Retirement Accountant I

County Of Sonoma   Santa Rosa, CA   Full-time     Accounting
Posted on November 9, 2023
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Position Information


The Sonoma County Employees' Retirement Association (SCERA) is now hiring an Accountant I! 

Retirement Accountant I description image

Starting salary up to $40.86/hour ($85,279/year), and a competitive total compensation package!*

About the Position

Sonoma County Employees' Retirement Association (SCERA) is currently recruiting to fill a Retirement Accountant I position in the Finance & Retiree Services Division. In accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), County Employees Retirement Law (CERL), California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA), and SCERA procedures you will perform technical accounting work such as examining, analyzing, and verifying financial records. You will also review and analyze transactions for completeness, accuracy, and proper coding. Additional responsibilities include: 


  • Processing new retirements, and continuance claims, withdrawal of contributions, and monthly processing of retiree benefit payments in the pension system 
  • Evaluate benefit continuance forms, Federal and California tax forms, direct deposit, address change, and name change form for completeness, accuracy, and proper authorization while following established procedures
  • Balancing a variety of financial transactions on a biweekly, monthly, quarterly, fiscal year, and calendar year basis
  • Providing data and/or preparing reports for audits, public record requests, annual reports, and other requests for data
  • Working with SCERA Plan employers to reconcile biweekly transmittal of member pensionable wages and contributions into the pension system
  • Processing and withholding deductions for income withholding orders, and levies by the I.R.S.
  • Advising, providing information to, and answering routine questions of retirees, payees and designated agents, on a variety of finance and retiree services topics; may communicate and correspondence on finance and retiree services topics
  • Providing backup to other accounting functions of the Finance & Retiree Services Division 

The ideal candidate will have excellent attention to detail, communication, and interpersonal skills. They will understand what fiduciary responsibility entails and appreciate the importance of the work SCERA does to provide a pension benefit to its members and beneficiaries. They will have the ability and willingness to quickly learn SCERA's pension system and financial software system. In addition, the ideal candidate will possess:

  • A thorough understanding of GAAP 
  • The ability to prepare, maintain, and reconcile financial transactions in an accurate and timely manner 
  • Experience in governmental accounting and auditing is desired but not required 
  • The ability to juggle multiple deadlines and projects, identify risk and inefficiencies, and propose improvements/solutions
  • Kind, patient, able to communicate respectfully, and have a sense of how to interact with tact and grace, even in the most challenging situations
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics/Great Plains (GP) or other similar financial management/general ledger software
  • Intermediate to Advanced skills in the Microsoft Office Suite, specifically in Excel, Outlook; Basic to Intermediate skills in Word
  • The ability to work independently and perform analysis and accounting tasks of a more complex nature
  • Familiarity with payroll systems, rules, and processes


SCERA is a public employee defined benefit retirement system that was established on January 1, 1946, and is administered by the Board of Retirement (the Board).  SCERA is governed by the California Constitution, the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL), the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA), the bylaws, regulations, resolutions, policies, and procedures adopted by the Board.  SCERA is responsible for establishing policies governing the administration of the retirement plan, setting actuarial funding policies, making benefit determinations, and managing the investments of the System's assets.

SCERA maintains member records, receives contributions from participating employers (County of Sonoma, Sonoma County Superior Courts, and Sonoma Valley Fire District) and their employees, manages investment of Plan assets, disburses pension benefit payments to members and survivors, including lump distributions.

What We Offer

Working at the County of Sonoma offers expansive opportunities for growth and development, the ability to be a part of a challenging and rewarding work environment, and the satisfaction of knowing you're working to better our communities. You can also look forward to excellent benefits* including:

  • Salary Advancement - A salary increase after 1,040 hours (6 months when working full-time) for good work performance; eligibility for a salary increase for good performance every year thereafter, until reaching the top of the salary range
  • Career Advancement - With time and good performance, the opportunity for advancement to Accountant II which pays up to $47.01 per hour
  • Paid Time Off - Competitive vacation and sick leave accruals, 12 paid holidays, and an additional 8 floating holiday hours per year
  • County Paid Health Premium Contributions - 100% premium contribution for the majority of employee-only and employee + family health plan options
  • Staff Development/Wellness Pay - Annual benefit allowances of up to $650 and ongoing education/training opportunities
  • Post-Retirement Health Reimbursement Arrangement - County contributions to help fund post-retirement employee health insurance/benefits
  • Retirement - A pension fully integrated with Social Security
  • Paid Parental Leave - May be eligible for up to 8 weeks (320 hours) after 12 months of County employment

*Salary is negotiable within the established range. Benefits described herein do not represent a contract and may be changed without notice. Additional information can be found in the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 Memorandum Of Understanding (SEIU MOU) and our Employee Benefits Directory.

