Head of Financial Accounting and Operations

This job has now expired
Fixed Term Full Time
£75,000 per year

Our aim is for everyone in the National Church Institutions (NCIs) to feel that they belong, and are valued for who they are and what they contribute. Together, our people contribute in different ways towards our common purpose, whichever NCI they work in and whatever their background.

The National Church Institutions (NCIs) are national administrative bodies that work together to support the mission and ministry of the Church of England. Their activities are hugely varied, ranging from management of a multi-billion-pound investment fund, to a grant-giving charity, a housing service for retired clergy and the administration of four multi-employer pension schemes.

The Finance & Resources department is a shared services function working across the NCIs to provide a comprehensive, cost-effective finance service to each organisation, and helping to co-ordinate joint projects where appropriate. The Finance team is undergoing significant change, in-step with the changing needs and ambitions of our NCI clients.

As Head of Financial Accounting and Operations, you will have the opportunity to support our team to embed new roles and responsibilities following a recent restructure, and to adopt two new key business systems due to go live in the year (Payroll/expenses and Housing management).

You will have oversight of the statutory reporting for four multi-million pound charities, their trading subsidiaries, three multi-employer pension schemes, a common investment fund and a number of other smaller entities. You will also lead the delivery of customer-focussed, efficient transaction processing and cash management services within a robust control environment.

You will be a credible financial accountant (CCAB qualified), able to hold your own in a technical accounting environment, but you will also be an operations specialist with experience of designing and implementing new systems and processes to improve efficiency. You will be passionate about delivering best practice and growing a high performing team.

With excellent interpersonal skills and the confidence to develop effective relationships with stakeholders and promote collaborative working across the Finance team and the wider department, you will ensure high standards of service for our customers.

This post is offered on a fixed-term contract expected to last for 1 year.

You will be based at Church House, Westminster, London although currently, employees are working remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions.

For further information and to apply, please contact Peter.OSullivan@hays.com

Interviews will be held w/c 25th January 2021 remotely, using Zoom.

In return we offer a unique environment with opportunities for continuous learning, generous annual leave for work life balance, season ticket loans and a range of benefits including discounted entry to attractions and what we feel is a market leading package when it comes to our pension scheme.

The Role

Pensions Board and National Society Lead Client Director

Act as Lead Client Director for the Pensions Board and National Society

  • Ensure the delivery and appropriate presentation of the Annual Budget for the Pensions Board and National Society
  • Oversee the production of appropriate, high quality financial information and analysis for Boards and sub-Committees as needed (including Pensions Board Trustee Board, Housing Committee, National Society Council, and National Society Finance and Investment Committee)
  • Work with the Finance Director and Deputy FD to support the Pensions Board long term financial planning processes (including the review of the long-term financial model, reporting in relation to debt financing)

Financial Accounting

  • Manage the Financial Accounting and Control team to deliver statutory accounts and associated Board and Committee reporting for all entities in line with applicable timetables and regulatory requirements
  • Keep up-to-date with relevant legislation (including but not limited to UK GAAP, Charity SORP, Pensions SORP etc.) and best practice external reporting, to ensure that NCI statutory reporting is best-in-class
  • Provision of guidance and technical accounting support as required
  • Manage the relationship with external auditors and other professional advisors

Transaction processing & cash management

  • Ensure financial systems and processes are well-documented, including ensuring that financial controls are well-designed and implemented
  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement, identifying ways to drive efficiency through redesign and development of financial processes, implementing new solutions where applicable
  • Develop, maintain and agree service level definitions for transaction processing teams
  • Identify and report on appropriate key performance indicators to monitor compliance with service level agreements and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Promote a culture of excellent customer service, understanding the different requirements of NCI clients and ensuring that their needs are met by teams across the department
  • Ensure effective cash management, including the development and production of relevant cash flow forecasting and reporting as required by each entity
  • Manage short term investments, including identifying opportunities, producing relevant analysis and reporting, and ensuring compliance with treasury policies

