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Accountant I - Electrical and Computer Engineering

Apply now Job no: 509922
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Elect & Computer Engineering
Union: USA/MTA
Categories: Accounting/Finance/Budget, College of Engineering

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

In support of Electrical and Computer Engineering department (ECE) financial activity, prepare reports for Principal Investigators (PIs), departments, and Department Head including the centers within the department.  Develops and prepares budgets and documents for proposal processing following federal and OMB guidelines. In contact with OGCA and funding agencies to assure compliance and timeliness of proposal budget processing. Management of all post award activities on sponsored grants.


Essential Functions


  • Interpret RFP (Request for Proposals) and solicitations for proposal development and implement sponsor and University, Commonwealth, and Federal financial policies for proposal submission and award processes. Develop proposal budgets and justifications according to agency requirements; revise budgets per agency request. Review and check the final budgets, the Memorandum of Understanding, organize the division of overhead return for multi-principal investigator grants, and check IPF for accurate information. Submit proposals through grant accounting systems such as Smart Grant, NSF Fastlane, and Fast Grant. Advise faculty of new guidelines relating to proposal submissions and prepare and submit proposal budgets electronically.  Advise faculty regarding proposal format compliance. Review proposal narratives for clarity and guideline requirements. Verify that all documents are in place for proposal submission to OGCA. Advise faculty of any missing documents that are required before submitting to OGCA; current and pending, statement of work, budget justification, list of collaborators, facilities. 
  • Assist with grant proposals development for the Department Head when requested. Inform and guide new faculty in the process of proposal development. Set new faculty up for OGCA and Fastlane access. 
  • Coordinate preparation and submission of collaborative proposals with other on- and off-campus personnel, including ECE subcontracts to other institutions. Interpret whether a participant in a project is a subcontractor, consultant, or vendor; provide this interpretation to the PI during the proposal process.  Organize and follow cost-sharing policies if applicable.  Manage the award process, including any pre-award/pre-establishment requests, through OGCA and the Controller's Office to account set-up. Facilitate grant renewals, extensions and amendments.  Prepare and submit financial status reports for faculty as required by the grant or contract. Manage subcontract budgets, invoices and payments; initiate purchase orders for subcontracts. Extensive contact with sponsors, program managers, subcontractors, other universities and the Controller's Office.


  • Complete management of research accounts in various fund types including:  grants, contracts, gifts and RTF. Prepare budget projections based on fiscal, academic, and grant years.  Prepare financial status reports for faculty. Interpret spending rules for each fund type and inform faculty of spending guidelines and policies. 
  • Review budgets to ensure compliance with funding agency regulations and institutional requirements. Ensure that all grant expenditures are reasonable, allocable, and allowable according to OMB and agency guidelines. Prepare overall budget forecasting to meet the Principal investigator’s needs in budget planning and projections for their research, tracking encumbrances, expenditures and indirect costs.  Work with faculty to identify and resolve budget and compliance issues. Verify and reconcile all account activity; resolve conflicts and problems associated with financial transactions. Monitor and assist in the budgeting of the financial accounts within the department and direct oversight of department activities in various fund types, including grants, contracts, gifts, RTF.  Manage re-budgeting of funded grants with the Controller’s Office /research accountants.  
  • Prepare Contract for Services including sole source justification as applicable. Collaborate with department business manager on joint accounting activities, such as overhead transfers, split-funding, gifts, President's Office grants, etc. Act as liaison with sponsors, program managers, subcontractors, other universities. Extensive contact with OGCA, Procurement, Controller’s Office, Human Resources and other university departments. Act as liaison with sponsors, program managers, sub-contractors, and industry.


  • Apply university personnel policies and procedures, particularly as they apply to grants and contracts. Prepare personnel budgeting forecasts, applying changes to salaries, fringe rates and indirect costs as appropriate.
  • Initiate and track appointments, re-appointment and compensation for faculty, research assistants, and undergraduate student hires.   Process financial documents for REU’s (Research experience for Undergraduates).  Use People Soft System to track personnel information, hire, and fund student employees.


  • Understand and interpret University accounting and procurement procedures and requirements (including University and MHEC contracts). Using the University purchasing system (PS), prepare purchase orders.
  • Prepare contracts for services, including sole-source justification where needed, obtain signatures, process and track invoices. Process accounts payable including invoice and voucher processing, order and payments, follow-up, problem resolution and return processing with vendors.
  • Procard Records Manager for self: assist in reallocating expenses, reconcile statements and understand requirements, restrictions and procedures associated with the card. Reimburse faculty and students for university related purchases; prepare disbursement vouchers and business expense forms.
  • Research prices, encumber funds for and order equipment, supplies and services. Extensive contact with vendors and contractors, Procurement and the Controller’s Office.


  • Inform new faculty of policies for the University, OGCA, grants, proposal preparation, travel, and reimbursements. Arrange travel, including flight, hotel, transportation and registration for graduate students and visitors, to workshops, conferences.
  • Organize conferences on and off site: process registration payments, coordinate with local and off site hotels for hotel room blocks, rooms for meetings, equipment for meeting, and food on site for meetings and off site at restaurants, as required. 
  • Research and prepare contracts and purchase orders with hotels and restaurants for their services. Prepare post conference paperwork: W9’s, payments to vendors, speakers, attendees, and participants.  Plan, schedule and prepare for on-site meetings and workshops with federal and industry sponsors. Serve as Certified Travel Preparer. Assist faculty and students in foreign travel online authorization system.


Other Functions

  • Attend training sessions, workshops and meetings to develop and maintain skills and knowledge of policies and procedures.
  • Hold signature delegation and authority for several PIs. 


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • 1 year of Accounting experience or related business functionality
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment.
  • High degree of organizational skills and knowledge of office administration; ability to prioritize and balance work tasks in a demanding environment.     
  • Ability to track and manage multiple deadlines.
  • Ability to write, coordinate and compile reports, correspondence, etc. using correct policies and procedures.
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision, and to exercise independent judgment.
  • Decision-making skills.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Ability to take initiative in carrying out assignments, and in understanding and applying Departmental, University, Commonwealth and/or funding agency policy and procedures.
  • Ability to work effectively with both on-campus offices, such as OGCA, Procurement, HR and the Controller's Office as well as off-campus organizations:  federal and state agencies, collaborating institutions, vendors and industry sponsors.
  • Ability to learn and use new software and hardware in a rapidly changing environment.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Normal Office Conditions


Work Schedule

8:00 am - 4:00 pm  (37.5 hours per week)


Salary Information

Grade 15 USA/MTA


Special Instructions to Applicants

To apply, applicants must submit their application online and provide a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references by the priority deadline of September 18, 2021 in order to ensure consideration.  Applications may be accepted after the priority date until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.


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