Role details

Financial Assurance Manager

Oxford   •   £45,066 - £52,219   •  Permanent

Bullet points

  • Financial Assurance Manager - Flexible
  • The University of Oxford

About Our Client

The University of Oxford is a complex and stimulating organisation, which enjoys an international reputation as a world-class centre of excellence in research and teaching. It employs nearly 12,000 staff and has a student population of over 22,000.

The University's annual income in 2014/15 was £1,429.3m. Oxford is one of Europe's most innovative and entrepreneurial universities: income from external research contracts in 2014/15 exceeded £522.9m, and more than 100 spin-off companies have been created to date.

Oxford is a collegiate university, consisting of the central University and colleges. The central University is composed of academic departments and research centres, administrative departments, libraries and museums. There is a highly-devolved operational structure, which is split across four academic divisions, Academic Services and University Collections, and University Administrative Services.

The Financial Assurance team is responsible for providing assurance that the University's financial processes and controls are adequately designed and operating as intended. This requires the development and maintenance of an in-depth understanding of the University's activities and expertise in assessing and mitigating the financial risks faced by the University. Financial Assurance is developing a full suite of risk-based assurance maps, covering all the financial processes and controls operating across the University. Working closely with colleagues in divisions departments and the Finance Division, Financial Assurance aims to be an approachable, authoritative and expert partner, ensuring process excellence and contributing to the University's strategic and financial objectives.

Job Description

You will be responsible for providing assurance over the University's financial processes and controls. You will report to the Finance Operations Board, the Audit & Scrutiny Committee, and University Council on the adequacy and effectiveness of the University's system of financial controls. You will be required to drive compliance with the control framework within the University's highly-devolved financial organisational structure. The role requires strong communication skills, acute insight into the challenges of mitigating the risks and costs of a devolved structure, and demonstrable expertise in dealing with financial risks, processes and controls. You will be an expert source of specialist advice and regular reporting to senior management across the University on financial assurance and compliance. You will be required to innovate and to seek financial process excellence across the University in support of the University's objectives.

Key responsibilities will include:

1, Taking responsibility for ensuring that the University has effective arrangements for the provision of assurance on the design and operation of the University's financial controls and processes. In particular:

  • developing recognised reputation and expertise in financial control matters and being able to provide expert advice and to contribute to the development of University-wide policy and processes, including the development of new financial processes and systems;
  • challenging the design and testing the effectiveness of financial controls and making proposals for improvement, including the design and implementation of automated controls and data assurance techniques;
  • obtaining and maintaining an in-depth understanding of the University's activities, in particular those that pose the most financial risk, and using this understanding to develop a risk-based programme of work each year;
  • having responsibility for ensuring that all recommendations arising from financial assurance work across the University are implemented in departments, divisions and services, to ensure continuous improvement;
  • identifying themes and ensuring a joined up approach to the development and implementation of improvement and training plans, encouraging process excellence; and
  • operating and maintaining a complete suite of risk-based financial assurance maps, applying the three lines of defence model in response to risks within all financial processes and controls operating across the University.

2, Ensuring compliance with financial processes and controls throughout the University. In particular:

  • working with departmental administrators, heads of department, divisional financial controllers and other finance, administrative and academic staff in divisions, departments, services and subsidiary companies to hold units to account for compliance with financial regulations, processes and controls;
  • establishing networks to generate collaborative solutions and to drive process excellence across the University;
  • being an approachable and authoritative source of expertise for colleagues with financial responsibility across the University;
  • liaising effectively with Internal Audit on a regular basis and with External Audit as required to ensure their work is complementary to the work of Financial Assurance and that any issues and/or observations arising from their work are adequately followed up; and
  • attending, and reporting to the Finance Operations Board, the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, subsidiary company boards and other bodies as required on assurance over financial processes and controls.

3, Taking full line management responsibility for the Financial Assurance team (two specialist assurance staff plus administrative support), to include:

  • planning and prioritise the work of the team to ensure that deadlines covering all areas of responsibility are met;
  • supervising the work of the individuals in the team, including ensuring that the work is of sufficient quality and produced within appropriate timescales and that the workloads are reasonable, while allowing for flexibility in providing ad hoc assurance support as required;
  • setting objectives and key performance indicators for Financial Assurance, identifying risks to achieving these objectives, developing a plan to tackle the risks and monitor progress against these;
  • obtaining feedback on the work of the section from divisions, departments and services and undergoing an effectiveness assessment on a regular basis;
  • providing guidance and support, leadership and holding personal development reviews; and
  • ensuring appropriate career development and training opportunities are provided for staff.

The Successful Applicant

  • education to degree level or equivalent work experience;
  • accounting qualification such as ACA, CIMA, ACCA, CIPFA;
  • several years' experience in a range of accounting functions, including internal audit or financial controls;
  • proven experience of managing a project or a team, and providing leadership and direction;
  • strong technical skills together with the ability to deal sensitively with key issues and gain the confidence of senior University officers and accounting professionals;
  • proven ability to develop effective and constructive working relationships with academic and administrative members of the University (including at the most senior levels), with external Committee members, and with external advisors;
  • ability to identify issues proactively and to develop creative solutions, with a strong sense of purpose and the ability to influence senior academic and administrative staff across the University and to bring complex matters to conclusion;
  • proven experience of managing change and working with empathy and cultural understanding, with willingness to adapt and take into account the views of others; and
  • high levels of personal effectiveness, particularly co-ordination, organisation, and the ability to focus on achieving deadlines, ensuring that timetables/project plans can be met.

What's on Offer

Competitive package

Flexible working hours - This role could be for a full time, term time or part time candidate.

Apply for this job

Click the Apply or LinkedIn button below or contact Anna-Marie Tucker on +44 1865 208 780 quoting job reference 13713825
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