Job Overview


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is part of what is arguably the largest and most diverse astrophysical institution in the world, where the staff carries out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and earth and space sciences. If you would like to join this exciting organization, apply today!

As an Accountant, works with and supports Financial Management staff by providing accounting assistance in solving accounting issues as well as implementation of new or revised regulations, policies, procedures or systems.  Performs accounting activities involved in the maintenance of financial accounting records.


  • Reviews SI/SAO practices and policies relating to accounts payable vendor maintenance.  Recommends solutions to processes to enhance work flow.
  • Applies a thorough knowledge of the total accounting system and of well- established accounting principles, techniques and regulations to process a wide variety of transactions. Makes recommendations or adaptations to guidelines and procedures to control transactions of an unusual or complex nature.  Recommends solutions to processes to enhance work flow.
  • Performs quantitative analytical review of accounting data from multiple financial reports and queries at the request of management.
  • Documents and assists with implementation of new processes to record and maintain accounting information to ensure availability in a variety of formats, including Excel, to appropriate parties.
  • Uses excellent oral and written communications skills to establish relationships with SAO department and division administrators as well as with SI counterparts to resolve any concerns and discrepancies that may arise.
  • Analyzes data available in a variety of formats and initiates and executes appropriate cost distribution and allocation transactions using an integrated computerized accounting system and performs analysis leading to account reconciliation and variance resolution.
  • Provides input to the conception, design, development, documentation and implementation of new automated programs and procedures in the Financial Management Department.
  • Tests PeopleSoft codes and recommends accounts payable practices to ensure proper validation and recording of adjustments/corrections to the accounts payable module in order to verify transaction flow in an integrated system.
  • Oversees the SAO accounts payable staff documentation of errors and adjustments.  Researches and rectifies problems as they arise and provides explanations to accounts payable staff regarding the actions taken.