Chief Financial Officer
- Leigh Academies Trust
- Rochester, Kent
- Highly attractive, negotiable (six-figure, plus performance bonus and private health care)
- 19 Jan 2023
- 10 Feb 2023
- Job Title
- Experience Levels
- Contract Type
- Full Time
Our mission is to ensure the best start in life possible for the young people in our academies and in doing so make the world a better place. Due to the retirement of the current postholder by the end of 2023 we are now seeking to appoint a new Chief Financial Officer to oversee all of the Trust's financial services and its annual income of £150m. This is a rare and exciting opportunity for the right candidate with a commitment to system-wide leadership. You will join our central executive team and report directly to the CEO and attend all meetings of the Board of Directors.
Two key documents which help to define our CFO’s position can be found below.
Trust Executive - Roles & Responsibilities
The key qualities we are looking for in our new CFO are as follows (more information can be found in the Person Specification further on in this application pack):
a. A passion for working in the education sector and making a significant contribution to improving the life chances of the children in our care.
b. Exhibits the highest standards of probity and integrity at all times.
c. Although not essential, a very good understanding of the education sector, including previous senior executive experience within a multi-academy trust.
d. Again not essential, but previous experience of working at a senior level with central and local government, especially in relation to education and/or other public services.
e. A strategic thinker able to produce clear, accurate and precise papers and advice to the CEO and board directors that enables effective decision-making.
f. Someone with a can-do attitude who sees finance as an enabler, not as a blocker, and is capable of thinking creatively and innovatively to solve problems.
g. Always able to put others and the interests of the wider organisation before their own personal ambitions.
h. Supportive and reassuring of other colleagues, seeing it as a key part of their role to enable others to be successful too.
i. Quickly inspires confidence at board level, amongst other senior executives and with a range of key external stakeholders.
j. Strong negotiating skills with national and local politicians and officers, plus private and third sector partners.
k. Produces high levels of engagement amongst his/her own team to ensure highly effective support and challenge to colleagues across the wider organisation.
l. Always calm, measured and well-organised, yet authoritative and decisive when required.
m. Able to work across a broad and diverse range of responsibility areas to support the CEO in the wider management of the Trust, acting as de facto deputy and “Chief of Staff” when required.
n. An excellent public speaker across a range of audiences.
o. Highly literate with an ability to synthesise and distil complicated and often contradictory information with relative ease.
About financial services in Leigh Academies Trust: LAT has a budget of more than £150 million per year and this is managed by the CFO who is supported by a central team of six and a team of 16 finance managers and 19 finance officers based in our 30 academies. The CFO line manages the central team and the academy-based team is line managed by the Deputy CFO. The whole team works collaboratively within an environment of professionalism, constructive scrutiny and challenge, coaching and support. The team is a mix of experienced school financiers, qualified and part-qualified accountants.
Each finance manager produces monthly management accounts which are reviewed by the central team and full annual forecasts of income and expenditure are produced termly. Finance managers lead on the preparation of budgets, working closely with academy Principals, with parameters and assumptions provided by the central team in line with Trust Board expectations.
The Trust uses IRIS Financials (formally PS Financials) for its accounting operations and all academies develop budgets using School Business Services (SBS) software. This enables a consistent approach to accounting and budgeting, supporting the central team with consolidation. Financial controls are regularly reviewed by the Trust’s internal audit partner and statutory accounts are audited by a separate external partner. The Trust’s most recently published accounts for the year ended 31 August 2021 are available here. The Trust has achieved a clean external audit with no negative observations for each of the last four years.
Naturally, we are seeking to appoint the best possible candidate and therefore the application process will reflect our desire to undertake all necessary measures to achieve this.
Suitable and interested candidates are invited to discuss the role in the first instance with our Chief Executive Officer, Simon Beamish, by arranging a telephone call or a visit. A further follow-up conversation can also be arranged if requested with our current Chief Financial Officer, Steve Avis.
- Your application letter should be structured around the key requirements of the role as set out in this application pack, providing relevant examples from your career to date which demonstrate why you are a suitable candidate for this role All documents/material must be submitted electronically in one application All fields must be completed as part of the standard application format Additional documents such as a CV, supporting statement, letter of application, etc can also be uploaded
Please ensure that a minimum of two referees are included in your application - your referees will be contacted on the basis that you have been shortlisted and invited to interview, unless you specifically request otherwise. Due to the senior nature of this role, suitable referees include senior executives and board directors.
Closing date for applications Friday 10th February 2023, 9.00am
Shortlisting committee Friday 10th February 2023, afternoon (successful candidates informed afterwards)
Interviews and assessment activities Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd February 2023*
* We request that all shortlisted candidates make themselves available on both days. We do not envisage that all shortlisted candidates will be taken through to day 2. Those who are will be required to attend for one full panel interview only at a time provided at the end of day 1.
All applications will be acknowledged on receipt.