Karamu House

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Position: Controller

Reports To: President+ CEO

Department: Administration

FLSA Status: Full-time, Exempt


In 1915, Oberlin College graduates Russell and Rowena Jelliffe opened the Playhouse Settlement in a Cleveland area called The Roaring Third. The Jelliffes wanted to build an environment where people of different races, religions, and social and economic backgrounds could come together to seek and share common ventures through the arts, and Karamu House was established as a gathering place for racially diverse members of the surrounding community at that time. As the community became predominantly African American, Karamu responded with programs geared to their needs and interests.

Today, Karamu is evolving to be reborn as a beating heart for the entire community, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification, or age, as it embarks on its second 100 years, retaining its historical identity as “a place of joyful gathering.” Core programs include a five performance, socially-relevant and professional quality theatre season; arts education in drama/theatre, music and dance for all ages; and community programming, such as a lecture series, and spoken word and music performances, that invites participation and engagement, reflection, and a re-commitment to cultural values.


The Controller will combine excellent analytical skills with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts. The ideal candidate has experience collaborating and/or managing a team. The Controller’s responsibilities include supporting daily operation of the Finance Department, reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger, preparing month-end close procedures, preparing interim and annual financial reports, and assisting with preparation of the Form 990, and supporting grant reports. The Controller is responsible for the Business Office, Accounts Payable and Receivables, Payroll, and Grants Management support.


  • Prepare periodic financial reports including monthly financial statements and KPI reports for management, quarterly reports for presentation to trustees, and annual audited financial statements.
  • Establish, maintain, and document internal control system that protects the organization’s assets, allows for operational efficiencies, and ensures timely reliable reporting.
  • Prepare schedules for year-end consolidation and footnotes for external audit; assist with tax
    preparation for 990.
  • Process semi-monthly US payroll through payroll vendor via data collection and verification of timesheets, attendance records and other relevant data; calculation and analysis of wages, deductions, and other compensation components; tax compliance and reporting to ensure local, state, and federal regulations; benefit administration of health insurance and supplemental policies through payroll deduction, recordkeeping and documentation of accurate payroll records, employee information, compensation and withholding details; communication and support of payroll-related policies and procedures demonstrating a commitment to customer service ledgers.
  • Manage invoicing, revenue generation, accounts payable, expenditure reports, Facility and Administration Costs, and grant closeouts.
  • Collaborate with development and other departments for on grant applications and budgets.
  • Collaborate with development and other departments for on grant applications and budgets.
  • Organize, direct, and evaluate a wide variety of financial activities related to Karamu’s product lines and operations.
  • Lead and oversee the month-end, quarter-end, and year-end close processes.
  • Support the leadership team, contributing financial expertise to strategic decisions.
  • Develop and maintain accurate cash flow projections to support strategic planning.
  • Implement process improvements and strategies to optimize cash management.
  • Establish and enforce financial policies and procedures to ensure consistency and compliance with applicable regulations and with nonprofit accounting standards.
  • Work with external auditors and provide needed information for the annual audit.
  • Coordinate and provide necessary information for annual tax preparation (Form 990 and 1099s).
  • Assist in the preparation of the annual budget whereby organizational needs are identified, consensus on priorities is obtained and translates the consensus into a financial plan.
  • Provide consultative assistance to departments in the interpretation of financial and budget information.
  • Design, establish, and maintain an organizational structure and staffing to effectively accomplish organizational goals and objectives; recruit, employ, train, supervise, and evaluate personnel.
  • Other duties as assigned.


The successful candidate will possesses the following:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting (preferred).
  • Proven experience in accounting (2-4 years of public accounting preferred or equivalent nonprofit accounting experience).
  • CPA license (preferred)
  • Analytical and organizational skills. • Interest in and/or knowledge of arts and culture
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to work successfully under pressure to meet deadlines and goals.


  • Strong organizational skills and ability to multi-task.
  • Strong oral and written skills, with ability to draft concise, understandable, and effective documents, proposals, reports, and presentations.
  • Interpersonal skills with the ability to develop rapport, as well as build and maintain relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Computer and internet proficiency, including experience working with accounting software and customer relationship databases.
  • A genuine interest in theatre/ performing arts.


Salary range: $75K – $90K. Benefits include medical (50% premium coverage), paid time off including vacation, sick leave, and paid holidays, and complimentary production tickets. This position operates on a 40-hour work week. Business hours are 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM. Possible flexibility in work hours.


Applicants for the position should send resume, cover letter and salary requirements to:

ATTN: Careers | Karamu House | 2355 E. 89th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44106



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