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Job Summary

The University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute ( seeks a seasoned and highly effective Business Manager who has significant experience in financial and research administration, and people management. This individual will have primary responsibility for day-to-day financial management efforts and will manage the institute’s small administrative support team.  The position requires at least 5 years of directly relevant experience, with an emphasis on financial management, research administration and general management. The incumbent will have significant responsibility with respect to budgeting, controlling costs, planning, scheduling, and procedural change. Familiarity working in a large university or comparably complex institution is preferred.

Supervision Received: Reports directly to the Institute Managing Director. Receives significant guidance from the Senior Business Administrator in the Office of the Vice Provost for Engaged Learning (VPEL).

Supervision Exercised: Supervises and coordinates the efforts of three full-time members of the administrative support team.

Who We Are

The Graham Sustainability Institute mobilizes the expertise and passion of scholars, partners, and decision-makers to work together and bring world-class research to real-world sustainability challenges. We focus on climate change, water resources, leadership development, policy integration, and broader impacts, working toward a just and sustainable world where policy and practice are powered by science, collaboration, and creativity.

Our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe that diversity is key to empowerment, and to the advancement of sustainability knowledge, learning, and leadership. Our mission includes ensuring that each member of our community thrives.

Graham serves as a bridge organization, bringing the U-M community together with external partners. As such, all Graham programs and initiatives involve convening multidisciplinary teams and internal and external stakeholders to understand interests, capabilities, needs, and priorities. The Institute facilitates faculty- and student-led efforts to establish and strengthen connections among experts and partners through competitive funding opportunities and a broad range of research support services.


10% Administrative Team Management

  • Supervise and manage the Institute’s administrative support team, which presently consists of three employees.
  • Manage annual performance evaluation for three administrative staff members with input from institute and program area leaders.
  • Guide the development, refinement, and documentation of administrative policies and procedures for the Institute
  • Train and provide direction to Administrative Assistant for processing expense reimbursement and invoices, as well as direction on Institute database design, development and user management.

25% Financial Management

  • Review reconciliation of revenues and expenses, including the determination if expenditures are recorded properly.
  • Prepare ad hoc reporting and analysis by extracting financial data from multiple data sources and assemble data for analysis.
  • Act as liaison between Graham Program Managers and internal UM units regarding award tracking and management for all Graham Programs including financial aid awards.
  • Evaluate, develop and maintain internal controls, policies and procedures to minimize risks associated with Institute’s activities.
  • Oversee transaction processing, open and close accounts, manage large purchases, and monitor funding commitments.
  • Ensure reconciliations are complete and monitor expenses
  • Work with and answer questions from program managers regarding any accounting and financial issues, including the budget and financial report.
  • Support the development of departmental accounting policies and procedures
  • Open new project grants and manage all activity

25% Financial Reporting and Analysis

  • Prepare Monthly, Quarterly and Annual reports for Director and Managing Director.
  • Review and work with leadership to identify reporting needs and develop custom reports.
  • Prepare journal entries and coordinate appropriate source documents.
  • Approve all P-Card transactions and department vouchers.
  • Analyze expenditures from the past fiscal year and calculate year-end projections. Prepare and present a variety of financial reports, including those related to fund, department or project grant activity.
  • Review bi-weekly and monthly gross pay registers for accuracy.
  • Generate report on endowment, general fund and gift revenues and expenditures.

25% Sponsored Funds Post-Award and Pre-award (Federal and Non-Federal)

  • Set up new awards, including sub-PGs, subcontracts, consulting agreements and cost sharing. Closely monitor personnel effort on projects, and plan in accordance with university and sponsor policies.
  • Prepare and review appointment change requests. Monitor project budget status and initiate changes as needed: re-budget and process journal entries.
  • Track invoicing and payments. Work closely and proactively with PIs to develop budgets, forecasts, and reports for their entire funding portfolio. Monitor project burn rates, and analyze and explain variances.
  • Review and reconcile all project expenses. Provide financial reports to PIs, department, and sponsors.
  • Submit no cost time extensions and perform all required project closeout actions, including review and resolution of FSRs.
  • Maintain project records in department and university databases. Maintain detailed project files. 
  • Coordinate proposal submissions with multiple departments and external entities. Work closely with the PI on preparation of budgets and supporting documentation. Maintain reliable tracking for multiple iterations of budget and other proposal documents.
  • Ensure timely routing of proposals and submission through University and Sponsor systems. Ensure compliance with all applicable sponsor and university requirements, regulations and deadlines. Serve as liaison with sponsor, collaborators, and ORSP.

10% Budget Support and Analysis

  • Annually assist the VPEL’s Business Administrator Senior with the preparation and distribution of all Graham budget files and supporting documentation for leadership and all Program/Project Managers. Participate in budget meetings with project managers as assigned.
  • Prepare monthly budget spreadsheets for salaries; revenue and expenses. Work with leadership and staff to ensure funding agreements are properly recorded in the budget commitment system.
  • Assist and review the monthly/quarterly/annual budget projections including variance analysis and narrative. Meet with project managers to provide updates regarding their budget variances.
  • Analyze budget to actual data.

5% Other

  • General contributions to the Institute and other duties as assigned

Additional Information

101227 - Financial Specialist Senior - FI190 - Assists the manager in analyzing and monitoring accounting and budget activity. Recommends alternatives to solve financial problems. Provides workflow coordination and direction to lower-level staff. Provides analysis of special projects. Education and Experience: Bachelor degree with 3 to 5 years experience. Employees in this classification typically analyze, compare and evaluate various courses of action and have the authority to make independent decisions on matters of significance, free from immediate direction, within the scope of their responsibilities. Primary activities and decision making authority are predominantly performed independently affecting business operations to a substantial degree. Under FLSA, this is the exempt job classification for this title. Incumbents in this position must meet the full criteria for exempt status: salary level, salary basis, and duties tests.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.