The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) seeks a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to provide financial and administrative leadership and serve as a strategic advisor to the CEO and President of the organization and its affiliated organizations (ARF Innovation Studio, Inc. dba CIMM and ARF Charitable Foundation, Inc.), collectively, the ARF Entities. The position requires a forward-thinking leader with strong financial skills complemented by a firm grasp of technology solutions and operations management all in support of providing outstanding value to members and other stakeholders.
Organization History and Mission
The ARF is an open forum where talent from every avenue of advertising – advertisers, agencies, media companies, market researchers, and academics – can gather to exchange ideas and research strategies. There has never been a more critical need for solid information, standards, and transparency as technology has been both a boon and a bane to marketers, offering more ways to connect with customers and far more complexities. Businesses can only grow when operating on correct information and real insights, drawn from empirical research, objective experiments, and valid market tests. The ARF’s mission is to further, through research, the scientific practice of Advertising and Marketing.
Founded in 1936, the ARF has been the standard-bearer for unbiased quality in research on advertising, media and marketing. The ARF leads key industry learning initiatives that increase the contribution of research to better marketing, more effective advertising, and profitable organic growth. Its powerful knowledge, unifying standards, and best practices have benefited its 400+ member companies many times over.
Through the ARF, members can engage in the Knowledge Center, participate in events (live, virtual, and on-demand), collaborate with peers on key issues, share knowledge and expertise, stay current on new innovations and research, engage with the next generation of leaders, and much more. The ARF has continued to grow and innovate including the following significant advancements:
- The integration of Marketing Science Institute (MSI, now a division of the ARF), effective January 1, 2021, will accelerate innovation in marketing and create even more value for members.
- The ARF Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) subsidiary of the ARF was approved in 2019 and is advancing ARF WIDE – Workforce Initiative for Diversity and Excellence.
- The acquisition of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) in 2018 builds on a long-term partnership and advances the development of research initiatives focusing on media measurement technology and methodology.
Headquartered in New York City, the ARF Entities has a staff of 45 and an operating budget of $7.5M across all subsidiaries. The current CFO will be retiring in late Spring, 2021. For additional information about the ARF, please visit the website.
Reporting to the CEO and President, the CFO is accountable for “traditional” financial functions including the maintenance of the organization’s systems of internal accounting controls, tax compliance, investment portfolio management, banking relationship management, capital projects evaluation, insurance/risk management, and office/facilities management. The role manages the relationship with the organization’s outside auditing firm and legal counsel, and also liaises with the outsourced HR firm.
The CFO will utilize exceptional interpersonal skills to build and maintain strong and effective relationships with members of the Core Leadership Teams, the staff of the ARF, members of the Boards of Directors and Trustees, and key ARF Members. The CFO is a member of the Core Leadership Team, which includes the Chief Research Officer, Chief Growth Officer, Senior Vice President – Events, Senior Vice President – Membership, Managing Director – CIMM, and Managing Director – MSI, all under the leadership of the CEO. The role will also work closely with various boards including the ARF Board and Finance Committee, the CIMM Board, and the Charitable Foundation Board. The position oversees a staff accountant, works with the outsourced accounting firm, and manages the IT team.
The CFO plays a vital role in ensuring the ARF maintains a strong financial position through sound financial stewardship. Primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Partner with the President and Core Leadership Team to address operational and strategic issues; provide financial analyses, scenario modeling, and strategic recommendations.
- Engage in the strategic planning process as an integral member of the senior management team; oversee long-term budget planning and financial management aligned with the strategic plan.
- Support the ARF’s evolving strategy, operational delivery, and data collection needs by engaging members of the core management team, facilitating cross-department collaboration, and aligning finance, IT, and operations.
- Engage and support the ARF Board Finance Committee around issues, trends, and changes in the operating model and operational delivery.
- Develop company prospects by studying economic trends and revenue opportunities.
- Budgets: Oversee development and implementation of all budgets (entity, divisions, programs, capital, etc.); monitor progress, develop forecasts, and present operational metrics both internally and externally.
- Financial Reports: Oversee the preparation, analysis, and approval of all financial reporting for internal management and Board fiduciary responsibilities.
- Investments: Monitor investment portfolio performance; ensure compliance with Investment Policy.
- Forecasting: Manage cash flow and forecasting; monitor the use of all funds; manage banking relationship including negation of lines of credit and letters of credit.
Internal Controls & Compliance
- Recommend and enforce internal controls to safeguard assets.
- Ensure finance records and systems align with GAAP.
- Oversee annual audit and compliance reporting, including timely, accurate submission of all ARF Entities’ federal and state tax filings.
- Ensure adequacy of insurance coverage and insurable risks; manage claims processes.
Administration & Operations Management
- Develop and manage direct staff as well as manage outsourced functions, as applicable (Accounting, IT, HR, etc.).
- Oversee all facilities operations; maintain relationships with landlord and/or management company and building service personnel.
- Evaluate and oversee all benefits negotiations performed by outsourced HR firm.
- Manage the ARF’s “buy-side” and “sell-side” contracting process including reviewing the business terms of all research projects, sponsorship support, licenses, or other purchase or revenue contracts; liaise with outside counsel as necessary.
- Review, recommend improvements, and manage all formal finance-, HR-, and IT-related procedures, processes, systems, and administration.
The ARF uses a variety of tools in finance and operations and is moving to several new platforms. The ARF anticipates selecting a new CRM platform in the next month, completing the conversion to Intacct by July 1, and implementing additional electronic modules such as Bill.com. The organization uses ADP payroll systems, and Microsoft Office platform (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams).
Skills and Attributes
The CFO will be a seasoned, experienced leader with at least 10-12 years of broad finance and operational experience, including responsibility for overseeing the Operations and IT functions, where gathering and evaluating financial information and making actionable recommendations to senior leadership are key responsibilities.
The CFO will have the following experience and attributes:
- 10+ years of experience leading finance and operations for a similarly sized (or larger) entity; experience in the nonprofit sector a plus.
- Leadership and proactivity with evidence of having worked as a true business partner to the chief executive.
- Demonstrated excellence in managing finance, accounting, budgeting, internal controls, and reporting.
- Skill in examining, developing, reengineering, and recommending finance, IT, HR, and other operations policies and procedures.
- Strong analytical skills and experience interpreting a strategic vision into an operational model.
- A collaborative and flexible style, with a strong service mentality; a team player.
- A hands-on manager with integrity and a desire to work in a mission-driven environment.
- Demonstrated commitment to the social sector with a passion for the organization’s mission is essential.
- An effective communicator, with strong oral and written skills; demonstrated ability to communicate financial information to non-financial audiences.
- Strong commitment to developing team members.
- Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or related field; CPA or MBA a plus.
How To Apply
The Advertising Research Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, religion, alienage or national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability or handicap, sex, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, genetic information, arrest record, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws. Our management team is dedicated to this policy with respect to recruitment, hiring, placement, promotion, transfer, training, compensation, benefits, employee activities and general treatment during employment.
About Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group
On behalf of ARF, Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group is advancing the CFO search. Founded in 1984 as Raffa, P.C. and merged with Marcum in 2018, we are, and always have been, a mission-driven professional services firm seeking to do more for nonprofits and socially conscious organizations like ARF. Learn more about our work at http://marcumllp.com/industries/nonprofit-social-sector.