Finance Director, Development Innovation Lab

Updated: about 12 hours ago
Location: Chicago, ILLINOIS
Job Type: FullTime


Development Economics Center

About the Department

Development Innovation Lab (DIL) at the University of Chicago uses the tools of economics to develop innovations with the potential to benefit millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. It was founded and is led by Nobel laureate Michael Kremer.

Job Summary

The Finance Director will oversee all financial and grant-related activities for the Development Innovation Lab (DIL). This role is crucial in ensuring effective financial management, compliance with university and external funding regulations, and the successful acquisition and administration of grants. The Director leads a team of professional staff responsible for the financial management across multiple funding sources (grant, gift, and unrestricted).
This position manages a team of professional staff responsible for the financial management of operating and capital budgets for divisions and/or University-wide administrative units. Develops long and short term plans to achieve financial goals, business strategies/plans, and financial forecasts/models for all major service programs and initiatives. Manages quarterly and year-end reporting for the operating budget.


  • Develops and manages the annual budget including monthly forecasting, fiscal year close out, and reporting to the Unit, Provost, Dean, and Budget Office. Offering strategic guidance throughout the planning and reporting processes.
  • Oversees financial operations including accounting, budgeting, reporting, and auditing.
  • Provides financial analysis and strategic guidance to the Leadership Team as they make unit-wide financial decisions.
  • Ensures compliance with University financial policies and procedures.
  • Works with the Leadership team to identify the funding needs of individual projects and the larger unit.
  • Oversees a team of grant finance managers who are responsible for developing project-level budgets with research teams for funding proposals.
  • Oversees and audits reporting within the General Expense Management System (GEMS) system each month.
  • Directs and manages the procurement of all goods and services for the Development Innovation Lab via contracts, RFTs, purchase orders, GEMS. This includes ensuring compliance with University requirements as well as with federal foundations and the individual restriction of each grant and gift.
  • Manages the development, monitoring, and evaluation of a consolidated annual and intermediate, typically three to five year, budget plan and budget process for a unit, as well as actual performance against budget.
  • Manages the preparation of financial statements, activity reports, financial position forecasts, and/or reports required by regulatory agencies.
  • Oversees the grants administration of the Development Innovation Lab and ensures compliance with University policies and sponsor guidelines and reporting requirements.
  • Works collaboratively with Principal Investigators, Research Directors, Research Staff, and Urban Lab partners to develop new projects, proposals, and other initiatives.
  • Works with University Research Administration to prepare budget summaries as required for sponsored project reports.
  • Prepares interim sponsored project financial reports and manages award closeout processes.
  • Maintains communication with University and sponsor agencies.
  • Leads annual budgeting and planning process; administers and reviews all financial plans and budgets; monitors progress and changes; and keeps unit leadership team abreast of financial performance and position.
  • Oversees the management of payroll allocations, employee credit card program, out-of-pocket expense reimbursements, electronic check payments, purchase requisitions, and invoicing.
  • Develops, communicates, and implements financial policies and procedures such as Travel and Entertainment. Communicates established guidelines that were created in light of current budget, University policies, and funding restrictions. Audits expenses as they come in to ensure they are compliant with policies.
  • Manages time tracking system to aid leadership in project management and ensures grant and gift spending accurately aligns with staff effort.
  • Develops and conducts in-house trainings around pre- and post-award administration.
  • Creates and directs processes to integrate international partner operational procedures and spending.
  • Provides direct supervision and mentorship to the finance and grants staff; establishes performance goals and allocates necessary resources.
  • Serves as the liaison between the Labs and external financial entities.
  • Collaborates with other University departments such as the Unit Finance team, Budget office, URA, and other partners.
  • Directs effective collaboration between Finance team and Research teams, acting as a thought partner and problem-solver of the diverse needs of the organization.
  • Leads the team in effective project management and communication practices to ensure the organization’s financial needs are met and research teams can effectively manage the finances and obligations of their projects.
  • Ensures adherence to financial regulations and standards.
  • Stays updated on changes in financial policies, grant requirements, and best practices.
  • Manages the preparation of financial statements, activity reports, financial position forecasts, and/or reports required by regulatory agencies.
  • Manages, negotiates, and resolves financial compliance issues with various governmental agencies.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • A Master’s degree in business administration, finance, accounting, or a related field.


  • Demonstrated experience in operations, grant administration, finance, or other related field.
  • Budget planning and forecasting, ledgers, invoices, and fiscal reporting.
  • Working in a higher education or non-profit environment.
  • Managing restricted funding such as endowments and sponsored awards. 


  • CPA.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • High-level proficiency with spreadsheets, computer applications such as Word, Excel and accounting systems.
  • Familiar with financial and accounting systems such as Workday or Oracle/Peoplesoft.

Preferred Competencies

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and experience managing multiple direct reports, including mentoring, training, and development.
  • Engage effectively with a diverse workforce in a complex research environment.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills and comfortable with a consultative approach to interacting with employees.
  • Exceptional organizational skills, with previous project management experience.
  • A resourceful problem-solver and critical thinker who is proactive in leveraging opportunities, and anticipating and averting problems.
  • Handle all employment information and issues with absolute discretion and confidentiality.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST  be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Financial Management

Role Impact

People Manager

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

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Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.


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