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Controller

About Harris Insights

Harris Insights & Analytics, is a global consulting and market research firm that delivers actionable intelligence for transformational times. We are known for “The Harris Poll”, one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment. We work with clients in three primary areas: Corporate Reputation and Tracking - helping leaders develop, define and manage their corporate reputation; Brand Performance and Tracking - crafting brand strategies that build attachment and long-term equity and performance tracking; and Public Relations and Thought Leadership - creating engaging branded content to drive increased organic media mentions through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible.

When will I start?

Finding the right person is more important than getting someone quickly.  That said, this is a critical role that we are eager to bring on to the team - the sooner the better. 

Who will I report to?

This role will report directly to the CFO, Amy Long.

Who will report to me?

You will manage a team of four individuals including a Finance Manager, financial analysts and our Staff Accountant.  Part of this team is located in our Chicago office and part is located at our Rochester NY office. 

What will I do?

Harris Insights and Analytics has gone through big, positive changes recently.  We joined the Stagwell Group of companies about two and a half years ago.  Led by a group of agency and industry professionals, Stagwell is a group of best-in class organizations that were born and bred in a digital first era. These companies are not weighed down by legacy assets and are united in their desire to innovate, evolve, grow and deliver superior results for their clients.  As we grow, we are looking for a Controller to join our Finance and Accounting team in our Chicago office. 

The Controller position is an essential role that will be a partner to the CFO, have broad exposure to the rest of the Harris leadership team and be accountable for several high impact initiatives.  We are looking for the right fit who will be more than a member of the finance team – they will be a strong presence in our growing Chicago office, taking a genuine interest in what we do as a business to help our organization scale. 

This individual will have a variety of responsibilities but their success over the first year will be largely dependent on a few key accomplishments.  First, by the end of the first six to nine months the new Controller should be an ingrained member of the team, performing the day to day takes of the role flawlessly.  This includes overseeing all client finance functions, accounting operations and systems (we use Intacct), owning and maintaining an accurate General Ledger, monitoring, managing and reporting on cash flow.  By the end of their first year they should have the depth of knowledge and experience to own our annual audit process from start to finish including working with vendors involved in the process and helping prepare pre-work across the team. 

Second, this individual will work with the CFO to truly understand and plan for the impact of recent rule changes for revenue recognition.  These new revenue standards have significantly impacted the revenue recognition practices of most professional services companies, including Harris.  Within the first several months, this individual will have a clear view of how these rules impact our business and be able to educate functional teams on the importance of those rules and ensure compliance.

Last, we would like to see this person truly become a trusted and valued manager and member of the broader Harris team.  We have recently rolled out more robust financial reporting in our company – we would like to see this person working directly with leaders across the organization to help them better understand their P&L’s and help them plan for and adhere to their budgets.  Providing a career path and opportunities for growth at our company is extremely important to our team – this person should also be a strong manager and mentor to their team and excited to help contribute to the building of a great culture at our growing Chicago office.

What will I make?

Harris Analytics and Insights offers a competitive base salary and bonus structure.  We are happy to discuss specifics around compensation and bonus for this role with qualified candidates during the first interview.

What are the requirements?

It’s not a short list but we want to get it right.  From a cultural perspective, the right candidate will:

  • Have a track record operating as an independent self-starter and be comfortable working with key stakeholders and leadership that are remote.

  • Have the ability to communicate complex accounting principles to stakeholders in a clear manner to ensure the relevancy is understood. 

  • Have a track record of seeking out suggestions for improvement across the business.  They will think about ways that the accounting function can deliver greater value to teams and have a track record of working to implement those solutions. 

  • Be successful working under deadlines - calm, creative and measured when under pressure and comfortable in an environment where change and growth is the norm.

  • Have proven experience contributing to strategic decision making outside of their functional area and be comfortable challenging leaders in a constructive manner to make the business better.

  • Know what it means to work with a growth stage leadership team and have a demonstrated track record of offering assistance before it is asked of them.

  • Enjoy mentoring and teaching junior team members.  We are not looking for you to bring a team with you.  That said, the ideal candidate will be the type of person that coworkers would follow them to their next job.

From a technical perspective, the right candidate will:

  • Have demonstrated knowledge of the relevant accounting rules that impact a professional services organization and have used this knowledge to address issues before they arise.

  • Have experience managing client finance activities including managing complex scope of work conversations, tracking of client financial obligations and management of AP/AR teams.

  • Have led, or played a key role in a driving, complex audit process including the preparation leading up to the audit within an external service organization.

  • Demonstrate deep knowledge of revenue recognition rules in the professional services industry and how changes to these rules will impact the organization.

  • Have experience owning tax compliance responsibilities including working with external tax professionals.

  • Have a deep understanding of GAAP principles and, ideally, their CPA certification.

How do I get in touch?

Interested candidates should reach out to Grant Zallis at grant@consultiar.com.