Controller (MF)

About Us

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago.

MacArthur is one of the nation's largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the Foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in India, Mexico, and Nigeria.

About the Position

The Office of Finance is responsible for all accounting, banking, payroll, budget, internal control, tax, audit and financial reporting for the Foundation and subsidiary operations. The Office is also responsible for maintaining the financial enterprise systems and end user support and training.

The Controller leads the accounting team in the Office of Finance. The Controller is responsible for day-to-day planning, implementing and managing the internal controls and accounting operations of the Foundation. This includes production of periodic accounting status and updates, financial statements and tax returns, maintenance of an adequate system of accounting records and a comprehensive set of controls designed to mitigate risk, enhancing the accuracy of the company's reported financial results, and ensuring that reported results comply with generally accepted accounting principles. The Controller must exercise professional judgment and assume responsibility for decisions that have an impact on the Foundation, its staff, and quality of service.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Leadership Responsibilities:

  • Manage the Foundation’s accounting direction and strategy, including identifying new regulations, issues and directions in accounting, and communicating the same to senior staff with recommendations; communicating the strategy to staff, defining and clarifying operational accounting priorities; communicating clear roles and responsibilities, and identifying efforts with the greatest strategic impact
  • Participate on the Foundation’s Audit Committee; meet with the President and CFO to discuss accounting and other internal control issues
  • Contribute to best organizational governance practices by recommending, implementing and administering policies, procedures and practices best suited for the Foundation
  • Act as a catalyst of change and pave the way for changes; be willing and able to adjust to multiple demands, shifting priorities, ambiguity, and rapid change
  • Interact with the Director, Finance on issues impacting the department
  • Build relationships with Foundation staff, grantees and external audiences

Finance Operations:

  • Manage the accounting systems, payments and reporting for a $7 billion organization
  • Oversee the Foundation’s investment portfolio accounting and tax reporting
  • Manage the operational treasury and cash management functions of the Foundation in conjunction with the CFO
  • Oversee the accounting functions of the foreign offices and consolidate foreign office reporting into the Chicago general ledger
  • Lead and monitor payroll, payment of non­resident aliens, deferred compensation, payment of directors' fees, retirement plan contributions, payroll tax filings, consulting contracts, and the associated financial and statutory reporting; manage the retirement plan audit and the 5500 tax return filing
  • Monitor changes and maintain compliance with federal, state, and local legal requirements


  • Oversee preparation of the audited financial statements
  • In charge of the Foundation’s tax filings, including Federal (990-PF and 990-T), state and local tax returns


  • Responsible for the system of controls over financial assets and reporting, including the design, implementation and testing
  • Manage the business continuity & disaster recovery program and internal audit function
  • Direct management reviews as selected by the Foundation’s Audit Committee]


  • Create the structure of the Accounting team within the Finance Department and make all hiring decisions
  • Set clear performance expectations and measures; provide coaching and feedback to improve performance, acknowledge and reward people for a job well done, and manage staff learning, training and development


  • Direct the Foundation’s accounting systems and be a key collaborator in the continuing development of the Foundation's grant tracking system


Other Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Perform other duties as assigned



  • A graduate degree (MBA, MA accounting) is preferred, bachelor’s degree and CPA and/or CMA are essential
  • Fifteen or more years of related work experience
  • Background of supervising a team of experienced finance and accounting professionals
  • Comprehensive understanding of technology as relates to systems and implementations; expert level knowledge of accounting systems and applications, ERP systems, Microsoft Office Suite and other business-related software
  • Comprehensive knowledge of general principles of accounting, including statutory accounting principles, practices and procedures; investment accounting and tax experience is a plus
  • Audit experience strongly preferred (as an auditor or client)
  • Knowledge of practices, rules and regulations applicable to private foundations and the nonprofit field is a plus
  • A sophisticated accounting professional with a strong desire to maintain the MacArthur Foundation’s outstanding reputation
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills and able to effectively communicate with the broader organization and a sophisticated Investment team
  • Strong leadership and organizational skills and able to work well in a collegial team environment
  • High ethics and integrity; well respected in the finance community for technical skills, credibility and high standards of professional conduct

To Apply

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