Careers at UMass Amherst

Accountant I - Astronomy Department

Apply now Job no: 515178
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Astronomy
Union: USA/MTA
Categories: Accounting/Finance/Budget, College of Natural Sciences

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

The Accountant I position is responsible for managing funds of all types for the Department of Astronomy in support of the Business Manager and acts as the financial liaison for the Department with the Unified Procurement Services Team and the Controller’s Office as well as outside vendors. The Accountant I oversees accounting and bookkeeping functions for the Department of Astronomy, examines accounting data, prepares financial statements and reports, maintains accounting records, and assists the Business Manager in maintaining a computerized financial management system to enable comprehensive budget reviews. The job includes negotiating sales terms and conditions and contracts for services. The Accountant will serve as the Department bank card holder and coordinator and Certified Travel Preparer.


Essential Functions

  • Management of grant budgets and expenditures, and allocation and expenditures of funds for all account types, under Business Manager’s supervision.
  • Application of University fiscal policies and procedures for all fund types (gift, grant, general operating funds, research trust funds, contracts, and revenue cost centers) and all financial transactions, under oversight of Business Manager.
  • Monitors grants sub-contract budgets and invoicing. Analyzes, tracks and reconciles financial expenditures for all funds.
  • Creates, prepares, and maintains PeopleSoft Reports and Summit System queries to monitor accuracy of accounting transactions.
  • Acts as primary purchasing agent for grants and department funds, initiates purchase orders; obtains vendor quotes; prepares vendor contracts and sole source justifications; and maintains complete, accurate, and audit-ready files on all department and grant expenditures.
  • Maintains Subcontracts and modifications, all consulting contracts (foreign vendors), and maintenance contracts.
  • Accepts deliveries of packages and notifies faculty & staff, responsible for returning packages, contacting vendor for return authorization number.
  • Coordinates, processes and maintains Bank Card users and records files, including re-allocation of Bank Card (Procard) expenses and reconciliation of statements.
  • Assists faculty, researchers, and graduate students with travel and serves as certified travel preparer, reconciling payments and processing related forms, statements, and disbursement documents. Processes appropriate information to ensure timely payment and/or reimbursement.
  • Works with Department Business Manager and Department Head on joint accounting activities, such as overhead transfers; split funded expenditures, faculty teaching, and/or academic support awards, Start-Up funding, etc.
  • Serves as finance and accounting liaison between faculty/students/staff Procurement, Controller’s Office, and Treasurer’s Office for Wire Transfers, Human Resources, Graduate School, Property Office, Physical Plant, Parking Office, Telecommunications, Five Colleges Inc., etc.
  • General office duties - orders all office supplies for department, maintenance contracts of office equipment, Federal Express air bills, setup for journal club & colloquium when needed.


Other Functions

  • Works collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality, and inclusiveness.
  • Works in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Performs other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.


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

  • Associate degree (in accounting or related financial field) or equivalent combination of education and training required.
  • Three (3) years of work experience in the accounting field.
  • Demonstrated in depth working knowledge of spreadsheet software applications and competence in running queries in computerized database.
  • Demonstrated experience submitting and following submissions through electronic workflows (such as BuyWays and travel reimbursements).
  • Ability to work effectively, prioritize and be flexible in a high-paced environment.
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail with the ability to complete assignments in a timely manner, working while balancing demands of concurrent with potentially competing deadlines in an environment with frequent interruptions.
  • Strong positive attitude to work in an environment with frequent interruptions.


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

  • Proficiency with the use of Peoplesoft software and Summit for business process applications.
  • Knowledge of and proficiency with the use of agency forms.
  • In depth knowledge of the University rules and procedures for Federal and State Grant Accounting, Buyways, Travel, and Bank Card.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Typical office environment.


Additional Details

  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, organizational skills.
  • Able to learn and proficiently work with various software platforms.


Work Schedule

  • Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.


Salary Information

Grade 15 


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations.  (


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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