Santa Margarita Water District

Senior Accountant

Onsite - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Application Deadline: 2/19/24

Under general direction, performs a full range of complex, professional accounting and analysis in the preparation and maintenance of financial records, reports and systems for the District; provides a basis for sound operational and financial planning through financial review, analysis, monitoring, reconciliation and maintenance of assigned financial accounts, programs and activities; supervises lower-level finance team members; acts as lead to Accountants, and performs related duties as assigned.


A Senior Accountant is the advanced journey and working lead-level classification in the professional Accountant series. In addition to performing the full range of journey-level and advanced skilled duties, incumbents supervise lower-level finance team members and serves as the working lead person of other accounting and fiscal staff, coordinating and over­seeing their work and providing work guidance and training as they carry out accounting-related duties. Incumbents work with limited supervision, promote and safeguard the collaborative process, and are able to think strategically and cooperate and successfully engage with other departments.


This position typically reports to the Controller or his/her designee and provides lead work direction to Accountants and Customer Accounting Technicians and Leads. Senior Accountant is distinguished from Accountant in that an incumbent in the former class supervises other staff in the Finance department, performs responsible professional finance and fiscal duties in the preparation and maintenance of financial records for various District accounts and funds, monitors the District’s investment portfolio, grant funding, and/or bond compliance requirements, and helps prepare various annual financial statements in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).


 Essential Functions:

The duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to this class.


  1. Supervises, provides work guidance and direction and participates in the work of cash or accounting staff; participates in scheduling, assigning and monitoring work of other employees for completeness, accuracy and conformance with District and departmental standards; provides information, instruction and training on work processes, proper uses of equipment and safe work practices; provides input to supervisor on employee work performance and behaviors; estimates personnel, equipment and material requirements for assigned jobs; may order work materials and supplies; assists in ensuring a fair and open work environment in accordance with the District’s commitment to teamwork, mutual trust and respect.
  2. Assists the Controller and Accounting Supervisor in the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report preparation process. Completes Annual Comprehensive Financial Report components such as basic financial statements, notes to the financial statements, management’s discussion and analysis, etc. 
  3. Keeps current on local, state and federal grants’ regulation and requirements. Assists in updating the District’s policies as necessary. 
  4. Reviews & monitors the District’s compliance requirements associated but not limited to bonds, loans, grants, etc. 
  5. Completes various financial reports as requested by the State Controller’s Office.
  6. May prepare and/or review customer utility billing transactions including but not limited to refunds, payments, write-offs, etc. as needed. 
  7. Provides complex professional and technical assistance in the administration and implementation of the District’s financial, auditing and accounting programs; analyzes and reconciles expenditure and revenue accounts, verifying availability of funds and classification of expenditures; researches and analyzes transactions to resolve problems.
  8. May reconcile investment transactions for the District. Ensures investments meet the District’s policy and the California Government Code. 
  9. May prepare for review monthly financial statements, metrics and variance analyses for Board presenta­tion; performs complex accounting and financial calculations and analyses including CIP (construction in progress) accounting, complex cash reconciliations and county tax receipts reconciliation/analysis. 
  10. May perform grant accounting duties; analyzes grant costs to ensure they are valid and reimbursable in accordance with grant agreement provisions, District policy, GASB rules, federal grant and federal audit guidelines; adjusts cost allocations based on changes in project scope; prepares quarterly and year-end finance reports and cost reimbursement requests.
  11. Reviews accounting for bond construction and other special funds; reviews monthly schedules for bond construction fund balances and bond commitments; prepares schedules and information for Official Statements used for bond issuances and/or refunding; prepares periodic reports on special funds; conducts special expenditure analyses and audits to ensure full reimburse­ment of District costs in connection with construction and special fund expenditures.
  12. Assists in preparing or reviewing audit schedules for external audits; assists in the implementation and administra­tion of fiscal management programs including budget monitoring and forecasting and collection of revenues. 
  13. Assists managers and staff of other departments in understanding the District’s accounting-related processes and procedures.
  14. Attends various meetings and serves on committees as required.
  15. Performs related duties and responsibilities as required. 

Requisite Abilities:


Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

Education, Training and Experience:

Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s degree in finance, busi­ness, accounting or a related field, and a minimum of three years of progressively responsible profes­sional accounting experience, minimum of which one was at a supervisory level preferably in a government agency, utility or audit firm, with specialization in government agency audits.


Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements:

Possession of or the ability to obtain a valid California Class C driver’s license and the ability to maintain insurability under the District’s vehicle insurance program.


A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license is preferred.

Knowledge of: 

  1. In-depth principles, practices and terminology of general, fund and governmental accounting, including financial statement preparation and methods of financial control and reporting.
  2. Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures (GAAP), Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
  3. Governmental accounting theory and practices, including grant and fund management, and financial statement preparation.
  4. Principles and practices of cost, fixed asset and grant accounting.
  5. Internal control and audit practices and procedures.
  6. Principles and practices of sound business communication; correct English usage, including spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  7. Safety policies and safe work practices applicable to the work.
  8. Uses and operations of computers, standard business software and specialized database and spread­sheet applications including but not limited Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and other applications.
  9. Principles and practices of effective supervision.
  10. Basic knowledge of District human resources policies and labor contract provisions. 

Ability to: 

  1. Assign, supervise, review, and evaluate the work of Accountants and other finance and fiscal accounting staff.
  2. Analyze post, balance and reconcile complex financial data and accounts.
  3. Make accurate arithmetic, financial and statistical computations.
  4. Prepare clear, concise and complete financial documents, statements and reports.
  5. Operate a computer, standard business software and a variety of software programs and data­bases related to area of assignment.
  6. Reach sound decisions in accordance with District policies and procedures.
  7. Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. 
  8. Understand and follow written and oral instructions. 
  9. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with all those encountered in the course of work.

 Qualifications Guidelines:


The physical and mental demands described here are representative of those that must be met by employees to successfully perform the essential functions of this class. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Physical Demands 

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit for extended periods, walk and stand; talk and hear; reach with hands and arms; and perform repetitive movements of hands or wrists. The employee is frequently required to lift up to 25 pounds unaided.

Specific vision abilities required for this job include close vision and the ability to adjust focus.

Mental Demands 

While performing the duties of this class, an employee uses written and oral communication skills; reads and interprets data, information and documents; analyzes and solves problems; uses math and mathe­matical reasoning; observes and interprets people and situations; learns and applies new information and skills; performs highly detailed work; deals with changing deadlines, constant interrup­tions and multiple concurrent tasks; and interacts with others encountered in the course of work.


The employee works in an office environment where the noise level is usually quiet to moderate.