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Job Title:
Supervisory Financial Analyst, IS-0501-14; $130,929 - $170,205 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all eligible candidates.


*Candidates may be considered after the first 14 days of open period.



The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is at the forefront, internationally, of the scientific exploration of the universe. Its programs range from ground-based astronomy and astrophysics research to space-based research, the engineering and development of major scientific instrumentation for space launch and use in large ground-based facilities, and research designed to improve science education. The research objectives of SAO are carried out primarily with the support of Government and Smithsonian Institution funds, with additional philanthropic support.  Government funds are in the form of Federal appropriations or the form of contracts and grants from other agencies. In contrast, Institution funds are available to SAO through grants from the Institution's Restricted Funds, Special Purpose Funds, Bureau Activities, Business Activities, and non-Federal contracts and grants.


SUMMARY:  The incumbent serves as the Budget and Financial Analysis Supervisor, responsible for leading and providing the financial support required to set and execute the strategic direction for SAO. This includes providing financial analysis and ensuring that budget management functions follow the applicable Government regulations, terms and conditions of contracts and grants, and Smithsonian policies and procedures, and are consistent with the interpretation of the financial significance of past events and plans. 


The individual will prepare highly analytical, complex, and specialized financial analyses, monitor annual budgets and departmental funds, and conduct financial modeling. The incumbent will prepare financial and outlook forecasts.  


MAJOR DUTIES:                                                                                                                                                                         Budget Planning and Support:

  • In partnership with the Director, Deputy Director, and COO, participate in the development, execution, and monitoring of federal appropriation budgets and forecasted trust income, including plan development, federal funds reprogramming, trust allocations, support from foundations, and associated analytical reporting.
  • Prepare consistent, concise, and informative management reporting packages, including business analytics and trend analyses for major revenue and expense categories. 
  • Counsel SAO Leadership and the SAO community on budgetary and financial analysis matters.
  • With the support of supervisees, research, formulate, and present financial strategies for senior management, including short-term financial plans and long-range funding policies. 
  • Provide interpretation and guidance in applying SAO and Smithsonian Institute financial policies and/or regulations to staff within the team, as well as directly to members of the community. 
  • Develop, implement, monitor, and report on budget performance, including budget submission and adherence oversight. 
  • Develop and conduct training in budgeting fundamentals and use of the budget system for SAO community members.  
  • Support the SAO federal budget formulation process that is designed to ensure the efficient use of our financial resources to meet operational goals, development.
  • Document and develop SAO proposed initiatives, operational increases, supporting documentation, and performance measurements.
  • Assist COO in working with SI Office of Governmental Relations and Office of Planning Management and Budget (OPMB) to develop strategies supporting federal budget requirements.
  • Lead various projects across SAO and serve as a resource for others.


Analysis and Reporting:

  • Recommends, designs, and executes business and trend analyses and/or presentations regarding various financial matters for senior management. 
  • Ensures data integrity between various systems. Develops improvements to financial reporting and analyses. 
  • Collects and synthesizes data to determine the costs of business activities and recommends budget adjustments and other improvements to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. 
  • Monitors the performance of actual experienced costs of Federal Salary and Expense (S&E) Major Scientific Instrumentation (MSI) funding, contracts and grants, indirect expenses, Institution funds, Central Engineering cost center
  • As approved by the Director or designee, monitors funds for construction and renovation versus the projected spending plans for these funds and identifies the causes of any significant deviation from the approved spending plans.
  • Coordinates with Division Administrators, Program Managers, Department Managers, and the Director's Office to ensure a comprehensive financial reporting system compatible with management needs.
  • Leads financial analysis projects used to prepare strategies for financing SAO’s mission and programs.
  • Oversees collection and analysis of financial and operational data. 
  • Recommends adjustments to the budget process based on best practices and historical trends.
  • Supports financial analyses related to fundraising for capital projects, building renovations, and lease agreements.  


