Legal Action of Wisconsin Seeks Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer | Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. 

Basic Function:  The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is responsible for the financial management of the organization and assists with all strategic and programmatic matters as they relate to budget management, fiscal/grant compliance and oversight, cost benefit analysis, forecasting needs and operating as the chief financial spokesperson within the organization. This position requires strong technical financial skills and planning, decision-making, excellent communication skills and prior supervisory experience. The CFO is expected to recommend and implement high-level system changes, as appropriate, be responsible for finances and budgeting, and be knowledgeable about the day-to-day fiscal issues. The CFO will advise the Executive Director, management staff and the Board of Directors on financial and budgeting issues related to the management of the firm. The CFO oversees various administrative operations of the law firm including but not limited to office leases, insurance, grants/contracts and technology systems.  

The position is based in Legal Action’s Milwaukee office.  This is a full-time position.  The CFO reports to the Executive Director.


Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.

Legal Action of Wisconsin is a vibrant, growing non-profit organization funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation, the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, and other sources.  Legal Action provides free legal aid to about 13,500 low-income persons annually in the southern 39 counties of Wisconsin with offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Oshkosh, Green Bay, and La Crosse.  In addition, Legal Action operates a statewide farmworkers’ project.  Legal Action attorneys have expertise in a range of substantive areas, but the majority of our work is in the areas of housing, public benefits, removing barriers to employment, and family law.  Legal Action currently has a staff of 120 employees and an annual budget of $11 million. 


Principal Duties and Responsibilities: 

The CFO is assisted in the position’s responsibilities by the Supervisor of Accounting and Grants Reporting who supervises three accounting staff; by the Technology and Communications Manager who supervises a Technology and Communication Specialist; and by an administrative secretary. 

  1. Responsible for annual budgeting and planning process in conjunction with the Executive Director.  Administers and reviews all ongoing financial plans and budgets.  Monitors progress and recommends needed budget changes.  Keeps Executive Director, Board of Directors and management team abreast of the firm’s financial status.
  2. Attends all Board of Director meetings and meetings of the Board's Finance and Audit Committee.  Prepares budget status reports and narratives on Legal Action’s financial position.
  3. Knowledgeable of and monitoring adherence to accounting rules and regulations, financial regulations of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), and all other applicable regulations and rules for grants.
  4. Responsible for the overall operation of Legal Action accounting and financial reporting systems. Supervises and works closely with the Supervisor of Accounting and Grants Reporting who is responsible for managing: the daily operations of the accounting systems including general ledger, accounts payable, payroll, cash receipts, accounts receivable, banking, physical inventory, trust accounting, taxes, insurance, leave tracking and chart of accounts; the operations of the grant reporting systems including preparation of funding source financial statements and client service reports, the Case Reporting System (CSR), Other Services Reports (OSR), timekeeping systems, and client data base updating, tracking and training.  The position is responsible for the preparation and monitoring of grant budgets.  The position prepares the annual audit work papers and is the staff contact for the independent auditors’ field work.  The Supervisor of Accounting & Grants Reporting ensures appropriate accounting internal controls and record retention systems are maintained by the organization. The Supervisor of Accounting & Grants Reporting provides leadership in the organization’s maintenance of compliance with applicable federal and state laws, grant regulations and policies.  The Supervisor of Accounting & Grants Reporting will be responsible to maintain and upgrade, as needed, the accounting software system with the technical assistance of the firm’s Technology & Communications.  The Supervisor of Accounting & Grants Reporting maintains the Case Reporting System (CSR), physical inventory and accounting procedures manual.  The position supervises three full-time Accounting Technicians and other clerical staff who assist with the position’s duties.
  5. Supervises and works closely with the Technology and Communications Manager (TCM) and assists with the overall planning and oversight of Legal Action’s technology systems. The TCM is responsible for the daily operation and maintenance of the firm’s computer and communications networks including, but not limited to, coordinating installation of hardware and software and ensuring continuity of technical systems support.  Arranges and oversees the work of outside vendors, as needed.  Plans, organizes and manages computer-related activities and the automation of firmwide case management systems, including designing and programming enhancements to the current Legal Action case management system and maintaining the wide area network. Helps establish short and long-term solutions compatible with equipment and software capacities, workloads and schedules, user abilities and organizational budgets.  The TCM supervises a full-time Technology and Communications Specialist who assists with the position’s duties  
  6. Works closely with the Associate Executive Director and other managers in the development of the financial and administrative components of grant proposals and reports.  
  7. Partners with other management for consistent communication of financial and compliance policies, procedures, programs, and laws. 
  8. Regularly reviews and makes recommendations to the Executive Director and Board of Directors for the improvement of the firm’s policies, procedures and practices on financial matters.
  9. Maintains knowledge of accounting, auditing and grant compliance trends and legislation to ensure the firm’s compliance.
  10. Maintains responsibility for the firm’s compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations pertaining to all fiscal matters including but not limited to OMB Uniform Guidance, GAAP, ERISA, and IRS requirements.
  11. Oversees all procurement processes to assure compliance with all policies and procedures.
  12. Serves as a Trustee on the Legal Action of Wisconsin 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan.
  13. Works closely with the Human Resources Director on the financial and tax aspects of the Legal Action fringe benefit plans, salary compensation plans and three union Collective bargaining agreements.  CFO prepares financial analysis of any proposed changes.  
  14.  Reviews and approves employee expense requests and vendor invoices in Legal Action’s online accounts payable system. Signs checks, as needed.  
  15. Reviews, drafts and negotiates vendor contracts and funding grant agreements with outside parties.
  16. Reviews and approves all grant billings before submittal to funders. 
  17. Responsible for researching and overseeing the firm’s investment strategy. 
  18. Researches and arranges for insurance coverage for the firm’s operations.
  19. Coordinates the search for office space and negotiates office leases.
  20. Working with other administrative and technology staff, oversees the arrangements for meeting the operational needs of the offices such as postage meters, copiers, library resources, file storage and equipment.    