The Civil Service title for this classification is Accountant I. This employment list may also be used to fill future full-time, part-time, or extra-help (temporary) positions as they occur during the active status of the list. Qualified County employees who wish to be considered for future positions should consider applying to this recruitment.


Minimum Qualifications

Education & Experience: Any combination of education and experience which would provide opportunity to acquire the knowledge and abilities listed. Normally, either possession of a college degree in accounting, finance or business administration with at least 12 semesters or 16 quarter units of accounting, including Principles of Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, Advanced Accounting, Governmental Accounting, Cost Accounting or Auditing;


Possession of a Certified Public Accountant Certificate;


Five years of Account Clerk experience including two years as an Accounting Technician or higher with Sonoma County and at least 9 semesters or 12 quarter units of college level accounting credit, would provide such opportunity.

License: Possession of a valid driver's license at the appropriate level including special endorsements, as required by the State of California, may be required depending upon assignment to perform the essential job functions of the position.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of: accounting theory, principles, and practices and their application to a wide variety of accounting transactions; modern office management procedures, practices, and equipment, particularly as they apply to accounting operations; data processing applications to accounting procedures.

Ability to: analyze and evaluate accounting data; learn the principles and procedures of governmental accounting; prepare financial reports; make mathematical calculations rapidly and accurately; properly interpret and make decisions in accordance with laws, regulations and policies; establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with coworkers and staff of other County departments; supervise and review the work of a clerical accounting staff; communicate clearly and concisely both orally and in writing; prepare clear and concise fiscal reports; adjust to workload changes and work under pressure to meet deadlines.

Selection Procedure & Some Helpful Tips When Applying

  • Your application information and your responses to the supplemental questions are evaluated and taken into consideration throughout the entire selection process.
  • You should list all employers and positions held within the last ten years in the work history section of your application. Be as thorough as possible when responding to the supplemental questions.
  • You may include history beyond ten years if related to the position for which you are applying. If you held multiple positions with one employer, list out each position separately.
  • Failure to follow these instructions may impact your competitiveness in this process or may result in disqualification.

Please visit Getting a Job with the County of Sonoma to review more detailed information about the hiring process, including the application process, examination steps, and department selection process.

Responses to supplemental questions will or may be scored using position-specific criteria. Please provide specific and detailed responses of a reasonable length to allow for a thorough assessment of your qualifications. Responses that state "See Resume" or "See Application" may be considered insufficient and therefore may not be scored.

The selection procedure will consist of the following examination:

An Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination (weight 100%) will be conducted to evaluate each applicant's application and supplemental questionnaire for satisfaction of minimum qualifications (pass/not pass); and for educational coursework, training, experience, knowledge, and abilities which relate to this position. Each applicant will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of work history, related experience, and achieved level of education and/or training as described in the application and responses to the supplemental questions.

Candidates demonstrating possession of the minimum qualifications will be placed on an employment list in order of most qualified to least qualified based on the achieved score received in the Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination which evaluates the education, training, experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, and other qualifications that you demonstrate in your application and/or response to the supplemental questionnaire. Please be aware that resumes and cover letters are not typically evaluated in the Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination. Scores may be adjusted based on such factors as the number of candidates, anticipated vacancies, past practice, and natural breaks in the scores achieved by this group of candidates.


A background investigation is required prior to employment. Candidates referred to departments for a selection interview are typically required to sign authorization and release forms enabling such an investigation. Failure to sign prescribed forms will result in the candidate not being considered further for that vacancy. Reference information will not be made available to applicants.

Additional requirements, such as successful completion of a physical exam, drug screen, etc., may apply, depending on the duties and responsibilities of the position. If you receive a conditional job offer for the position, the requirements upon which the offer is contingent will be outlined in the conditional job letter. You may also review the Job Classification Screening Schedule to determine the requirements for this position.


Applications are accepted online at Paper applications may be submitted by person, fax (707-565-3770), email, or through the mail. All applications and appropriate supplemental information as outlined in the job bulletin must be RECEIVED by the time and date specified on the first page of this job announcement. Applications received after the recruitment closes will not be accepted.

The County of Sonoma values diversity and is dedicated to creating a workplace environment that provides individuals with a sense of belonging. We are committed to having a diverse workforce that is representative of the communities we serve. The County is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer where all aspects of employment are based on merit, competence, performance, and business need.
HR Analyst: DP
HR Technician: EV