University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

Sample Job Description: Budget Coordinator

Position Summary

This position is considered chief financial officer for the service entities on the first floor of [CALL LETTERS] Hall including the operations of the Center for Public Television & Radio and the commercial television operation [CALL LETTERS]. Position also supervises the public television and radio office areas. This is a key fiscal leadership position within the College.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • 45%    Chief financial officer of [LICENSEE]. Backup financial officer for College of Communication & Information Sciences. Coordinates budgets exceeding $2 million including over 25 separate accounts including grant accounts with a variety of record-keeping requirements. Signatory on all non- grant accounts in lieu of Director. Delegates certain duties to Office Associate Sr., and part-time Accounting Specialist while supervising all expenditures related to radio and television operations. Produces/supervises production of all purchasing, travel, personnel action, miscellaneous disbursements and other related financial and personnel documentation for 42 full time staff and over 30 student staff. Manages annual audits of both areas by independent auditors as per guidelines from Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Coordinates the hiring of a variety of contract, soft-funded, full and part-time employees
  • 25%    Specifically monitors, coordinates, advises and provides reports related to the on-going budgetary status of [CALL LETTERS], the University’s commercial television operation. Provides information to station management and the station Board on a regular basis related to sales income and overhead. Supervises all purchasing activities. Works closely with department heads on development and maintenance of specific departmental budget areas.
  • 20%    Serves on Center and [CALL LETTERS] management teams. In absence of Director, serves as assistant director of [LICENSEE] on all financially related issues. Provides input on all critical issues related to Center/[CALL LETTERS] development and expansion. Works closely with CFO of College.
  • 10%    Office manager for public television and radio (two office areas on first floor [CALL LETTERS] Hall). Duties include assuring smooth management of office areas including phone coverage, timecard procedures, office purchasing procedures, hiring of student staff and specialty assistance, such as assisting [STATION] with membership development during pledge drives biannually.

Position responsible directly for supervision of Office Associate Sr. and half-time position with [CALL LETTERS].

Complexity and Creativity

This position is at the hub of all the critical activities regarding the management of the first floor of the communications complex — a complex that includes a local commercial television news operation, a public television production center, and a three-station public radio network. This position must be able to effectively manage personnel (staff and students), but also advise a variety of parties on all financial matters within a highly complex, income producing, grant writing and commercial enterprise.

While significant accounting and bookkeeping experience is necessary, in order to advise the Director, Dean and/or Board, this position must know what issues are behind the numbers and be prepared to offer strategic analysis and guidance to College leadership.

For instance, the commercial television operation is an enterprise unique to nearly any University in the country. Since it is run as a commercial, for-profit station in a University culture, there are many strategic implications, including Human Resource issues, funding mechanisms, commissions, etc. This position will be called upon by their supervisor and the Board of Directors of the station to not only produce the numbers that tell the story of the stations financial success, but to interpret those figures. Where might the station save funds? What implications are there is reducing full-time personnel to part-time? What can we do about the non-collectable sales accounts?

Also, within [LICENSEE], certain grant and contract accounts are discretionary in nature and others must be linked directly to projects underway at the Center.

Grant accounts have firm deadlines in which funds must be spent, but some of the federal funds received by the Center have longer deadlines, which make those monies more flexible. The position manages a special equipment fund and several gift accounts related to public television and radio underwriter and donor

contributions. These funds must be documented in a specific way for auditors to review. Also, state funds flow through [STATION] Public Television to the Center for specific goals, such as developing news bureaus across the state.

This position must be in touch with the big picture to enable them to advise properly on the use and closeout of, at times, as many as twenty contracts and grants. Unlike any other position, outside the Director, this position has a view of the entire spectrum of projects and funding mechanisms underway within the College service areas. This allows the Director/Dean and this position to brainstorm and strategize for the future needs of the Center in a constructive manner.

Income producing activity through the newly developed Media Solutions division has accounted for a flurry of contract activity, which results in not only processing invoices and payments, but deciding how to shelter these funds from year-end situations. These and other strategies related to funds are omnipresent with this position.

