Assistant Controller

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Salary will be commensurate with the experience of candidate and norms in the field. Christensen offers an excellent benefits package. This is a local San Francisco Bay Area hire and will not have relocation assistance



Start Date:


Application Deadline:



San Francisco
United States


The Christensen Fund

The Christensen Fund ( is a long established foundation based in San Francisco that has focused its mission around biocultural diversity (the intersections of people, landscape, culture and ecology) since 2002. Most grantmaking supports local initiatives in selected priority regions around the world, places which have unique heritage and are likely to play an important role for sustaining planetary diversity going forward. Our Grantees are located in Ethiopia, Northern Kenya, Central Asia, Melanesia, Northwest Mexico, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Christensen also seeks to build knowledge and practice worldwide around its mission focus through its Global Program.

Christensen’s grantmaking worldwide finds much opportunity for connecting innovation and long term thinking to back dedicated people, creative thinkers, unusual institutions and social movements. With our focus on support for the local stewards and guardians of place, culture and environment, Christensen makes grants to community-based organizations, local and international NGOs, universities, arts and cultural centers and groups, local governments, museums, and other institutions.

The successful candidate will be joining a foundation with a unique institutional culture that deeply values diversity and creativity. We seek a professional who can continue the tradition of combining that culture with maintaining fiscal discipline and coherent, robust, and responsive financial operations across all places that we work.



Position Summary

The Assistant Controller (AC) is a take-charge, hands-on person responsible for implementing sound and prudent financial policies and practices consistent with relevant regulatory authorities and the policies of The Christensen Fund (Christensen). The AC will provide services and facilitate funding to support and enhance Christensen's domestic and international grantmaking, investments and operations through strict, accurate and timely maintenance of financial controls, general and investment accounting, tax compliance and planning, budget, banking, payroll and benefits processing. As required, the AC will supervise a part-time Staff Accountant and together implement all Christensen’s financial transactions and maintain a complete general ledger and file of financial

records. The AC is a key member of the controls structure and reports to the Director of Finance and Operations (DFO).

Included responsibilities are: analysis of financial and investment operations for the Board and management, preparation and presentation of regular financial reports, cash flow management and deployment, comprehensive support and review of the annual external audit and tax filings, preparation and tracking  of the annual organization and departmental budgets, and assistance to staff to self-manage budgets. There is also opportunity to participate in special projects in both the Program and Finance departments for impact investing, grantee capacity building and other activities.



Position Responsibilities

The on-going responsibilities of the position include the following:


Controls and Practices

·        Together with DFO, vigilantly maintain and improve strict controls and security for the use of Christensen resources and associated transactions in compliance with regulators and internal policies.

·        Exercise transparency and consistency to the maximum, prudent extent.

·        Segregate duties whenever possible in the design and implementation of financial processes, while keeping multiple reconciliation paths.

General Accounting

·        Develop, implement and enforce compliance with regulations and Christensen accounting policies, procedures and systems.

·        Prepare and review annual and quarterly financial statements to support analysis of investments and expenses and budgets to the Board, the Finance and Investment Committees, management and departments.

·        Oversee and maintain Christensen’s general ledger and accounting records using QuickBooks and sound accounting principles.

·        Consolidate reporting for a domestic subsidiary.

·        Oversee and perform monthly and year-end closes.

·        Manage financial aspects of relationships with vendors and subcontractors (e.g., financial administration of benefits, 1099, 1096).

·        Serve as designer, custodian, and enforcer of accounting policies, procedures and controls for key processes of domestic and international operations for: grant payments, investments, payroll and benefits, accounts payable and receivable, expense reporting and policies, monthly and annual closings, document retention.

Investment Accounting

·        Reconcile all investment statements and accounts on a monthly or quarterly basis as appropriate.

·        Work with outsourced CIO and other investment managers as needed.

·        Maintain investment records and databases.

Manage Budget Operations


·        Direct the annual organization and department financial planning and budget preparation process.


