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Financial Assistant, Research and Contracts

Date: December 5, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Administrative Officer
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): None
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering


Waterloo Campus


35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

  The Financial Assistant, Research and Contracts reports directly to the Administrative Officer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and oversees post-award administration of sponsored research funds, reporting any concerns to the grant or contract holder. The incumbent supports the Department’s research mandate by ensuring research expenditures meet agency eligibility requirements, contractual agreement guidelines, University and Finance policies and procedures.  The incumbent also possesses problem-solving skills and provides expert financial guidance to assist faculty with financial matters associated with research grants and contracts.

Key Accountabilities:


Interpret and apply funding agency guidelines and University policies, ensuring compliance in the use of research funds


Perform a compliance review prior to authorizing research related expenses


Investigate and resolve all anomalies and irregularities that do not comply with Tri-Agency and University policy for approximately 200 unique research contracts and grants in excess of $5M


Provide advice and assistance to researchers regarding grant activity, problem solving and error correction in partnership with the Office of Research and Finance Department


Monitor grant expenditures to prevent and resolve funding deficits.  Report deficits to the grant holder and the Administrative Officer


Ensure accurate record keeping and document retention to facilitate audits performed by granting agencies and internal audit


Prepare reports to allow for effective financial management of research funds


Assist the grant holder/researcher with budget set-up, account reconciliation and completion of progress reports as required


Review budgets with the Primary Investigators/Researcher and make spending recommendations as a project approaches its end date


Provide Department level review and administrative support to faculty members during the grant application process

Position Requirements


Post-secondary accounting related diploma or equivalent combination of education and experience.  An accounting designation would be an asset.





MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermedite Advanced Basic

Concur Expense Manager, FORE/Unit 4,


Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Type: Principal Investigators/Researchers and/or designates
Purpose: Obtain, provide and/or clarify information with Principal Investigators. This can involve instruction or advising Principal Investigators on University and/or granting agency policies and procedures. Communicate detailed financial information.

Type: Office of Research
Purpose: Obtain, provide and/or clarify information on University and/or granting agency policies and procedures, guidelines and/or requirements.      
Type: Faculty Financial Officer/Analyst, Finance or Payroll Department.
Purpose: Obtain, provide and/or clarify financial information and provide assistance in resolving issues.

Type: Research/Administrative Personnel/Students
Purpose: Act as a research compliance and eligibility resource by providing accurate information, advice and assistance to a wide range of customers (other University departments, research administrators, research personnel and project holders) regarding Granting Agency rules and regulations, University policies, procedures, financial systems and accounting processes.    

Level of Responsibility:

Non-compliance with contractual terms and /or Agency guidelines could result in the return of agency funds, loss of future funding, and/or inability to collect funds owed to the University.  Incorrect interpretation of Agency and University policy provided to Faculty can result in non-compliance with agency terms on the use of funds.  A high degree of accuracy, a thorough understanding of policies and practices, the ability to anticipate, investigate and resolve problems, and the ability to meet conflicting demands are expected. Failure to do so may result in overpayments, payroll delays, deficits or inappropriate charges which must be covered using department funds.

Decision-Making Authority:

Establishes own priorities in accomplishing job duties. Receives instruction when unusual situations arise. As part of the administration of grants and contracts, she/he will identify and seek to resolve issues, escalating to the Administrative Officer if necessary.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal physical demands typical of an administrative position operating within an office environment.  This position handles sensitive materials and deals with complex situations which require concentration. The incumbent assesses client concerns or circumstances, interprets policies, identifies and resolves issues.   

Working Environment:

This role involves minimal psychological risk typical of an office environment.