Ascend is seeking a chief financial officer (CFO) who possesses a deep command of financials and budgeting. This role is an ideal opportunity for a dynamic and visionary leader with significant financial experience to drive the budget strategy and systems for a premier K-12 charter management organization. The CFO will forge a three to five-year financial plan to support the vision and strategy of Ascend while expertly navigating annual responsibilities such as oversight of financial reporting and loan negotiation. The CFO will ensure Ascend continues to serve our growing network of schools by keeping dollars close to students and operating on a per pupil model that serves as a leading example for charter school financial operations. Reporting to the chief executive officer (CEO)—and working closely with the executive team, school leaders, and network leaders—the chief financial officer will drive financial strategy and decision-making across the organization.
Ascend is seeking a chief financial officer (CFO) who possesses a deep command of financials and budgeting. This role is an ideal opportunity for a dynamic and visionary leader with significant financial experience to drive the budget strategy and systems for a premier K-12 charter management organization.
Reporting relationships and teams
The chief financial officer will report to the CEO and will directly supervise the controller and the managing director of finance. This role will also partner with and develop strong working relationships with the principals and assistant principals of operations at Ascend's 15 schools.
The CFO will play a critical role in ensuring the seamless execution of the financial management and oversight at the network-level, across Ascend's 15 schools, and with Friends of Ascend. Additionally, the CFO will:
- as a member of the executive team, shape the organizational vision and strategy, short- and long-term planning, and cross-functional initiatives, lending a strategic, financial, and sustainability lens to the work;
- lead financial strategy and decision making for Ascend's $133M operating budget and ensure all decisions are guided by the principle “all dollars are student dollars”;
- manage and lead a team of 10 staff members—including accounts payable, reporting and audit, and payroll teams—to ensure they are coached, developed, and well positioned to achieve their goals;
- cultivate strong working relationships with school leadership, board members, and external funders to build financial fluency and tackle financial initiatives;
- foster a team culture that embodies a customer service orientation where staff communicate regularly with stakeholders in order to anticipate challenges and engage in proactive problem solving;
- recognize and anticipate opportunities and challenges as they relate to financial systems and procedures; streamline and improve fiscal functions through successfully implementing enhanced and efficient processes;
- develop and maintain systems to guarantee accuracy and compliance of accounting and reporting, as well as leading the financial affairs of Ascend in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and city, state, and federal government regulations;
- partner with school leaders and network team leaders to develop budgets and ensure schools and network teams operate within budget allocations;
- oversee all fiscal and fiduciary responsibilities for the organization—in conjunction with the Ascend Learning, Ascend Charter Schools, Friends of Ascend boards and their respective finance committees—to maintain a strategic financial plan that ensures stability and sustainability;
- represent Ascend to external auditors, financial institutions, and taxing authorities;
- effectively communicate and present critical financial matters to the CEO, the executive team, and the boards as well as to key external stakeholders (e.g., funders, lenders, authorizers) at regular intervals and on an ad hoc basis;
- create and maintain three to five-year strategic financial projections that incorporate growth plans and changing student needs; and
- work with the operations, legal, real estate, and marketing teams to ensure Ascend enters into fiscally sound leases and contracts, manages debt obligations, and works with lenders to ensure compliance with all loan covenants.
- Master's degree required and MBA highly preferred
- A minimum of 10 years broad finance related experience with deep expertise in finance and accounting; nonprofit experience preferred, charter school experience highly preferred
- Understanding of nonprofit accounting as it relates to grant funding
- Track record of creating and improving systems and experience leveraging technology to gain insight and increase efficiency
- Strong people manager and developer with demonstrated success managing people and teams
- Ability to develop and maintain strong relationships built on mutual trust and respect with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
- Exceptional analytical and strategic thinking and problem-solving skills with demonstrated experience identifying problems and implementing solutions
- Demonstrated ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment with a proven ability to meet and exceed ambitious goals
- Effective written and verbal communication including the ability to simplify complex topics for audiences with varying financial expertise
Ascend offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package. Please visit www.ascendcharterschools.org/careers to learn more about the benefits of working at Ascend.