Internal controls and compliance

  • Ensure all income and expenditure (including capital expenditure) is correctly accounted for within a robust control environment
  • Management of the balance sheet, including reporting against budget/forecast, and completion of relevant control procedures such as balance sheet reconciliations
  • Ensure the smooth, well-controlled and timely delivery of month end and year end close, working across the Finance team to develop and improve this in line with best-practice methodology
  • Develop and deliver compliance reporting to ensure adherence with financial control procedures and data quality requirements, including for example, reporting on retrospective purchase orders, staff and volunteer expenses, corporate credit cards etc
  • Ensure Finance policies are fit-for-purpose, including but not limited to Journals, Expenses, Corporate Cards, Anti-fraud, bribery and money-laundering, Gifts & hospitality etc. ensuring these are reviewed and updated regularly
  • Promote enhanced financial literacy and financial accountability across the organisations, undertaking relevant training in key areas such as fraud awareness, accruals accounting, best practice approach to purchase ordering etc.

Collaborative working

  • Promote strong relationships with the Finance Business Partnering team, ensuring that financial and management accounting services are delivered to customers in a joined-up way, fostering effective communication across the Finance team
  • Work with the SAP team to ensure that the finance system is being used effectively, including taking full advantage of available system functionality and ensuring that data structures (including the chart of accounts and reporting hierarchies) are optimised to facilitate effective internal and external reporting
  • Work with the Head of Procurement to improve data quality in the Finance system, in relation to both expenditure and supplier record management, providing analysis of key spend areas and facilitating the identification of potential opportunities for savings
  • Act as operational finance lead on cross-functional / pan-NCI improvement projects
  • Maintain effective working relationships with the wider Church, including looking for opportunities to expand and improve upon the service offered to the NCIs and beyond


  • Deputise for the Director of Finance as required
  • Build performance of the team, supporting development of individuals, planning and delivering goals and targets, delivering change and communicating effectively
  • Undertake relevant business continuity planning and risk management activities for the core operational aspects of the Finance team
  • Promote effective working relationships with key internal and external stakeholders, the latter including Bankers, External Auditors and other key suppliers

The Requirements



  • Excellent IT skills including advanced Excel and data manipulation skills
  • Able to analyse information and extract pertinent information for management
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Well organised and able to manage competing priorities and tight deadlines
  • Ability to work calmly and effectively under pressure
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative approach; able to achieve cooperation and results from others whether or not directly managing them
  • Good communication skills both written and oral, able to communicate effectively with member level committees
  • Proactive, self-motivated and enthusiastic
  • Excellent technical accounting skills
  • Strong finance system skills, with a good understanding of data structures and chart of accounts optimisation


  • Experience gained from working as a financial accountant covering all aspects statutory reporting for a large organisation
  • Up-to-date knowledge and experience of reporting under relevant accounting standards including FRS102, Charities SORP and Pensions SORP
  • Staff management and leadership experience, with the ability to deliver results; able to motivate and empower staff members and to provide appropriate support to enable others to succeed
  • Good understanding of best practice financial processing techniques and up-to-date with relevant technology solutions
  • Demonstrable experience of implementing and improving financial systems and processes
  • Experience of leading change
  • Experience of producing reporting at CEO and Trustee Board level


  • CCAB or equivalent professional accounting body qualification


  • Willingness to work in excess of contracted hours to ensure completion of deadlines


  • SAP experience
  • Experience of housing sector
  • Experience of investment accounting
  • Project management experience

We in the National Church Institutions support the mission and ministries of the Church all over England. We work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.

Excellence, Respect, Integrity

We follow these three values in everything we do, whether we are of Christian faith, another faith or no faith. To learn more about working for National Church Institutions and our benefits, please click here

As a Disability Confident Leader, we actively look to attract, recruit and retain those of you who are disabled.

As a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, we welcome applications from those of you who have served in our Armed Forces and their families.

We are committed to being an equal opportunities employer and to ensuring that everyone, job applicants, customers and other people with whom we deal, are treated fairly and not subject to discrimination. We will do whatever is necessary to provide genuine equality of opportunity. We continuously review our policies and processes to support our aim to create a workforce as diverse as the nation the Church of England serves..