Chief Financial Officer

Finance & Accounting Washington, DC, United States


Job Summary:

As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), you will be a member of the management team responsible for the fiscal sustainability of WRI’s global operations and act as the financial conscience of the organization. Your role is integral to the efficiency and effectiveness of our international operations and will be responsible for the development of WRI’s financial management strategy. In addition to the strategic components, you will oversee the development and implementation of global financial systems, policies, and procedures to equip them for delivery throughout our global network. Your main areas of responsibility include Accounting, Finance, Grants and Contracts, compliance, project management, institutional strategy, business planning, and metrics to manage organizational performance. In this position, you will support WRI’s Global Board of Directors in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities and serve as Treasurer. You will jointly report to the Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Operational Excellence and the President/CEO to develop and implement our international financial strategy.

You will play a pivotal role in identifying strategic and urgent resource needs across the global network and ways to support them financially and operationally. As the CFO, you will provide decision support and is an advisor to the Management Team, assisting them to evaluate their financial plans, economic modeling, donor engagement and meeting their fiscal/fiduciary and operational responsibilities for the organization, in conjunction with the Global Board of Directors and the Finance & Investment, and Audit & Risk Committees of the Board. WRI is developing a new 5-year strategic plan which will prioritize strengthening organizational infrastructure, streamlining systems, and achieving tighter operational integration and efficiencies across our global network. CFO creativity and leadership will be crucial to effectively refine our cost structure, make wise investments, and build a stronger WRI that can deliver the impact at the scale needed for this crucial decade. A successful candidate will have a proven track record of forecasting and managing growth in a globally distributed organization.

This position is remote due to Covid-19, but you will be based in Washington, DC once restrictions have lifted.

Job Responsibilities:


Strategic and Operational Leadership

  • As a true business partner to the CEO and Management Team, assess organizational performance against both the annual budget and WRI’s long-term strategy. Develop tools and systems to provide critical financial and operational information to the Managing Director for Organizational Effectiveness and the CEO and make actionable recommendations on strategy, operations, and policy matters.
  • Serve as the management liaison to the Finance & Investment and Audit & Risk Committees; effectively communicate and present critical financial and operational risks/matters at select board of directors and committee meetings
  • Provide leadership in collaboration with WRI’s Finance Center on the alignment of WRI’s endowment with a 1.5 degree C pathway and ESG investment principles, including managing an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer that oversees the endowment’s investment portfolio
  • Contribute to the development of WRI’s strategic goals and objectives as well as the overall management of the organization.
    Maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping the CEO informed of all critical issues
  • Represent the organization externally, as necessary, particularly in banking, lease arrangements, and donor requirement negotiations.

Team Development

  • Oversee, direct, and organize the work of the finance, accounting, project management, grants and contracts, teams
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality
  • Ensure staff members receive timely and appropriate training and development
  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach: assign accountabilities; set objectives; establish priorities, and monitor and evaluate results.

Operational Excellence - Financial Planning, Analysis, and Modelling

  • Lead annual budgeting and planning process including all financial plans and budgets; monitor progress and changes and keep the management team abreast of the organization’s financial trends and status
  • Lead quarterly financial and performance reviews with Programs/Centers and International Offices
  • Upgrade and implement appropriate systems, policies, internal controls, accounting standards, and procedures such that all offices are seen as low risk by donors.
  • Serve as a strong voice in risk assessment on project funding, allocations, and ability to meet goals/outcomes given financial health throughout the project life cycle
  • Conduct periodic internal reviews of policies, procedures, and systems, comparing with best practices
  • Plan, coordinate, and execute the annual budget process and NICRA (negotiated indirect cost rate agreement) negotiation
  • Regularly/closely manage programs and overhead costs/indirect rates to ensure full financial recovery and achieve efficiencies.
  • Provide analytical and decision support to WRI’s management team including development of internal management reporting capabilities in partnership with WRI’s Managing for Results team
  • Improve administrative/operational and financial services such as treasury management, benefits (403-B plan, medical, other insurances, etc.), grants and contracts and payment processing, payroll, accounts payable, purchasing, systems


Job Qualifications:

We are looking for someone who is results-oriented with the necessary business astuteness, demonstrated analytical and forecasting skills, and the ability to make difficult decisions. Success is defined by the ability to establish strong working relationships with colleagues, peers, subordinates, and staff outside a hierarchical structure. Key competencies will include the ability to identify information, be forward-thinking, always aware of the Institute’s needs and a commitment to its mission and values, and ability to be flexible. Collaborative management and working style; ability to achieve goals using influence and negotiation skills also important.

  • Business or Accounting bachelor’s degree mandatory
  • Minimum of 15 years experience with a minimum of 8 years in a senior management role
  • Experience working with a diverse mix of donors, including multilateral donors, governments, foundations
  • Knowledge of federal contracts and grants management and federal regulations and reporting requirements governing non-profits
  • Proven track record of success facilitating progressive organizational change and development within a growing international organization
  • Entrepreneurial team player with an ability to influence and engage multiple stakeholders
  • Energetic, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical finance and operational/administrative initiatives.
  • Exceptional written, verbal, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively interface with outsiders such as bankers and donors as well as senior management, WRI’s board of directors, and staff
  • Ability to operate as an effective tactical as well as a strategic thinker
  • Passion for WRI’s mission
  • US work authorization is required for this position

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in business administration is preferred
  • CPA and/or CMA are strongly preferred.
  • Experience either as an employee or board member of a nonprofit organization.
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills including negotiation and conflict resolution skills in a multi-cultural environment

Potential Salary:

Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors.

How to Apply:

To apply please upload a resume detailing your experience and the nature, scope, and scale of responsibilities held with a cover letter stating your motivation and relevant skills. Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants must
apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

WRI Overview:

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills, and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include integrity, innovation, urgency, independence, and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years, and our operating budget is nearing $200 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of over 1,600 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.  

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.