Cost Analysis:

  • Responsible for providing advice, guidance, and training to the SAO leadership on costing issues. 
  • Responsible for applying federal cost principles, regulations, and addressing cost issues. 
  • Will provide decision support through complex financial analyses, act as SAO’s primary point of contact with its cognizant federal agency, the Office of the Interior, and its cognizant federal auditors.
  • Will track and monitor indirect cost collection for use in the development, submission, audit support, and negotiation of SAO’s indirect cost rates, employee benefits (EB), leave rates, and the central engineering rate.
  • Prepare detailed analyses of the sponsored and non-sponsored research activities to ensure the proper identification of expenses to each allocation based upon agreement with federal negotiators.
  • Oversight of the month-end PeopleSoft grant closing process, including running F&A, clearing errors, and reviewing reconciliations performed. 
  • Assist as needed with the annual financial statements-related audits (per Uniform Guidance audit requirements) and other audits that may arise, i.e., sponsored agency-specific).


Supervisory and Other Duties:

  • Provides overall human resources management in coordination with property and shipping and receiving manager, including interviewing and hiring new team members, determining training needs and arranging for training as appropriate by planning and assigning work; setting priorities; establishing deadlines; providing follow-up; supervising day-to-day awards activities; developing performance standards; reviewing performance (probationary and annual); recommending performance awards; recommending and taking necessary disciplinary action; giving advice, counsel, and instruction to team members; and approving leave.
  • Evaluates processes, recommends changes, and implements enhancements that will benefit the team in support of SAO’s strategies and key initiatives.
  • Supports the relationship with the Harvard College Observatory, including coordination with HCO space managers and staff. Identifies and implements new structures, as needed, to ensure the smooth operation of the entire Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
  • Provides training to administrative and scientific colleagues in multiple formats, from one-on-one training to classroom settings. 
  • Manages budget system processes; reviews system functionality relative to the business process and explores tools and technology to improve business processes.
  • Oversees preparation and dissemination of guidance material to all key SAO personnel in order to inform, clarify, and explain significant regulatory requirements, policies, procedures, and associated changes.
  • Responsible for coordinating with appropriate SAO and SI departments on enhancements to and operation of the systems and processes within their domain and maintaining communications with all division administrators, program managers, and department managers within SAO regarding their satisfaction with the services provided. 
  • Sets schedules for accomplishing duties discussed above and ensures all stakeholders are aware of the schedule of activities, following up as needed to ensure decision-makers availability and providing ample time for internal reviews and input. 
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


QUALIFICATIONS:  One year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 13 level which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, as described below, and that is in or related to the work of the position to be filled.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required:

  • Extensive experience in the financial management of scientific research activities or related research and development programs.
  • Progressive experience as a financial analyst (or in a similar position) in a complex organization, preparing narrative analyses and financial reports.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and motivate people, encourage teamwork, foster collaborative and effective communication between different offices, senior management, and stakeholders; ability to train subordinates, establish performance goals, effect disciplinary actions, and initiate personnel actions.
  • A broad knowledge of and ability to utilize applicable OMB circulars, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, Cost Accounting Principles, Federal Acquisition Regulations, and relevant guidelines, methods, techniques, and systems of financial management as they relate to Federal appropriated funds and Government-sponsored research contracts and grants and compliance audits.
  • Mastery of advanced accounting principles, concepts, theories, and practices, including adherence to accounting standards.
  • Strong communication skills for articulate written and oral communication with various groups, staff, and executive management.
  • Demonstrated expertise in negotiating overhead rates and advising clients during research contract negotiations with funding agencies, utilizing frameworks such as A-21 or A-122.
  • Develop and use tools and processes to monitor research funding, indirect costs, and other project financial metrics and recommend actions to management as required.
  • Strong analytical skills for identifying and resolving operational challenges, project planning and execution, team leadership, technology utilization, and continuous process improvement in alignment with organizational objectives.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:  We are only accepting applications online for this position. To apply please submit your resume and cover letter detailing how you meet the requirements of the position at:

Conditions of Employment

  • Successful completion of pre- and post-employment background investigation.
  • May be required to serve a one-year probationary period.
  • Direct Deposit/Elect Funds Transfer required for salary payment.
  • May be required to file a Confidential Statement of Employment form, Sl-1085.


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

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