Director of Finance and Administration, PEN America

The Client

Background: PEN America is an organization standing at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. With more than 4,200 members and headquartered in New York, PEN America is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with an annual budget of $5.3 million and full-time staff of 30.

The largest center in a global network of PEN Centers in more than 100 countries, we fight for freedom of expression and act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned, and sometimes killed for their views. PEN America’s activities include free expression advocacy in the U.S. and around the world, diverse and innovative literary programing, and initiatives to give voice to disenfranchised constituencies including writers in prison and in closed societies. PEN America is in a period of expansion and transformation, growing our public profile and widening our donor base to address the challenges of free expression in the digital age.

The Position

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Finance and Administration is responsible for accurate and timely financial management and for smooth administration of PEN’s office, human resources, IT and contracting functions. PEN America is looking for a hands-on, high-energy leader who is detail-oriented and strategic, able to multi-task and manage the needs of a busy and fast-growing organization that operates in the arenas of arts and cultural as well as international human rights. The successful candidate will provide the Executive Director and leadership team with financial reports and forecasts to inform strategy and will improve and scale systems and processes for greater effectiveness. The Director of Finance and Administration is a member of the senior management team, and should embrace a role in meeting the PEN America’s organizational ambitions that may include undertaking special projects. The position will directly handle the finance, treasury, accounting, tax, contract compliance, reporting, audit, and risk management and administration functions, and will engage with the Board of Trustees. The Director of Finance and Administration currently oversees a part-time Finance Assistant as well as consultants and interns. As the organization’s scope and budget continues to grow, the Finance and Administration Director will be expected to shape the evolution of his/her functions, including through appropriate support structures.


  • Responsible stewardship of the organization’s resources
  • Oversee the management and maintenance of all finance and accounting systems
  • Manage the organization’s banking and fiduciary relationships, including treasury services, investments, retirement funds, and line of credit under the guidance of the Board Finance Committee
  • Provide risk management oversight and maintain all essential insurance coverages, including D & O and general liability
  • Oversee accounting inputs and monthly bank reconciliations
  • Review payroll entries
  • Supervise the evaluation, upgrade, and documentation of internal controls
  • Perform and/or oversee bill payment and cash receipt processes, ensuring the appropriate financial controls are maintained
  • Act as financial fiduciary for PEN at all times.


  • Develop plans and detailed “bottom up” forecasts and budgets
  • Prepare detailed reporting packages for the Finance, Audit and Executive Committees of the Board
  • Meet with program managers to review financial performance, variance from budget and spend-out of grants
  • Work with program managers to develop detailed budgets for funding proposals.

Reporting & Compliance

  • Coordinate the preparation and filing of required government and funder reports
  • Supervise the completion of all tax filings, including 990 reporting / NY and MA filings
  • Ensure compliance with required policies, e.g. conflict of interest, whistleblower, etc.
  • File forms 1099/ 1096
  • Manage the relationship with the outside accountant for the annual audit.


  • Oversee outside IT vendor; make recommendations as necessary on systems upgrades
  • Manage relationship with HR outsource provider, and ensure proper handling of employment maters including payroll, vacation and health benefits, communications around open enrollment, and personnel changes
  • Prepare hire letters, document terminations, and oversee performance assessment process
  • Manage relationship with pension provider and consultant
  • Manage relationship with insurance broker and ensure adequate insurance coverage
  • Review and serve as administrative contact for vendor contracts
  • Oversee all areas of office management, including supplies and equipment with support of Executive Assistant

Other Duties

  • Oversee the Investment Account
  • Handle a variety of special projects, and other related duties, as assigned.

Professional Requirements

The ideal candidate will have experience as a Finance Director or as Deputy Finance Director in a non-profit organization. Candidates with CPA designations are preferred, as are candidates with an MBA.

Minimum requirements include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably with a degree in accounting or finance. The candidate must have held the position of Controller or the equivalent, preferably for two or more years. The candidate must be highly proficient in the use of fund accounting software. Experience with QuickBooks and Donor Perfect preferred. Knowledge of grant accounting/reporting requirements as well as experience managing annual audits required.

The Director of Finance and Administration must be a seasoned professional with the following minimum requirements:

  • Rock-solid knowledge of nonprofit accounting principles and practices, government contracts and grants administration
  • Knowledge of tax issues for nonprofit organizations
  • Experience with budgeting and financial investment, plus demonstrated ability to correlate financial/accounting management functions with organizational program objectives and strategies
  • Experience successfully managing all aspects of the annual audit process
  • Demonstrated ability to prepare financial budgets and forecasts to inform programmatic and strategic decisions
  • Experience running a fast-paced office
  • Willingness to work hard, availability as needed and unflappability in the face of competing demands
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including strong organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Superior computer skills and knowledge including word processing, database operations, Excel spreadsheets, and other software systems
  • The ability to work quickly and efficiently, multi-tasking in a fast-paced environment.
  • Resourcefulness in identifying and enlisting cost-effective resources to leverage staff time (i.e. volunteers, interns, work-study)
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with people of diverse races, ethnicities, gender identities, ages and sexual orientations in a multicultural environment.

Personal Characteristics

We are seeking an exceptional finance officer with the ability to solve complex issues and provide quality judgments and decision-making. This individual should have solid analytical, logical, and reasoning skills to identify issues, evaluate alternatives, and develop solutions.

Leadership ability and a management style that values teamwork and hands-on participation is required. The ability to work with a diverse workforce in a fast-paced culture of high achievement is essential. Excellent interpersonal skills, exceptional attention to detail, and an enthusiasm for hard work are also essential.

PEN America is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to fostering diversity within its staff. Applications are encouraged from all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, religious creed, medical/physical/mental conditions, sexual orientation, Veteran status or age.


PEN America is offering a competitive compensation package inclusive of salary (commensurate with experience) and comprehensive benefits, including medical, dental and vision insurance; disability, life and AD&D insurance; medical flex spending accounts; and an employer sponsored 403b retirement plan.


This is an opportunity to join a team of ambitious, high-energy professionals and play a key role in managing PEN America to the next level. The supportive work of the Director of Finance and Administration will have global impact through programs of profound importance for cultural expression and human rights. Successful performance may lead to higher levels of responsibility and commensurate increases in compensation.

Please submit a brief cover letter and résumé as attachments via e-mail to:

Michelle Kristel, Partner
Joseph A. McCormack, Managing Partner
1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 110-202
Palm Springs, CA 92264
Tel 323 549-9200
Fax 323 549-9222