American Academy of Poets

Director of Finance

To Apply

To Apply:
The American Academy of Poets has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Anne McCarthy, COO
Harris Rand Lusk
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168

Please e-mail your application to: amccarthy@harrisrand.com

Please put the words “AAP Finance” in the subject line of your application.

The Academy of American Poets is seeking to hire a Director of Finance to help the organization expand its work celebrating American poets and poetry in the United States and internationally. The strategic and supportive work of the Director will contribute to the Academy of American Poets’ impact in the literary community.

Background of the Organization:
The Academy of American Poets has been promoting poets and poetry in the US for over 80 years. Based in New York but with a national profile and thousands of members, the Academy connects millions of people to great poetry through its online presence at poets.org, in its biannual publication American Poets, through its sponsorship of National Poetry Month, as well as readings, education programs, and special events. The Academy also awards a number of major prizes for poets as well as college awards in schools across the country.

The staff is passionate about the work of the Academy, which is led by the well-respected poet and President, Jennifer Benka. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of their work and amid calls for racial justice and a global pandemic, are more important than ever. As the Academy’s work expands to include grants to support poets and other literary initiatives, it is critical that the Board, the President and the staff be supported by a strong financial manager and strategic partner. Consequently, the Academy is looking for a highly skilled, energetic, intelligent, and enthusiastic financial professional to join the team as the Director of Finance.

Reporting directly to the President and Executive Director, the DOF will be responsible for the finances of the Academy, including accounting and bookkeeping, financial management and reporting, budgeting, cash management, banking, payroll and investment, among other responsibilities. As a key member of the senior leadership team, the DOF must be a detail-oriented, strategic leader who can manage the financial needs of the organization, be responsive to the leadership and the Board, work closely with the auditors, and collaborate constructively with the other staff members.

It is critical that the DOF be capable of integrating smoothly into the senior management at the Academy of American Poets, fitting into the organization’s fast-paced and ambitious culture. The DOF will work with the President and Executive Director, the Finance Committee and the Board, and other staff in a supportive and direct manner. The DOF must have strong interpersonal skills, excellent written and oral communication skills, and a hands-on management style. It is important that the DOF be a problem-solver, ready to identify and analyze challenges as they arise and propose and implement solutions. In addition, the DOF will be of the highest integrity and possess sound judgment as well as a sense of humor.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Manage the Academy of American Poets’ overall budget and finances as well as oversee the management and maintenance of all finance and accounting systems.
  • Coordinate the budgeting process and timetable, working with the leadership, the Board Treasurer, and staff to develop the annual budget.
  • Manage the Academy’s payroll; negotiate annual benefits with ADP.
  • Manage the organization’s banking and fiduciary relationships, including investments, under the guidance of the Board Finance Committee.
  • Serve as a member of senior staff, participating in the development and implementation of overall policies, long-range planning, and daily operational goals and objectives.
  • Develop and coordinate short- and long-range business and financial plans.
  • Support the preparation and filing of required financial reports to government and foundation funders and major individual donors.
  • Working closely with the organization’s leadership, the Board Treasurer and the Board Finance Committee, maintain the organization’s investment portfolio, working with investment advisors to ensure alignment with investment policies and organizational values.
  • Serve as staff to the Finance Committee, working with the Treasurer to schedule meetings, develop agendas, provide relevant reports and documentation, a keep minutes, and regularly update the Board.
  • Manage relationship with external auditor and lead the annual audit to a successful and timely conclusion.
  • Liaise with the landlord on all office space issues. Maintain all office communications systems, including computer hardware, software and phone systems and suppliers, as needed.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in Accounting, Finance, Business Administration or a related field; Advanced Degree preferred.
  • Commitment to the mission and goals of the Academy of American Poets.
  • Minimum of ten years of executive level management experience in a multi-faceted financial operation with significant budgeting and accounting responsibility in a nonprofit organization.
  • Demonstrated success in leading annual audit.
  • Knowledge of internal control systems used for general accounting principles and specialized nonprofit industry accounting practices and procedures.
  • Acumen in maintaining accurate financial records and preparing clear and accurate reports for informational, auditing, and operational use.
  • High degree of proficiency in a computer-based accounting system, specifically QuickBooks.
  • Ability to read, analyze, interpret and explain complex financial data.
  • Ability to multi-task and work independently, prioritizing workflow to meet critical deadlines while paying exceptionally close attention to detail and moving longer-term projects forward.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to communicate and manage effectively at all levels of the organization.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

The American Academy of Poets is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and encourages all applicants regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other protected characteristic. The American Academy of Poets is committed to having a workforce that reflects the diversity of the population that it serves at all levels within the organization.

Salary will be commensurate with experience. For more information on the American Academy of Poets, please visit its website at www.poets.org.

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168