Other Duties

  1. Other duties may be assigned by the Executive Director from time to time.

Competencies Required:

  1. Minimum of Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business administration, public administration or related field is required.  CPA or Master’s degree preferred.
  2. Broad knowledge and experience in managing the financial and administrative operations of a mid-sized organization in the range of 80 to 200 employees.  Minimum of 7-10 years of progressive experience in financial management preferably of a complex non-profit organization with multiple funding sources. At least four years of supervisory experience.
  3. Experience in a senior financial-management role, partnering with other executive staff, resulting in the development and implementation of creative financial management strategies.
  4. Significant experience in or knowledge of nonprofit accounting, including sophisticated fund and grant accounting, budgeting, internal controls, compliance, and reporting.
  5. Proficiency in application of relevant federal and state laws and regulations (e.g. OMB Uniform Guidance, GAAP, IRS Form 990 reporting).
  6. Prior experience working with a non-profit or legal aid organization is a plus.
  7. Active affiliation with appropriate professional networks and organizations, and ongoing community involvement preferred.
  8. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated presentation/facilitation skills. Ability to work collaboratively and communicate effectively at all levels of the organization.
  9. Appreciation of the importance of civil legal aid and the civil justice system, commitment to Legal Action’s mission of equal justice for low-income people. Familiar with the issues faced by poor people. 
  10. Ability to forge positive relationships and develop positive communication systems with Legal Action employees & managers, service providers, Legal Action Board of Directors members, and other outside parties.  Experience working with a diverse workforce. 
  11. Excellent analytical, problem solving, planning, and project management skills; detail oriented.  Strong time management skills and demonstrated ability to manage multiple deadlines.  Ability to self-motivate, work in teams, and be flexible within a fast-paced and changing environment.
  12. Excellent interpersonal and coaching skills.
  13. Demonstrated ability to lead and develop the Finance and Information Technology staff.
  14. Demonstrated ability to serve as a successful participant in a management group that provides firm leadership and direction.
  15. Demonstrated efficiency with Excel, Abila or other accounting software is essential (Microsoft Office environment).   Strong working knowledge of Power Point, Word and databases is helpful.
  16. Ability to handle confidential information in a professional manner.  Unimpeachable integrity and creditability in personal and professional ethics.
  17. Ability to regularly travel to Legal Action’s offices, and statewide and nationally occasionally.  

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; and taste or smell. The employee must occasionally lift or move up to 20 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus.

Salary and Benefits:

Competitive starting salary will depend upon experience and qualifications.  The position will include a full fringe benefits package.  It currently includes:  fully paid health, dental, life, and long-term disability insurance; a retirement plan; and four weeks of annual leave per year.  The position is subject to a probationary period of up to one year.  The position is governed by the Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. Personnel Policies. These policies are subject to unilateral change by Legal Action’s Board of Directors.  As with any Legal Action position, there is no guaranteed period of employment and employment is “at will,” subject to termination at any time.  

Application Procedure: 

Email applications are preferred and strongly encouraged.  When using email, use PDF formatting for all attachments. 

Interested applicants should submit the following to  

  1. A cover letter expressing interest in the position,
  2. A full resume describing past experience, qualifications, education and abilities,
  3. The names of and contact information for at least three professional references, and
  4. A recent writing sample

If necessary, hard copies may be sent to:

Mr. David Pifer, Executive Director

Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.

230 West Wells Street, Room 800

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203


Deadline to Apply: This position will be open until filled but we will review applicants on a rolling basis.  To assure early consideration, please submit application materials as soon as possible and no later than 5 p.m. on November 20, 2018.

Diversity Statement:  Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer