Assistant Director, Financial Planning and Reporting

Durham, United Kingdom
£64606 - £79147 per annum
09 Jan 2020
End of advertisement period
09 Feb 2020
Contract Type
Full Time


Grade 10: - £64,606 - £79,147
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Unposting Date: 09-Feb-2020, 11:59:00 PM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences.  We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe.  A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential.  Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.  It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

The Department and Role Purpose

The Finance Department's role is management of the University's financial business.  We aim to support the University in achieving its strategic goals to be financially sustainable and responsible.

Our objectives are:-

  • To provide high quality financial management, advice and support.
  • To ensure financial compliance and accountability.
  • To run effective and efficient services for financial transactions.

We promote and support effective financial management throughout the University.  We work proactively to enable the University to continuously improve its financial performance and the value for money it offers to its students, customers and funders.

The purpose of the role is to oversee the following facets of the University's Finance Department.

  • Capital management and reporting
  • Compliance monitoring and covenant reporting
  • Finance business partnering
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Forecasting and financial modelling
  • Investment and endowment reporting
  • Management reporting
  • Statutory returns
  • Treasury and investments

The Assistant Director will lead the Financial Planning and Reporting Team and will drive analytics that focus on supporting strategic financial planning and the long term financial sustainability of the University.

Working directly with the Senior Team, this position will play a pivotal role across all areas of financial planning, assessment of investment decisions, and development of success criteria.

Reporting to the Finance Director, you will work closely and build relationships with senior stakeholders across the business including Heads of Faculties and Colleges.  You will have operational ownership of all areas referred to above and be responsible for the development and maintenance of models, forecasts, reports and Key Performance Indicators to create an integrated reporting framework.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Provide professional and strategic leadership for significant areas of the organisation with accountability for the development and delivery of business plans and outputs.
  • Have a substantial impact on departmental direction, strategy and objectives.
  • Contribute to strategic planning and influence the development of departmental goals.
  • Lead, direct and manage the interrelationship of a team of managers and/or highly qualified professionals across the area of responsibility.
  • Review and address departmental performance and make a significant impact upon longer-term improvements typically within a one year timescale.
  • Lead through appropriate consultation or negotiations, organisational changes to tackle major new issues and situations.
  • Utilise problem solving skills to implement robust solutions to department/service issues.
  • Develop workforce plans and identify talent priorities to ensure the recruitment and retention of highly competent and professional staff.
  • Lead or contribute to internal and external business meetings, working groups and committees at departmental or functional service level to influence the governance, policy and standards for the service.
  • Accountable for budget within area of responsibility.
  • Influence and shape the available resources as appropriate to meet the current and future needs of the University.
  • Deputise for more senior manager where required.

Role Responsibilities:

Analysis and Reporting

  • Explore ways of improving efficiency and effectiveness and promote improvements in value for money through provision of customer orientated analysis and reporting.
  • Monitor performance over time within area of responsibility and identify areas of improvement, developing and using appropriate key performance indicators including financial efficiencies and operational effectiveness.
  • Maintain a continuous review of quality and of external benchmarks to promote the best possible service.
  • Manage the production of accurate and meaningful management information across the University to inform strategic decision making.  Responsible for the production of annual University level budget and forecasts.

Planning and Organising

  • Develop and lead the implementation of strategies and plans for the area of responsibility, or specialism, driving forward organisational change.
  • Contribute to the development and delivery of departmental strategy and policy, including the annual service plan for own area and wider finance.
  • Plan, institute and lead projects and initiatives which have significant resources and impact.
  • Required to forward plan over a significant timescale (typically up to one year) and includes establishing departmental or service priorities, with a particular ongoing focus on the automation of manual processes.

Finance/Resource Management

  • Undertake and ensure financial plans are developed, that services operate effectively within budget for the department/team and contribute to the Finance department planning process.
  • Review, assess and consider efficiency opportunities, recommending and implementing changes, as appropriate.
  • Explore innovative methods of improving efficiency and effectiveness and promote value for money.
  • Contribute to the Finance Department annual financial plan and monitor in area of responsibility.

Customer Service and Liaison

  • Ensure that a customer centric approach is taken, agreeing, communicating and monitoring clear service levels for all stakeholders.
  • Maintain clear and effective operational management to deliver agreed customer services.
  • To seek out feedback about area of responsibility and accordingly amend procedures and behaviours to improve the service offered.
  • Work with senior colleagues from all areas of the University, with committees and external bodies, providing high level advice.
  • Represent the University externally in sector groups in consultations and negotiations.

People Management

  • Exemplify and promote the University values.
  • Lead and manage staff in a major departmental area or service grouping, developing and raising performance through mentoring and coaching.
  • Motivate, assess and reward of employees as required under university policy.
  • Ensure that within the team there is a clear understanding of how finance operations interact and influence wider finance processes and reporting.

Continuous Improvement

  • Instil a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Lead and encourage continuous review of departmental quality and of external benchmarks to promote the best possible service.
  • Explore opportunities and automate processes through the introduction of new technologies.


  • Work closely with senior managers within the department and across the University, to ensure any proposed changes in reporting are consulted upon, clearly communicated and any impacts assessed.
  • Undertake day-to-day interaction with people of any level, within or outside of the organisation.

Any other reasonable duties as required.

Recruiting to this post

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification.

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.  

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/
which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out in the person specification.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.          

Contact details

For further information please contact Modaser Choudhary; finance.director@durham.ac.uk

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our E-Recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required


Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).

Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.

Strong interpersonal skills including motivational, negotiating, influencing and networking nationally and internationally.

Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.

Professional practitioner with specialist knowledge and expertise used to influence events and activities within the organisation.

Continuing professional development required to maintain professional recognition.

Extensive experience of operating at a strategic / expert level for a sustained period of time.

Awareness and understanding of the activities, objectives and strategic direction of the university, both current and future.  

Well-developed knowledge of systems/services for own area and across functions and how they relate to the University Strategy.

Breadth of vision gained from extensive experience in field of expertise.

Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.

Ability to anticipate change due to changes in the economic, social and governmental and/or technological environment.

Experience of developing innovative solutions and practical implementations for strategic change.

Extensive knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.

Well-developed understanding of regulations and procedures and the implications of non- compliance on other staff.


Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience).

Post-16 qualification (or equivalent experience).

Experience of managing and controlling substantial budget/resources/funding and an understanding of financial management procedures.

Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to influence perceptions of the University.

Demonstrable ability to provide specialist advice and influence others at operational at strategic levels.

Track record of cross-functional management and development experience and/or an enhanced management qualification applied across a large service team or teams.