Role: Director of Finance
Reporting to Vice Chancellor
The Director of Finance role is one of corporate financial leadership to ensure future financial sustainability of the University. The Director of Finance is therefore responsible for developing and implementing future-focused financial strategies and ensuring sound financial management and governance across the University.
A key aspect of the role will be to provide proactive, insightful financial advice to the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and other relevant internal stakeholders; playing a critical role in developing and implementing strategies for financial planning, budgeting, monitoring and analysis. To provide expertise and critical support around University commercial activities which seek to generate third stream income.
As a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive (VCE) team, the Director of Finance will bring demonstrable leadership success at a senior executive level. Significant scale of strategic and operational management experience, plus a broad financial and commercial skill set are essential, and will be required to report to relevant internal and external governance committees. The Director of Finance will develop the capacity to thrive in a professional services role within an academic community. They will also provide key internal governance and audit liaison with relevant University committees
1. Provide strategic leadership for the finance directorate and lead on embedding a ‘centre of excellence’ model across the department. Engage with key stakeholders, lead the development and delivery of the University’s short / medium / long term financial operating strategy to support the University’s broader strategic aims and ensure its financial sustainability. 2. From a position of deep understanding of the economics and business drivers associated with the University’s position in the FE and HE sectors, contribute to the identification of creative ways to enhance the University’s financial performance and maximise the value generated from its resources.
3. Provide insight and actionable recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor to ensure that the University’s annual spending is appropriately managed and that robust controls are operated effectively to support the successful delivery of the University’s priorities.
4. Be responsible for ensuring that the University meets its statutory and regulatory financial requirements and compliance for both Further Education and Higher Education; ensuring that the highest standards of financial stewardship and governance are met, supported by robust and well communicated finance procedures and regulations.
5. Work pro-actively and collaboratively with other teams across the University, ensuring that a financial perspective is embedded in business cases and throughout the business planning and modelling process.
6. Ensure that effective, high quality financial reporting, management information systems and KPIs are developed and enhanced to support key stakeholders in fulfilling their responsibilities; further to support the effective data collection and analysis required for external statutory and funding agencies.
7. Oversee the production of high-quality, accurate and timely Financial and Management Accounts for the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. Identify, manage and mitigate high-level financial risks, ensuring that these are highlighted to VCE and addressed within the risk register.
8. Provide strategic planning and guidance in line with regulatory frameworks to ensure clear investment strategies and option analysis as part of the University’s annual planning and budgeting process
9. Be responsible for relevant internal and external audit liaison with the relevant University committee (i.e. Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee and Audit and Risk Committee) and ensure implementation of relevant recommendations and actions.
10. Oversight of statutory financial reporting; Annual Financial Statements and Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) returns.
11. Play an influential role in the finance agenda within the HE sector; including contributing to positive relationships with national HE bodies (Office for Students, Higher Education Statistics Agency, enterprise bodies, British Universities Finance Directors Group etc.)
12. Provide the financial lead on major capital projects and strategic projects aimed at commercial growth, supporting senior colleagues in developing costing, pricing and capital investment strategies.
13. Work to deepen the level of financial acumen of leaders and managers across the University and embed a finance business partnering approach, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship whilst still ensuring that appropriate financial controls are observed.
14. In having overall responsibility for all key finance functions, including procurement and payroll, work with other key VCE members and stakeholders to ensure the provision of high quality, effective and efficient finance services to staff, students and other stakeholders.
15. Develop and maintain investment, borrowing and tax planning strategies, including in respect of activities undertaken outside the UK, maintaining key associated external relationships.
16. Building, leading and motivating a successful and engaged team of professionals; driving improvements in capability, diversity and resilience of the team; ensuring that local strategic and operational plans are aligned to the University’s strategic framework and corporate objectives.
17. Work collaboratively with key senior stakeholders, including the Chief Performance Officer, Deputy VC Academic, thematic Pro Vice-Chancellors and Executive Leads to ensure collective success and achievement of financial systems, procedures and internal controls
18. Lead on the implementation of standard financial processes across the function and the creation of a continuous process improvement culture that seeks to drive the greatest efficiency; identifying and adopting new technologies as they emerge.
19. Ensure that diversity and inclusion are integral to the culture and activities in areas of responsibility and across the University.
20. Contribute flexibility in undertaking any other responsibilities commensurate with the role and as assigned by the VC from time to time.
· Good honours degree or equivalent.
· CCAB or equivalent financial qualification
· Evidence of continuous professional development.
· Excellent strategic leadership skills with experience of leading, motivating and developing a diverse team to deliver an effective and efficient service; with a strong track record of building capability and developing people
· Experience of leading a range of financial or commercial activities, as well as successfully leading financial planning and forecasting for an organisation.
· Experience of operating as a senior analytical finance professional, with credibility across all aspects of the finance agenda – particularly in relation to financial management
· Experience of providing oversight for annual audit / review and managing relationships with external auditors.
· Experience of identifying and managing direct and indirect tax exposures, both in the UK and internationally.
· Proven experience of identifying, assessing and appropriately managing financial business risk.
· Track record of successfully facilitating progressive financial system and process development in a financially complex organisation.
· Commercially astute, technically accomplished and able to demonstrate high level financial analysis and management skills. Credible with a high level of integrity and a strong negotiator.
· Creative thinking and the ability to use financial and wider performance analysis to promote transparency and challenge the status quo.
· Knowledge of due diligence techniques and practices to support strategic investments / divestments.
· Excellent strategic ability focused on the delivery of outcomes and adopting an optimistic and pragmatic approach to solve problems; with the ability to make decisions that are in the best interest of the University in a complex environment, often with competing objectives and priorities.
· Highly effective, proven change management skills.
· Proven effective project management skills and experience in project costing
· Excellent communication, networking and influencing skills, with the credibility to engage with and influence senior academic staff and other diverse range of internal and external stakeholders.
· Agility and resilience necessary to deal with demanding workloads and deadlines. Business requirements
· Empathy for a not-for-profit provider of Further Education and Higher Education
· Highly flexible and able to travel on business when required.
· Leadership or management qualification or evidence of leadership ability through high quality internal / external development.
· UK Higher Education sector experience.
Skills, knowledge and abilities
· Knowledge of UK HE sector trends and innovations, as well as its funding and financial landscape.
· Understanding of the governance arrangements for charities in general and UK universities in