Assistant Director of Research Finance


This position is responsible for overseeing the Research Finance Grants Management Team with a focus on providing administrative and financial support to university departments and Principal Investigators throughout the award life cycle. 

As a key leader of the Research Finance Team, the Assistant Director maintains a close partnership with university research functions across campus as well as finance and accounting and is responsible for central oversight for full project expenditures, financial reconciliation, report preparation, and award closeout. The Assistant Director has a holistic understanding of the award lifecycle and serves as a key training resource to the university related to post-award activities.

The Research Finance Team strives for excellence in providing support and oversight in administratively managing sponsored projects, monitoring associated financial compliance requirements in accordance with sponsor regulations and university policies, and providing analytical and cost accounting expertise to the management of Vanderbilt’s research enterprise. Research Finance includes the Research Financial Analysts that provide central oversight for project expenditures, financial reconciliation, financial reporting, and award closeout, the Research Accountants that perform invoicing, cash management and accounts receivable management, and the Data and Cost Analysts that perform cost accounting activities and institutional research reporting as well as award setup and effort certification compliance oversight. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Responsible for the development of policies, procedures, and training related to central oversight of project expenditures accounting, financial reconciliation, report preparation, and award closeout. 
  • Assist in establishing a post-award training curriculum building content to support Vanderbilt’s research enterprise. 
  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the Research Financial Grants Management Team including review of project expenditures, financial reconciliation, report preparation and award closeout. 
  • Establish goals and monitor performance objectives for optimal service delivery and efficient operations. Leads identification and development of high-performing staff.
  • Identify, envision, and champion process improvements including system-based opportunities to best support Vanderbilt’s research enterprise.  Work collaboratively with VUIT, and Accounting on fully utilizing system functionality and designing new functionality. 
  • Serve as the knowledge expert on the Oracle grants project module.
  • Work collaboratively with top leadership in schools and departments on research administration compliance activities.  Lead Vanderbilt during audits performed by external auditors and granting agencies.
  • Oversee all reconciliations of grants project module in Oracle to the General Ledger.
  • Assist in review of the schedule of Federal Awards and Schedule of Expenditures of State Awards for the annual financial report ensuring all federal awards are reported appropriately.

Supervisory Relationships:

This position has direct supervisory responsibility over the 9 person Research Finance Grants Management Team. This position reports administratively and functionally to the Senior Director for Research Finance.


  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is required. A Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in accounting is preferred.
  • Skill in advanced Excel, Word, and PowerPoint applications is required.
  • Time management skills and the ability to work well in a team environment is required.
  • Ability to build and maintain effective working relationships with a range of people, understanding their needs and goals is required. 
  • Ability to work cooperatively with others as part of a team, as opposed to working separately or competitively, is required.
  • Experience leading an organization and providing effective management to a diverse staff, ensuring that they are developing professionally and sustaining a high level of performance is required.
  • Demonstrated performance in establishing and maintaining productive and collaborative relationships with a full range of internal and external constituencies is required.
  • Advanced understanding of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and General Ledgers is required.
  • Proven detail-oriented work style in collaboration with effective written and verbal communication skills is required.
  • Openness to change, adaptability, and the ability to work effectively in a variety of situations, with individuals or groups is required.
  • Ability to understand and appreciate different and opposing perspectives on an issue is required.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop and maintain relationships with key stakeholders is required.
  • CPA or MACC/MBA is preferred.
  • 5+ years of supervisory experience is preferred.
  • Experience in higher education with a focus in research compliance and/or financial administration in a research university, academic medical center, or other organization subject to an externally regulated environment is preferred.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are.  We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University is an equal-opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.


Contact Information

Vanderbilt University
First Name
Last Name
Contact Email
Contact URL

Background Information

4-Year Degree
Years of Experience
  • College/University
  • Non-Profit
  • Compliance
  • Finance, Operations
  • Grants and Contracts
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs
Work Authorization
Security Clearance

Target Job Information

Job Type
  • Full Time