·        Prepare and perform the quarterly budget performance analyses and reviews with the Board, management and departments to develop and implement measures to minimize variance.


·        Ensure that grants payable and grant expenses are accurately reported and accounts are reconciled, including reconciliations between grant database and accounting database.


Manage Cash Flow and Payments

·        Reconcile annual and quarterly projected expenses and cash flow requirements and coordinate with DFO to plan redemption decisions.

·        Recommend to DFO and implement decisions for deployment of cash.

·        Oversee the management of internal banking controls, policies and procedures.

·        Manage Christensen’s multiple banking relationships and bank accounts to maximize value and reduce fees.

·        Oversee and make payment of grants, invoices, expense reports, and day-to-day cash receipts and disbursements and cash transfer functions including check writing, ACH and wire transfers.

·        Review and approve all fees, payroll and benefits processing for domestic and international staff and consultants.

Tax and Audit Compliance

·        Provide oversight and timely, complete and accurate information to support: 1) external preparation of all federal and state tax returns and reporting and 2) the annual external audit and fieldwork.

·        Work with external advisors to ensure compliance with domestic and international regulatory requirements in areas of taxes, documentation requirements and retention, payroll and benefits.

·        Review quarterly tax estimates; minimum distribution requirements.

·        Maintain current knowledge of regulatory requirements affecting foundations and philanthropy.

Staff Management

·        As required, manage and mentor part-time Staff Accountant.

·        Sensitize foundation staff with finance, accounting and regulatory matters through occasional presentations.


·        Work closely with HR and Operations on payroll and benefits administration processes and management of fixed assets.

·        Provide range of support for Impact Investing and Program Related Investing

·        Maintain current knowledge of relevant accounting standards through participation in professional societies and peer networking.

·        Other relevant duties from time to time as needed or as directed by the DFO.



Skills and Qualifications



·        Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, or Business with an accounting concentration required - CPA designation preferred.

·        Hands-on Assistant Controller and supervisory or equivalent position for at least 7+ years with unquestioned track record of skill, judgment, integrity and ethics. Foundation experience preferred.

·        Expert hands-on experience and knowledge of financial accounting standards and procedures for tax filing, disclosure reporting and operational compliance with IRS and State of California regulations for private foundations.

·        Expert proficiency with QuickBooks, Excel, MS Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and familiarity with Acrobat and cloud-based applications.

·        Experience with international financial operations and compensation practices.

·        Knowledge of banking arrangements, domestic and international electronic transactions of all types.

·        Familiarity with a range of investment instruments and recording of investment results.

·        Dependable, highly motivated, independent and flexible, able to exercise discretion in a close team work environment.

·        Able to work and gain the trust of others in a very culturally and linguistically diverse environment of staff, consultants and grantees with tact and skill using exceptional written and verbal communication skills.

·        Experience working with senior management and Boards.





·        Graduate degree or equivalent experience in Accounting, Finance or Business with an accounting concentration.

·        An active interest and respect for indigenous cultures, cultural and biological diversity, and the arts is desirable to support Christensen’s mission and working environment.



Position requires minimal lifting (up to 25 lbs.), mostly deskwork.


Salary will be commensurate with the experience of candidate and norms in the field. Christensen offers an excellent benefits package. This is a local San Francisco Bay Area hire and will not have relocation assistance.


The Christensen Fund provides:

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Service Plan
  • Life Insurance, AD&D, STD and LTD Insurance
  • 403(b) Investment Plan
  • Paid Time Off – Vacation, Sick and Holidays
  • Professional Development
  • Commuter Benefits
  • Employee Matching Gift Program
  • Employee Assistance Program

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

Please submit a letter of interest outlining your relevant experience and financial requirements with a resume to: by March 17th, 2018 Please indicate AC in the subject line. Review of credentials will begin immediately. We seek to have someone in place in April 2018. Principals only. No phone calls please.