Supporting the Head of Tax and Treasury managing the University's tax challenges
Main focus on buildings, private-public partnerships and overseas partnerships.
About Our Client
The University of Oxford is a diverse and stimulating organisation, which enjoys an international reputation as a world-class centre of excellence in research and teaching. It employs over 10,000 staff and has a student population of over 22,000.
Most staff are directly appointed and managed by one of the University's 130 departments or other units within a highly devolved operational structure - this includes over 6,500 'academic-related' staff (postgraduate research, computing, senior library, and administrative staff) and over 2,700 'support' staff (including clerical, library, technical, and manual staff). There are also over 1,600 academic staff (professors, readers, lecturers), whose appointments are in the main overseen by a combination of broader divisional and local faculty board/departmental structures. Academics are generally all also employed by one of the 38 constituent colleges of the University as well as by the central University itself.
Our annual income in 2016/17 was over £1,400m. Oxford is the top ranked University in the world, in the Times Higher Education ranking in 2016/17 and has long been one of Europe's most innovative and entrepreneurial universities: income from external research contracts exceeds £450m p.a., and more than 60 spin-off companies have been created.
The Finance Division is responsible for providing advice and information on financial matters affecting all departments, divisions and subsidiary companies at the University of Oxford. Our mission is to provide sound financial advice and timely information to academics, researchers, administrators and other stakeholders.
The Tax Team is part of the Finance Division that supports departmental accounting functions to ensure accurate tax compliance and reporting, and to effectively manage tax risk. It also provides an information and advisory service to the University community that will include new building constructions, research activities, major projects, investments, overseas issues and trading subsidiaries. Oxford University Press operates with a high degree of autonomy but is part of the whole legal entity that is the University and which shares common tax reporting.
The University operates under a Partial Exemption Special Method agreed with HMRC to fairly attribute input VAT with outputs and to determine the level of recoverability. This reflects the variety of different supplies that the University makes, and which includes large amounts of exempt education and non-business grant funded research. Costs relating to non-recoverable input VAT are partly mitigated by the reliefs available for medical research and supplies that are closely related to education.
We use tax engine within Oracle Financials Release 12 we are looking to further strengthen our VAT accounting processes to provide a consistent approach to determining the correct accounting treatment across a wide range of transactions.
Critically, the importance of tax to the financial sustainability of the University is increasing rapidly as a function of the need to renew infrastructure and as a function of the increasing threat to tuition fees and research income posed by the current political environment. The University has an ambitious multi-year capital programme which will result in capital expenditure of well over £1bn with significant implications for tax; equally, private sector and international interest in pursuing joint ventures in research and healthcare is growing rapidly.
For more information please visit http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/finance/
Main duties and accountabilities:
The role is responsible for a wide range of activity which has a significant financial impact on the University.
- Ensure that the a tax strategy covering the tax affairs of the University and its subsidiary remains appropriate and is agreed by OUP and the University's Finance Committee;
- Under take early stage tax planning on a range of projects initiated across the University, providing input and advice to senior managers on tax, risk and compliance issues;
- Responsible for ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations; promoting compliance internally and identifying areas of weakness, proposing solutions to strengthen controls and implementing them
- Working closely with the Head of Tax and Treasury to promptly address areas of material non-compliance and/or risk, if discovered; proposing solutions to address them;
- Proactively engage with HMRC to ensure the University is compliant, own the relationship with HMRC and any other relevant tax authorities; Develop good working relationships with HMRC to ensure there is a smooth, effective and productive relationship;
- Develop, maintain and continually review the University's partial exemption methodology to optimise VAT recovery and ensure compliance;
- Responsibility for VAT returns (including partial exemption calculations, Capital Goods Scheme calculations, Intrastat, EC Sales Listings),. The post holder would be expected to oversee the completion of the University's Corporation tax returns, and other tax returns
- Engage with departments to ensure internal controls are adequate and promote tax compliance across all University processes and systems;
- Strengthen tax reporting to monitor tax liabilities, compliance and risk and to ensure that executive management is informed;
- The role will have overall responsibility for the management of the tax team.
- Manage and prioritise the work of the tax function and be responsible for managing the performance and development of the team. Ensure that the tax function stay s abreast of tax developments within the sector, develops relationships and contacts across the BUFDG tax network, and with professional advisors.
- Promote awareness and understanding of tax issues across senior management and their representatives, creating close and collaborative relationships to ensure significant issues or opportunities are identified and acted on at the inception of a research, building or overseas development;
- Develop a wide network across the multiple professional disciplines within the University to understand and enable early interventions into projects, proposals and business plans where there are tax implications. In particular with Estates, Research Services and the Academic divisions;
- Source, procure and manage the use of external tax advisors to ensure the University obtains best value from its advisors, uses them sparingly but appropriately, devising tight briefs, managing the advisors to ensure they meet the University's business needs;
- Developing and delivering training, training materials and communications, to promote awareness of tax issues at all levels across the University;
The Successful Applicant
- Degree educated ACA / CTA qualified accountant
- Experience in a partially exempt environment, or a large charity or a large not for profit organization;
- Experience of working with, and influencing senior management including at Board level;
- Experience of coaching and developing teams to achieve high performance;
- Experience of leading cultural change beyond direct reporting lines through stakeholder management and influence;
- Substantial in-depth knowledge of indirect tax;
- Good understanding and knowledge of direct taxes;
- Ability to communicate complex technical matters to non-technical experts;
- Process improvement and change management skills;
- Experience of, and a creative approach to, problem solving and responding flexibly to change and outstanding organisational skills;
- Experience of delivering to deadlines and of taking responsibility and ownership of projects;
- An ability to work independently, using own initiative and discretion;
- Excellent IT skills - expert in using the Microsoft Office suite of software;
What's on Offer
Competitive salary + USS Pension Scheme + 30 days holiday (exclusive)