Employment at MSM

Job Opening:

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Associate VP of Finance and Controller

Position Description

Title: Associate Vice President of Finance and Controller
Department: Business and Finance
Reports To: Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Supervises: General Accounting, Student Accounts, Accounts Payable, and Payroll Manager
Internal Contacts: All Departments
External Contacts: Bankers, External Auditors, Investment Advisor, Insurance Brokers and Carriers; Vendors
Employment Status:   Full-time; Exempt

Manhattan School of Music is one of the world’s foremost music conservatories with a century-long history of extraordinary success. From its beginnings as a small settlement music school, MSM has become an internationally recognized conservatory and leading force in professional music education. The School is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians. Offering classical music, jazz, and musical theatre training, MSM grants a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees.  MSM is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Position Summary

The Associate Vice President of Finance and Controller, under the general direction of the Senior Vice President/CFO, has hands-on responsibility for all fiscal activities for the School, ensuring compliance with School business policies and procedures, state and federal fiscal management laws and regulations, and generally accepted accounting principles. The AVP/Controller provides budgetary and fiscal support to all departments and ensures the sound fiscal operation of the School, including the timely, accurate, and comprehensive development of an annual budget and its implementation.

The AVP/Controller provides leadership and direct oversight for the finance team, which includes Student Accounts, Payroll, Accounts Payable, and General Accounting.


  • Oversee all accounting functions of the School, including but not limited to general accounting, financial and managerial reporting, cash management, construction/auxiliary accounting, donor funds accounting, government accounting, payroll and benefits (including compensation tracking/reporting), accounts payable, accounts receivable, audit liaison, tax compliance, and asset management.
  • Prepare all required financial statements, the Form 990 and related filings, and reports for internal and external use as well as for audit purposes.
  • Create and maintain appropriate fiscal policies and procedures, monitor budget performance, monitor compliance with applicable government laws, ensure compliance with tax issues, and recommend and implement systems to improve efficiency of operations.
  • Develop projections and analysis with recommendations and conclusions for management. Project and quantify future needs accurately.
  • Manage, direct, and perform special projects and assignments, such as budget modeling and major system development projects which impact financial reporting.
  • Ensure the proper and timely recording of transactions in the accounting system of record to allow for management reporting, Board of Trustees reporting, financial analysis, and budgetary controls by departments within the School.
  • Ensure that tuition and contributed revenue is reconciled monthly in collaboration with Student Accounts and the Advancement Department.
  • Recommend accounting system enhancements, and work with the Information Technology department to properly configure and implement changes.
  • Ensure the Business Office adheres to basic requirements of internal control and sound office procedures, using accurate and reliable data and information.
  • Recommend/participate in the development of policies and procedures; may serve on MSM planning and policy-making committees.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Financial Management and Control

  • Assist the CFO with budget development, financial and cash flow forecast, and preparation for Board Committee/Subcommittee mailings and meeting materials.
  • Manage budget within established guidelines, promptly reporting any anticipated budgetary problems to the CFO.
  • Provide CFO and senior leadership with timely monthly budget and financial reports.
  • Train staff on budget and fiscal matters on a routine basis.
  • Manage the monthly close process, ensuring all workpapers are rolled forward each month and all adjusting entries are posted so that the trial balance is always supported by the workpapers; works with team to meet deadlines.
  • Prepare all financial reports required by bond or banking agreements on a timely basis.


  • Ensure timely and accurate completion of the annual audits prepared by independent auditors.
  • Liaison with accounting services firm to plan all audits and financial reporting that require external CPA firm review or audit, and report results to the administration.
  • Complete all audits on a timely basis by providing needed work papers and draft financial statements.
  • Establish and maintain proper internal controls, and promptly report any weaknesses in internal controls to the CFO.

Administrative Management

  • Articulate a challenging direction for the Business Office, and strive for continuous improvement and best practices for all tasks and services delivered by the Business Office. Anticipate program needs of Business Office and the Finance part of the CFO division.
  • Adhere to the School’s performance management program, conducting regular check-in meetings with staff and providing feedback on goals and performance to build their skills and confidence and to contribute to ongoing improvement throughout the department.
  • Participate effectively on committees and teams within the CFO division and across the School, collaboratively supporting the work of other departments and colleagues.
  • Keep current on trends and up-to-date in professional field.
  • Provide customer service to the MSM community, determining customer needs, proactively resolving issues and creating strong working relationships with diverse constituencies.

Job Requirements

  • Knowledge of financial, accounting and business operations, modern information systems, and current practices and trends of not-for-profit accounting, preferably in private higher education.
  • Knowledge of college and/or public auditing policies, standards, and procedures, as well relevant policies, state mandates, and administrative directives.
  • Ability to interpret audit information and to institute financial policy, procedure, and/or operational corrections and modifications.
  • Skills in examining and re-engineering operations and procedures, formulating policy, and developing and implementing new strategies and procedures.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community.
  • Ability to communicate complex financial information in a clear, concise way; excellent oral, written, and presentation skills.
  • Skills in analyzing complex problems and developing and evaluating options.
  • Experience managing external relationships with bankers, auditors, investment managers, et al.
  • Initiative to follow through with tasks and follow up on communications.
  • Demonstrated collaborative work style of motivating staff, achieving goals, and creating a customer-focused culture of service.
  • Impeccable integrity, confidentiality, and good judgment.
  • Personally responsible, steadfast, and can be called upon to meet challenges.
  • Interest in the mission, vision, and values of higher education and performing arts.
  • Weeknights and/or weekend work may be required.

Education and Work Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree; preference for Active CPA, MBA, or other master’s degree in relevant field; or significant experience at Controller level or above in a college or university.
  • Eight to ten years in financial management.
  • Technical proficiency with accounting software (Jenzabar familiarity a plus), Excel (advanced proficiency a plus), and other tools.

Contact Information

Send letter of application and résumé including three references to:

Eric Cole
Finance Coordinator

No phone calls, please.

Equal employment and equal educational opportunity have been and will continue to be fundamental principles at Manhattan School of Music, where employment and enrollment are based upon personal capabilities and qualifications without discrimination or harassment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, the status of being transgender, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship or veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. Manhattan School of Music does not permit retaliation against individuals who oppose a discriminatory practice or participate in an investigation.