Role details

Head of Research Accounts

Oxford   •  Permanent

Bullet points

  • Leading a key function within the Finance Division at The University of Oxford.
  • Reporting into the Deputy Director of Finance and managing a large finance team.

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 over 11,000 staff and has a student population of 22,000.

The university's annual income in 2014/15 was £1.4bn. Oxford is one of Europe's most innovative and entrepreneurial universities: income from external research contracts exceeds £520m p.a., and more than 100 spin-out companies have been created.

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.

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Finance Division / Research Accounts

The Finance Division provides advice and information on financial matters affecting all departments, divisions and subsidiary companies of the University of Oxford. It comprises a range of financial operations: accounting services (including payroll, payments and tax), financial assurance services, financial planning and analysis, financial reporting and systems, pensions, procurement, research accounts and treasury.

The University has a world-class research base supported by around 700 external research funders and held across 120 research-active departments. Research income in 2014-15 was £522m. The Research Accounts team works closely with Research Services and the University's academic departments to oversee the financial management of the University's 5,000 research grants on Oracle Financials, the University's finance system.

Research Services is responsible for pre-award grant administration while Research Accounts manages post-award administration which covers raising claims, invoices and statements to research funders, managing research debt, reporting on the financial aspects of research and ensuring departments meet financial assurance requirements.

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Job Description

Reporting to the Deputy Director of Finance you will lead this key function within the Finance division and be responsible for providing outstanding leadership in the delivery and continuous improvement of the financial management of Oxford's research projects.

You will be expected to resolve complex or high-profile issues. This will entail forming effective working relationships both internally with departments and externally with research funders and research bodies.

You will personally develop and support the Team to build strong, effective networks externally, with counterparts in the University's major research funders, key research collaborators, statistical bodies (especially HESA), and throughout the Russell Group, and seek to influence policy and practice at Oxford and sector-wide to ensure well-coordinated, cost-effective financial management of research.

You will provide leadership and strategic direction for 21 Research Accounts staff, which will entail working closely with all members of the team to ensure work-loads are appropriately distributed, standards of excellence are applied and service levels achieved across the board.

Key responsibilities will include: -

  • Working with the Director of Finance and other senior officers, including Research Services, to develop University policy in research accounts management.
  • Developing strategies to ensure that the University maximises its grant income and takes full advantage of grant costing regimes including Full Economic Costing
  • Attending meetings of the Research Committee and, in consultation with colleagues in the Finance Division and Research Services, identify, contribute and consult on items for discussion or information.
  • Acting as key contact for grant claim protocols including Research Councils, industrial partners, the European Commission and charitable bodies.
  • Working in partnership with the Divisional Financial Controllers, to provide leadership to the Academic divisions and departments to ensure that Divisional Administrators follow policy and procedures in all Research Accounting matters.
  • Overseeing the efficient handling of a high volume of often complex research projects.
  • Ensuring uniformity of practice and standards in the management of research accounts and studentship grants.
  • Overseeing the provision of a full research accounts management service across the University as well as ensuring the provision of timely and accurate information to support the preparation of the University's management accounts and financial statements.
  • Overseeing the research income component of the HESA return.
  • Overseeing the effective management of research finance audits, external and internal, including coordinating preparation for and hosting of audit visits and inspections and effective liaison on draft findings and any issues arising.
  • Being a key part in the development of the Oracle Grants Module and using the information to drive business change.
  • Working closely with the Research Services team to advance the streamlining of the Research administration process, ensuring an efficient end to end service is provided to departments.
  • Responsibility for all aspects of staff management and performance including the management and support of three operational Team Leaders.
  • Setting development plans and objectives and manage appraisals for all direct reports.

The Successful Applicant

It is critical that this individual will possess the following key personal requisites and selection criteria of: -

  • A University degree or equivalent.
  • A qualified accountant in a senior finance role, demonstrating technical skill, exposure to a complex accounting environment and with a proven track record of managing a finance team.
  • Strong financial acumen in order to operate effectively in an intellectually challenging environment.
  • High levels of personal effectiveness and a strong customer service ethos.
  • Strong communication, persuasion and listening skills as well as a sharp analytical mind and an ability to think laterally.
  • The ability to deal tactfully and sensitively with key issues, gaining credibility quickly and effectively across the University.
  • Computer literate with a strong IT understanding of financial systems (familiarity with Oracle would be beneficial) and experience of successfully implementing process improvements.
  • An awareness of the critical issues facing the higher education sector generally and in particular in connection with the academic-industry interface.

What's on Offer

Circa £65,000 + 18% Employer Pension contributions + 30 days holiday (excluding public holidays).

Apply for this job

Click the Apply or LinkedIn button below or contact Ryan Cooke on +44 1865 208 780 quoting job reference 13713260
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