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Assistant Controller

Company: Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc.
Location: South San Francisco
Posted on: June 6, 2021

Job Description:

Position Summary:

The Assistant Controller is responsible for all SEC financial reporting activities and will oversee Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) 404(b) compliance, working closely with SOX consultants, lead and manage the payroll and stock plan administration functions, certain aspects of general ledger close process, external audit, technical accounting, accounting policies, and the accounting system. This individual will frequently interact with accounting staff, IT, legal, and other stakeholders across the organization as well as external SOX consultants and external auditors. This role requires critical thinking skills, effective organizational skills, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and a strong ability to build effective relationships across the Company. Works with the Controller and other team members to develop scalable and efficient accounting processes.

Reports to:   Corporate Controller

Location:      South San Francisco, CA

Travel:         up to 15% travel time



  • Oversee SOX 404(b) compliance, working with external SOX consultants.
  • Oversee the management of the payroll and stock plan administration function.
  • Oversee certain aspects of monthly/quarterly general ledger close process including accounting for leases, stock-based compensation, collaboration revenue accounting etc.
  • Lead the preparation of Company’s SEC filings, including 10-Qs and 10-Ks, and ensuring appropriate XBRL tagging of related content.
  • Provides technical accounting guidance to the Company including drafting or reviewing technical accounting memos.
  • Supports the requirements of the annual audit and quarterly reviews through preparation of audit schedules and other support to external auditors.
  • Supports in the development of new processes for anticipated commercial launch. 
  • Supports Corporate Controller in ERP enhancements/projects.
  • Provides support to all other teams across the company as needs arise, including special projects, system improvements or ad-hoc financial analyses as assigned.

  • Bachelor's degree in Accounting, Finance or Business.
  • CPA required; Big 4 audit experience, biotech industry, public company experience preferred.
  • 10+ years accounting experience.
  • Deep subject matter expertise in Sarbanes Oxley and internal controls over financial reporting
  • Deep subject matter expertise in SEC reporting and US GAAP accounting standards
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Advanced Excel skills.
  • Well-developed problem solving skills combined with experience working with outside consultants in a positive and collaborative fashion.
  • Good energy, enthusiastic, goal driven.
  • Enjoys being ‘hands-on’ and able to work in a co-located environment. Adept at managing external service providers to meet objectives and budgets.
  • Fast learner with ability to deal with technical and business issues with equal skill and able to deal with many ambiguities inherent in an emerging pharmaceutical company without becoming rigid or mechanical.
  • Able to work in an environment where sharing responsibility for success and the shortcomings of others on the team is critical to the overall success of the Company. 
  • Emotional maturity and ability to effectively facilitate change in an environment where the structure may evolve rapidly.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with people in diverse and different settings.
  • Possesses a sense of urgency; identifies challenges and problems and takes the initiative to identify solutions.
  • Role model for Atara TRAIT values (Transparency, Respect, Accountability, Integrity, Trust)

We launched Atara Biotherapeutics in August 2012 to help patients with serious diseases and few therapeutic options. We are considered a leading off-the-shelf T-cell immunotherapy company (Nasdaq ATRA) developing novel treatments for patients with cancer, autoimmune and viral diseases.


We’re proud of our team of 425+ Atarians co-located by design in 4 different locations including South San Francisco (corporate headquarters), Thousand Oaks (R&D and manufacturing headquarters), Zug, Switzerland (european headquarters) and a R&D site in the Denver, Colorado area. Our Southern California hub is anchored by a new 90,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art Atara T-Cell Operations and Manufacturing (ATOM) facility.  

Our mission – “Transform the lives of patients with serious medical conditions through pioneering science, teamwork, and a commitment to excellence.”


Our vision - “T-Cell Immunotherapy for every patient, any time.”


Atara offers a competitive benefits packages that includes medical/dental/vision benefits, life and disability, retirement and stock program, as well as a generous paid time off and wellness plan that supports the well-being of our staff.  Visit to learn more.

Atara Bio is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit and other lawful factors. In accordance with applicable law, the Company prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth), gender identity, expression or dysphoria, marital status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, veteran status, caregiver status, sexual orientation, transgender status or any other classification protected by federal, state or local laws or because of the individual’s association with a member of a protected group or connection to an organization or group related to a protected group.

We comply with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act. All applicants must have authorization to work for Atara Bio in the United States.

Keywords: Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc., South San Francisco , Assistant Controller, Other , South San Francisco, California

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