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Job Descriptions

Principal Accountant


Under general supervision, performs a variety of complex and difficult accounting and financial analysis work involving the development and maintenance of accounting systems affecting City-wide and/or multi departments; supervises and directs the work of accounting support staff and performs other job related work as required.

This position is designated as un-represented for Labor Relations purposes and is considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).


General supervision is provided by the Finance Director. The Principal Accountant may supervise lower level accounting professional, technicians and office support staff.


This is a professional accounting position with first level supervisory duties in a discrete sub-divisional organizational component involving the budget and accounting programs/functional areas affecting City-wide financial operations. The job incumbent has responsibility for assigning, supervising, and directing the work of staff assigned to the City-wide accounting and budgetary functions of the City. Duties and responsibilities are performed in accordance with law, ordinance, and City policy.

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES - Duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • Oversee and perform a variety of accounting duties related to the operation and maintenance of City-wide and multi department accounting records.
  • Coordinate and oversee the development and administration of the City-wide budget.
  • Establish and maintain a variety of special accounts and systems related to grant and other special funding accounts.
  • Assist in the planning, development and implementation of accounting and financial management programs.
  • Provide assistance to City Departments and employees on accounting and financial systems management problems, the interpretation of accounting and financial management policies and procedures and in resolving accounting and financial systems problems.
  • Provide professional and technical advice and recommendations on accounting pronouncements, standards, policies and procedures.
  • Facilitate fiscal controls and compliance with generally accepted accounting principles by the City and its related entities.
  • Prepare a variety of financial reports including periodic reports, year-end closing and reconciliation, and budgetary documents.
  • Supervise and direct the work of staff with accounting support responsibilities including provision of timely performance evaluations; recommend and implement approved discipline; provide staff development; and maintain high standards necessary for efficient, professional operations.
  • Participate in recruitment and selection activities; make recommendations for appointment of new staff; assist with staff orientation and training.
  • Supervise the activities of subordinates including employee selection, training, instruction, task assignment, work review, performance evaluation and administration of progressive discipline as needed.
  • Assist outside auditors and coordinates reviews of City accounting and financial systems.
  • Assist in the development, implementation and evaluation of fiscal policies, procedures and practices.
  • Review and approve accounting transactions for input to the various financial systems of the City and its related entities and departments.
  • Direct and participate in complex fiscal, financial, and accounting problem resolution in areas impacting the Cityís financial condition and operation.
  • Prepare highly complex and technical reports; document policies and procedures; perform research
  • Make and assist with presentations before various groups, including City Council, Commissions, and professional and public meetings, as needed.
  • Answer questions; provide information to the public; recommend corrective actions; investigate, reports, documents and resolve complaints.
  • Build and maintain respectful, positive working relationships with staff, supervisors, outside agencies and the public using principles of good customer service; provide effective conflict resolution, as needed.
  • Model appropriate professional management conduct; maintain appropriate confidentiality of sensitive information; comply with and support City policies and procedures, labor laws, and MOU provisions.
  • Conduct internal audits as required.
  • Utilize computer software financial and spreadsheet programs on personal computer and mainframe platforms.
  • Perform related duties as assigned.


Knowledge of:

  • Governmental finance and administration
  • Generally accepted accounting principles and governmental accounting principles and standards.
  • Theories, principles, and practices of governmental budgeting and finance.
  • Current information technology principles and applications for fiscal and financial systems.
  • Public agency administration.
  • Federal, State and local laws and regulations relating to fiscal management.
  • Budget preparation, program analysis, and revenue forecasting.
  • Principles of organization and management.
  • Statistical concepts and methods.
  • Career development planning techniques and methods.
  • Principles of employee supervision, career development and training.
  • The concepts of word processing, micro-computer and mainframe computer applications.
  • Modern methods of records management
  • Principles and practices of supervision, staff selection, training and personnel management.
  • Safe work practices and related regulations.
  • Principles of public speaking, conflict resolution and excellent customer service.
  • Public debt financing instruments.

Ability to:

  • Plan, organize, direct, reviews and supervise the work of a small technical and office support staff.
  • Delegate authority and responsibility effectively.
  • Perform professional, technical financial management analysis including the preparation of complex analytical reports and documents.
  • Interpret and apply accounting and financial management laws, rules, regulations, policies and guidelines.
  • Prepare complex and comprehensive fiscal analyses and reports.
  • Develop and administer City-wide budgets
  • Conduct revenue forecasting.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with elective officials, administration, other employees, and the general public.
  • Present ideas effectively orally and in writing.
  • Read, comprehend and apply complex laws and regulations.
  • Lead, supervise, evaluate and train personnel effectively and maintain discipline.
  • Organize, implement and supervise departmental goals and City objectives.
  • Use computer and needed programs effectively.
  • Organize, analyze, manage and implement a variety of programs.


Four years of professional journey level municipal accounting experience, to include at least two years in a lead capacity, similar to that of the Accountant III in the City of Turlock that would have provided the opportunity to develop the required skills, knowledge, and abilities.


Possession of a Bachelorís Degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in accounting, business administration, economics, or a related field.


Possession of a valid California Driverís License in the category necessary to perform essential duties of the position may be required at the time of appointment. Individuals who do not meet this requirement due to a physical disability will be considered for accommodation on a case-by-case basis. Maintenance of a valid California Driverís license and proof of automobile liability insurance thereafter is a condition of continued employment.

Possession of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certificate is desirable.


Maintain the following physical abilities: See well enough to read instructions, read fine print, view computer screen, operate vehicle and related equipment; hear well enough to converse on the telephone and in person, assist the public and other staff; use hands and fingers for use of computer keyboard, copy machine, filing, writing, drive vehicles and answer telephone.

        For questions about City employment, please contact:

        Human Relations
        156 S. Broadway, Ste. 235
        Turlock, CA 95380-5454
        (209) 668-5150
        Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM

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