This position must also understand the cultural differences, which make up all the entities served. A news-oriented commercial television station has certain deadlines and models of operation unlike a public television radio and television facility. Flexibility and a key understanding of the goals of all the first floor organizations in [CALL LETTERS] Hall will be critical to this position’s success.

Impact on Institutional Mission

The person in this position would have performed their job well if:

  • They assist the Board and station management in attaining sustainability for the [CALL LETTERS] commercial operation.
  • They keep the Director well informed about the variety of issues and requirements of all budgetary accounts and use signatory powers within the confines of proper practices.
  • They are ethical and just in their decision-making processes related to use of Center funds to achieve specific goals.
  • They efficiently manage all accounts and work closely with University Contract & Grant staff, granting agencies, and auditors to assure proper bookkeeping and spending practices.
  • They manage office staff and students with a deft touch, allowing for differences in the commercial and public television and radio cultures, while being firm on the process and procedures required to run an efficient office.
  • They are so intimately familiar with the College’s diverse budget that they are able to work closely with the Chief Financial Officer of the College as required and provide back-up services as directed by the Dean. This position provided services to the College during a recent search for that position.
  • They remain flexible and amenable to change as the Center moves into new programming and distribution models within television and radio (digital television, on-demand video over the Internet, convergence of television and computers). And they understand the unique demands of these challenges to a production and broadcast facility.
  • They advise and work with the Center management team on all issues and challenges related to the financial and office management of the Center/[CALL LETTERS] and contribute to decision-making related to programming, production and all other services provided by the Center.

Negative Consequences of this position performing poorly could include:

  • the commercial station losing funding and even going off-the-air,
  • a federal audit from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting;
  • errors in paperwork related to major purchases and personnel pay which result in programming and production delays;
  • morale problems within the staff as a result of this position’s attitude and demeanor;
  • poorly representing the Center to University and various external constituents, clients, grantors;
  • loss of financial support due to mismanagement or poor, improper record keeping related to grant funds;
  • poor office management resulting in problems within the radio and television office areas.

Guidance is provided on an informal basis by the Director as required and when available. A formal budgetary session with the Director is scheduled monthly to discuss all contract and grant accounts in detail. Management team meetings are bimonthly. Full staff meetings are quarterly. [CALL LETTERS] financials are now discussed weekly, but will be a bi-weekly activity in the future. This position prioritizes the details of their daily work without direction of the Director. Their work is highly independent and usually involves the Director only when there is a question about priority, fund use, personnel pay, etc. These questions must emanate from this position.

General office policies are established in a guide book and on-line. Otherwise, University policies guide this position. Proper accounting procedures related to a variety of accounts must be followed with reference to federal, state and University guidelines.

Direction Exercised

Supervises several office student employees. Coordinates payroll payment on all [LICENSEE]/[CALL LETTERS] students (30-35)

Supervises Office Associate Sr. position and half-time Accounting Specialist ([CALL LETTERS]) and works with radio station Development Officer and

Account Clerk Sr. on coverage of radio office operations. This position completes performance evaluations and coordinates the daily duties of the Office Associate Sr. position. Position handles hiring and release of office related students in radio and television areas.

Organizational Table attached.

Physical Demands

Office duties include basic physical demands related to computer keying, use of typewriter, carrying office supplies, bending to identify shipments of equipment, etc. No excessive lifting, carrying, bending, etc.

Working Conditions

No extreme working conditions. Typical office area usually with proper air conditioning and heating.

Position Specifications

Education: B.S. degree in Accounting, Business or related field required.

Experience: Two years financial accounting experience required. Office management or some supervisory experience preferred.  This position will require at least one year of experience to learn the major duties of the position, since many of those duties are annual in nature (i.e. year-end budgeting, external audits, radio pledge drives).

No certification required

Ability: Mastery of common accounting and bookkeeping software programs and techniques are required of this position. For example, the spreadsheet program Excel and database program MS Access. Must have ability to process numbers in a variety of ways and organize multiple accounts with a variety of deadlines and requirements. Must be able to juggle multiple projects simultaneously and still remain accessible to staff of the Center.