ability to translate financial concepts to – and to effectively collaborate with – colleagues whose primary role is not financial.

Experience in grants administration, tracking and reporting.

Experience establishing, improving and utilizing technology (particularly cloud based) integration to enhance day-to-day productivity, as well as timely reporting and billing.

High proficiency in technology including:

  • Microsoft suite (Excel and Word)
  • Quickbooks (or other comparable systems)
  • Google products
  • Connectwise management system (preferred)

Strong knowledge of IRS regulations for 501c3 organizations, employment law and contracts.

A successful track record in setting priorities; keen analytic, organization and problem solving skills which support and enable sound decision making and quality recommendations.

Excellent verbal and written communication skills and relationship building skills with an ability to work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.

Ability to multi-task with the skills to complete varied tasks in a fast-paced environment.

Personal qualities that include the highest standards for integrity, credibility, and dedication to the mission of organization.

Note: Final candidates will be asked to provide references from former employers and share an up-to-date personal financial credit report.

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