Employment Opportunities

Opportunities with the Merola Opera Program


The Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, California, seeks a full-time, exempt Controller whose primary responsibility will be the oversight of all finance, accounting and reporting activities.

Widely regarded as the foremost opera training program for aspiring singers, coaches and stage directors, the Merola Opera Program is the cornerstone of San Francisco Opera’s training and performance programs for promising young artists. Established in 1957 in memory of Gaetano Merola, the first General Director of San Francisco Opera, Merola has served as a proving ground for hundreds of artists, many who have become the most recognized names in the opera world.

The Program annually offers 29 artists the rare opportunity of studying, coaching and participating in master classes with established professionals for twelve weeks during the summer. Participants also perform in two complete opera productions with orchestra and two summer concerts with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The Merola Opera Program is a financially independent organization with a separate 501(c)3 which operates in close collaboration with the San Francisco Opera Center and San Francisco Opera.

The Controller reports to the Executive Director (ED) and will undertake the following responsibilities:

- The Controller will perform all day-to-day finance operations of a budget of nearly $3 million and have responsibility over accounting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and grants administration.

-The Controller will ensure that the organization has the systems and procedures in place to support effective program implementations that lend themselves to clean audits.

- The Controller will work closely with the management team not only to educate them regarding finance and accounting procedures but also to explore how the finance function can support program operations.

- The Controller supervises a part-time bookkeeper/accountant. S/he will be involved in supporting presentations to the board finance committee and will work closely with the senior leadership team.

In addition, s/he will partner with the ED, senior leadership, and the human resources staff to enhance and better integrate finance functions. Previous non-profit experience preferred.

Job Responsibilities:

Primary responsibilities include a variety of complex, critical and confidential accounting and analytical duties. Secondary responsibilities include collaborating with the ED to oversee human resources needs (payroll, taxes, vacation/sick time, leave, benefits and insurance) for the Merola staff to ensure compliance with any applicable mandates and laws.

The Controller works closely with the ED, Treasurer, Board of Directors and other Merola staff members, and prepares reports and analyses of financial data and maintains accounting information. Ability to maintain confidentiality is essential.

. Records daily deposit entries, processes invoices and codes expenses.

. Prepares checks and annual 1099 forms and ensures timely submission of 990 forms.

. Generates journal entries; reconciles bank accounts to monthly statements and reconciles investment accounts and prepares related reports.

. Tracks pledges and reconciles accounts receivable.

. Manages cash flow forecasts and all bank relationships.

. Accounts for Merola’s endowments (about $28M currently) and produces endowment reports as needed.

. Designs and maintains a good system of recording and filing of bequests, trusts and endowments; ensures that proper procedures are used for recording the related restrictions on the use of donations, if any.

. Maintains General Ledger master accounts and all subsidiary ledgers for various projects.
. Prepares monthly internal statements of financial activities.

. Produces reports, schedules and analyses as needed by Merola Treasurer, Board and staff, including financial reports for grant applications and renewals.

. Partners with the ED, Chairman, President, Treasurer and the staff to develop Merola’s annual budget.

. Works with the Audit Committee and independent auditor to ensure full, timely and smooth preparation for and completion of annual audit.

. Supports the Merola Treasurer and Finance Committee. Attends, participates in and reviews minutes of the Finance Committee meetings (approximately eight per year).

. Ensures that the Merola Opera Program/San Francisco Opera Association contract is in compliance in collaboration with Merola Treasurer.

. Handles the payroll and administers staff benefits - vacation/sick accruals, health insurances, 401K, etc.

. Maintains and administers Merola’s business insurance, including Directors’ & Officers’ liability, general liability, workers’ compensation, Merola participant accident insurance, etc.; works with the ad hoc insurance committee to oversee Merola’s risk management.

. Maintains and monitors all internal controls and ensures safeguards for receipt of revenue, costs, and program budgets and actual expenditures.

. Supervises a part-time bookkeeper/accountant.


This is an extraordinary opportunity for a mature leader with at least five to seven years of accounting and finance experience, ideally beginning in accounting and audit, followed by experience gathering, evaluating, presenting and reporting financial information to executive teams and Board of Directors. S/he will ideally have knowledge of principles and practices of nonprofit accounting and experience in a nonprofit that has substantial endowments.

Other qualifications include:

. Minimum Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in accounting; CPA strongly preferred.

. Solid experience coordinating audit activities and managing reporting, budget development and analysis, accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, and accounting for investments.

. Tax and other regulatory filings, including 1099’s.

. Keen analytic, organization and problem solving skills which allows for strategic data interpretation.

. Interest in, and ability to understand, all aspects of Merola’s operations.

. Strong interpersonal and communication skills; experience in effectively communicating key data, including presentations to senior management and board.

. Ability and desire to translate complex financial concepts to individuals at all levels including finance and non-finance managers.

. Skill in QuickBooks and other accounting software.

. Raiser’s Edge or development software knowledge very helpful.

. Skill in Microsoft Office including Windows, Microsoft Word, and Excel.

This position description intends to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this job. It is not intended to include all duties and responsibilities. The order in which duties and responsibilities are listed is not significant. Because of a need to remain responsive to the organization’s operations, responsibilities may be modified at any time.

To apply:

Please e-mail cover letter and resume (with references and salary requirements) to mop @ sfopera.com with Controller - (first name & last name) in the subject. You may also mail to: Controller Job Search c/o Merola Opera Program, War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco CA 94102. While we appreciate your interest, no phone calls or contact regarding pending applications, please.

The Merola Opera Program is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to diversity of staff. Qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records will be considered for this position in accordance with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance.

The Merola Opera Program is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to diversity of staff.