Finance Planning Lead

Job Summary

The Core Labs at KAUST is a shared research facility comprised of 10 laboratories run by over 210 staff, with a mission to provide state-of-the-art facilities, training and services to KAUST students, faculty, researchers, their collaborators and industrial partners. This centrally organized facility provides its 1500+ users with access to specialized research equipment and expert staff who have advanced degrees in science and engineering.

The department centralizes its financial oversight and planning to ensure optimal utilization and management of resources. The Finance and Planning Lead will manage the planning, reviews, implementation, monitoring and reporting of all the department’s financial affairs to meet relevant key performance indicators and in accordance to applicable standards. This person is also responsible for the centralized capacity and resources planning, ensuring the appropriate processes and tools, that help all core labs, are in place. This position will lead and motivate a team of 4 full time staff, and manage effective staff development.

Major Responsibilities

Capacity Planning

  • Develop and improve capacity planning and risk management frameworks, ensuring appropriate scenarios and tools are in place to improve individual labs’ planning performance.
  • Lead the capacity planning tool development across Core Labs, liaising with relevant Core Labs team leads to map out capacity requirements based on their business models/operations.
  • Lead headcount reporting and analyses in collaboration with HR, and propose additional capacity based on agreed capacity plan, when needed.
  • Manage financial components of all the Core Labs vendor support contracts ensuring compliance with contractual obligations and taxation requirements.
  • Develop and improve dashboards for all the Core Labs finance and resources utilization KPIs, including recommendations and more detailed reports where required.
  • Support Asset Management Lead to ensure visibility of strategic asset acquisition process.

Financial Management

  • Lead the department planning and evaluation of all operational and capital budgets, including overseeing monthly reforecasting processes, to ensure timely and accurate closure of all the Core labs accounts.
  • Drive the development and implementation of a new model of financial planning and management, aiming at greater reliability and accountability across the Core Labs.
  • Oversee the monthly and year end closes for all internal Core Labs charges, reviewing monthly departmental transactions for accuracy, timely corrections and crediting.
  • Oversee the monthly external revenue activities for the KAUST Research & Technology Park tenants and all in-Kingdom users, ensuring accurate accounting of the Core Labs usage and charging including timely account invoicing and billing.
  • Lead the annual service costing and related rate cards reviews for all the Core labs, including firm criteria for activity based costing and international benchmarking of services.
  • Lead the bi-annual financial and user charging auditing activities in partnership with the auditing department, ensuring appropriate follow up actions, training and other recommendations.
  • Ensure compliance with the university policies in partnership with the relevant teams of budgeting and the controller, including any required communication and training.
  • Develop a strong understanding of the cost drivers for each budget allocation, making management recommendations for improving future resource efficiencies, effectiveness and allocations.
  • Lead budget re-allocation exercises, working with the Core Lab directors in identifying and prioritizing re-allocation proposals.
  • Ensure appropriate financial reporting systems and accounting records are maintained in accordance with a sound internal control and governance framework.
  • Working with the Core Lab directors to improve finance-related performances.

Leading a team

  • Lead and motivate professional staff with clear goals and objectives in support of both the individual and in creating high performing teams.
  • Manage effective staff development to enable succession planning and cross training.

Technical Skills

  • Significant experience in the implementation of best practice in accounting, financial and business management, and related business processes, in compliance with accounting standards.
  • Comprehensive understanding of business and resource planning approaches and techniques, driving solutions from complex data and business analyses.
  • Exceptional skills in the interpretation and manipulation of detailed financial information.
  • Highly organized, flexible and capable of managing multiple, challenging activities simultaneously in a dynamic environment.
  • Excellent analytical, written and verbal communication skills (English) necessary.

Non-Technical Skills or Attributes

  • Demonstrated ability in implementing new ideas in a complex, knowledge-creating organization.
  • Proactive in building relationships and comfortable working and liaising with Core Lab directors.
  • Ability to handle confidential information.
  • Ad hoc query skills with Excel, Access, and SAP or other enterprise management tools.
  • Capable of mentoring and coaching junior staff.

Required Education

Bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, with a background in the development, implementation and maintenance of internal control processes and policies.

Required Experience

  • Seven or more years’ experience in finance, management accounting and business planning in a complex environment at a senior level.
  • Experience in an academic setting preferred.

About Company

KAUST aspires to be a destination for scientific and technological education and research. By inspiring discoveries to address global challenges, we strive to serve as a beacon of knowledge that bridges people and cultures for the betterment of humanity.

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