Research Finance Supervisor

Birmingham, West Midlands (GB)
£28,762 to £31,411
02 Dec 2022
End of advertisement period
02 Jan 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

Research Finance Supervisor
Research and Strategy Services
Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK
Full time starting salary is normally in the range £28,762 to £31,411, with potential progression once in post to £35,333
Grade 6
Full Time, Permanent 
Closing date: 2nd January 2023

Our offer to you

People are at the heart of what we are and do.

The University of Birmingham is proud to have been a part of the City of Birmingham and the wider region for over 100 years, and we are equally proud to be recognised as a leading global university.  We want to attract talented people from across the city and beyond, support them to succeed, and celebrate their success.

We are committed to helping the people who work here to develop through our sector-leading Birmingham Professional programme which provides all professional services staff with development opportunities and the encouragement to reach their full potential.  With almost 5,000 professional services jobs in a wide-range of functions in Edgbaston and in our campus in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be able to develop your career at the University.

We believe there is no such thing as a typical member of staff and that diversity is a source of strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation, and debate.  We warmly welcome people from all backgrounds and are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is at the heart of who and what we are, and how we work.

Supporting our people to achieve a healthy work/life balance is important both to our employees and to the success of the University and, depending on the role, we offer a variety of flexible working arrangements. We therefore welcome discussions on all forms of flexible working.  In addition, you will receive a generous package of benefits including 40 days paid holiday a year, one paid day a year for volunteering, occupational sick pay, and a pension scheme. We also have three high quality subsidised day nurseries.

The University is situated in leafy Edgbaston and there are excellent transport links to our beautiful campus, including main bus routes and a train station on site.  On campus we have a state-of-the-art sports centre with pool, shops, places to eat and drink, our own art gallery, museum and botanical gardens.

Find out more about the benefits of working for the University of Birmingham 

By 2030 Birmingham will be one of the world’s top 50 leading universities. To support this exciting vision, we are creating a new Research Strategy & Services Division. This will deliver world-class support to our researchers in a friendly and inspiring environment, that offers much potential for professional development. 

We now seek to make the following appointments within our research support function:

Two Research Finance Supervisors 

We are looking for individuals, regardless of sector background, with transferable expertise and knowledge to work with us to create a Division that is first in class. If appointed, you will have the opportunity to be thrive in a motivational and innovative team – collaborating with great people and in an environment that encourages professional development and progression.
Candidates are asked to note that the roles will be located on campus a minimum of three days a week.

Role Summary
The postholder will carry out the following roles and responsibilities including:

  • Providing a key communications point which offers advice and resolutions regarding a range of research related financial matters to Budget Centre staff (including Academic, Academic Related, and Professorial).
  • Providing financial management and administration relating to research grants and contracts, maintaining appropriate systems records, invoicing funders in accordance with contracts, handling regular correspondence and dealing with queries.
  • Providing executive support to senior members of the Team.
  • Engaging in ad hoc tasks within the Research Finance team

In addition to these hands-on financial administration responsibilities, the postholder will also assume supervisory responsibilities within the Research Finance Post Award-team, including:

  • Dealing with and resolving queries/complaints
  • Line management of up to two Research Finance Administrator(s) within the post award team
  • Assisting Research Finance Team Leader with checking and approving large value final expenditure statements to external funding bodies.
  • Engaging with Academic and Research Support Services colleagues to ensure the efficient administration of research accounts

This role will offer the postholder an opportunity to develop leadership, coaching and influencing skills, and success in this position could provide a stepping stone to a career in more senior team leadership and management roles.

Main Duties

Financial Administration 

  • Financial management and administration of research accounts across a full range of funders including complex charity, overseas, commercial and government funded initiatives. This requires specialised knowledge of funder financial rules and regulations to ensure that the income to the University is maximized.

Duties include:

  • Ensuring that invoices and claims to funders are sent in accordance with the terms and conditions of contract in a timely manner and resolving any related queries.
  • Resolve contractual issues, ensuring that contracts do not unduly disadvantage the university’s cash flow position or represent undue risk. This involves discussion and agreement of payment terms and the VAT status is correct via the Contract Officer It may also involve liaising directly with external Funder and the VAT accountant.
  • Provide challenge when required regarding budgets/spend and change requests, securing buy-in for decisions as appropriate
  • Understand and disseminate key financial issues to non-finance experts
  • Advising and liaising with the PI regarding all new staff appointments and extension of contracts for existing staff.  .
  • Arrange and manage project audits and liaise with external auditors through duration of audits
  • Investigate, manage, assess and process complex information from a variety of documentation to resolve queries and provide information and guidance to grant holders and external funding bodies
  • Continually looking to improve and develop systems and procedures to enhance service and outputs


  • Responsibility for the line management of up to two Research Finance Administrators
  • Setting performance standards and objectives for the Research Finance Administrator(s), ensuring that a culture of delivering a high quality service to academics and other stakeholders is maintained
  • Conducting regular one-to-one review meetings with the Research Finance Administrators, providing feedback and coaching to help the individual improve skills and overall performance
  • Conduct the Research Finance Administrators’ annual Performance and Development Review (PDR)
  • Contribute to Research Team Leader group and wider team management discussions, making recommendations for improving the efficiency of our processes and devising action plans to deliver best practice performance standards
  • Submit final expenditure statements and ongoing claims to ensure these are being submitted in a timely manner as  per funder terms and conditions to ensure no financial penalties to the university or loss of funding
  • Review at regular intervals the status of accounts within your remit and ensure all tasks have been completed, for example, income received on the project Liaise with Research Finance Administrator to discuss corrective action.
  • Manage the team workload between individuals through discussions with the Research Finance Team Leader
  • Deputise for Research Finance Team Leader, for example during periods of annual leave or sickness absence

Other duties

  • Be an active part of a team, set a positive example of embracing a flexible approach to working, share best practice and contribute to team morale and motivation
  • Communicate to others within Research Finance changes to funding landscape i.e. funder T&Cs
  • Deal with correspondence and queries, acting as subject matter expert on financial matters, award policies and procedures
  • Ad-hoc jobs for the Research Finance Team Leader, Research Finance Manager and wider RSS Management Team

Person Specification

Must have clear credibility among peers and customers, in the form of a consistent and demonstrable track record of outstanding performance.

Good understanding of the skills required to manage, motivate and develop team members and potential to progress into more senior people management roles

Must be numerate and have excellent general computer skills, the ability to manipulate data in Excel, and an understanding of how to interpret management reports 

Excellent personal organisation skills and a proven ability to priortise tasks effectively in order to cope with a high volume of work and still meet demanding work deadlines

Excellent communication skills and proven ability to provide an exceptional support service by responding to requests from internal and external customers promptly and professionally.

Some relevant formal training (such as AAT, other Finance/Accountancy/Business qualifications) would be preferred but is not essential

Formal management or supervisory experience is not essential for this role, which is expected to offer the post holder a first formal step into line management responsibility and will be looked up to in their current post as a role model.  Applicants will have proven maturity and professionalism and be someone who peers would recognize and respect as a manager.  You will be expected to demonstrate an appreciation of the key competencies required by an effective leader and coach, and any relevant supervisory or mentoring experience (for example-delegated responsibilities from a Team Leader as part of PDR development objectives) would be highly advantageous.

Informal enquires to Lyndsay Kirby, email:

View our staff values and behaviours here

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.