Appointment of the Director of Finance


Our university has a deserved reputation as a vibrant, ambitious and successful institution.  The investment of over £260M into the estate has created a truly astonishing environment for students and staff, in the heart of our city. Birmingham itself, with its five universities and 65,000 students is the ‘youngest city in Europe’ with under-25s accounting for nearly 40 percent of its population. With 50 percent of our students from a BAME background, we are proud of how we represent and positively impact this wonderful city and with Sir Lenny Henry as our Chancellor, we are truly the University for Birmingham.

Whilst we have invested significantly in our estate, finance has been a key element of our investment in technology.  In November 2018 we went live with a new Oracle cloud finance system, and a new payroll system followed earlier this year. The new finance system has been a catalyst for releasing potential and transforming the way the Finance Department works, moving to more business partnering and enhancing our customer service.  The new Director of Finance will bring passion, leadership and experience to embed new ways of working and take staff on the journey with them as we realise the benefits of the university’s investment in our Finance Department.

Financially we are robust and sustainable.  The continued growth of Birmingham with the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and the High Speed 2 rail links in 2026 mean that we expect the university to continue to grow and as such, we need to invest to continue to meet the needs and ambitions of the city and wider region.

I’m looking for a Director of Finance who is technically strong, but also understands the value of, and can demonstrate, strong values-based leadership skills to inspire and develop the people in the Finance Department.  You will also need to be adept at stakeholder management and able to influence across the organisation.

There are some significant challenges ahead for the sector, with the prospect of changes to university fees, Brexit, ongoing pension pressures and a host other issues that will come along.  But this is a strong university, with a new finance system, serving a thriving and growing city.  Add in an inspirational Director of Finance, and imagine what we can achieve.

David Wilkin
Chief Finance Officer


With around 24,000 students from 80 countries and 2,800 members of staff, Birmingham City University is a large, diverse and increasingly popular place to study. We put students at the heart of everything we do, giving them the best opportunities for future success.

The University has an enviable reputation for providing quality, student-focused education in a professional and friendly environment. Our superb courses, state-of-the-art facilities, first-rate staff, and focus on practical skills and professional relevance is producing some of the country’s most employable graduates.

We’ve invested £260 million in our estate over the last five years, including a major expansion of our city centre campus at Eastside, providing students with an enviable range of facilities.

Financially we have a good track record of delivering surpluses and strong cash generation.  Overall levels of borrowing are low compared to sector benchmarks and the majority of our estate is relatively new.

Our values

Our staff and student community is defined by our core values, which outline who we are as a University and how we will work with each other.

Our core values are:

Excellence, People focused, Partnership working and Fairness and Integrity.

Our mission
“To transform the prospects of individuals, employers and society through excellence in practice-based education, research and knowledge exchange”.

Our vision
“To be the leading university for creative and professional practice inspired by innovation and enquiry”.

We define our role and place in higher education through four characteristics which underpin what we do and how we do it:

We focus on practice so all students have Practice Intelligence (the capability to learn from experience and apply it to all future practice).

All courses include practice, practical experience and learning through practice; we command credibility and respect from the professions and our curriculum anticipates their changing needs.

Our research and knowledge development are applied to practice.

Creativity and enterprise
We promote the value and application of creativity and enterprise skills in all areas of our staff and students’ work.

Creativity and enterprise skills and capabilities will be distinguishing features of all Birmingham City University graduates.

Student Engagement
We seek high levels of student engagement so our students have a sense of ‘ownership’ in their University.

Our focus is student success and we believe they have a major role to play in shaping what the University does to ensure this.

Click here to view our Core Values Framework.

The role

Director of Finance

Faculty/ School/ Department: Finance
Responsible to: Chief Finance Officer

Job Purpose

Determine, develop and deliver a full range of finance and reporting services that are consistent with the University’s strategic plan and corporate objectives, cover all aspects of the University’s business and meet the needs of the Department’s customers and stakeholders.

Main activities and responsibilities

  1. Provide overall leadership and management of the Finance Department, developing and implementing its strategic plans which are consistent with and support the University’s financial strategy.
  2. Encourage and support the development of all finance staff ensuring they have personal development plans, a good understanding of finance operating plans, and understand how they contribute to the University’s corporate objectives and mission.
  3. Support the Chief Finance Officer on all aspects of strategic planning, risk management, financial management, budgeting and the deployment of resources.
  4. Plan, co-ordinate and oversee the management and development of the University’s financial systems in accordance with University priorities and service standards that are established industry best practice.
  5. As a member of the University’s senior team, play a strategic role in the corporate management of the University, engaging in the strategic planning process, providing financial management advice, and supporting and ensuring team understanding of corporate and departmental direction and objectives.
  6. Lead the provision of financial planning support and direction to major University developments and activities.
  7. Ensure effective and consistent business planning methodologies for assessing new University activities which enable proper evaluation of opportunities and risks.
  8. Develop and maintain the integrity of the University’s financial procedures, processes and systems including maintaining the University’s Financial Rules, keeping them under review and proposing changes to the Audit Committee.
  9. Lead or participate in cross University committees, working groups or project teams as may be required including preparation, attendance and presentation of papers to the University’s Finance and Audit Committee and Board.
  10. Work with relevant senior stakeholders to ensure that the University’s methodology for the distribution of resources remains fit for purpose and is understood at appropriate levels across all business areas, proposing improvements to enhance the integrity and use of the methodology.
  11. Develop and implement the Treasury strategy.
  12. Prepare the Group’s Financial statements.
  13. Develop and implement the University’s value for money strategy.
  14. Manage the University’s procurement function.
  15. Ensure the University and its subsidiaries maintain the highest standards of financial probity and control.
  16. Ensure the University complies with all tax regulations.
  17. Develop and promote a clear understanding of the needs of the University’s business, motivating all finance staff to deliver excellent quality customer-oriented services across all business areas. Promote a culture of continuous improvement and deliver value for money.
  18. Develop and maintain effective working relationships with stakeholders throughout the University at all levels.
  19. Support and engage in the University’s drive for transformation.

Additional key requirements

Managing People and Resources

  • Leads corporate finance teams.
  • Acts to resolve conflicts within or between teams.
  • Oversees the application of the University’s model for distributing resources.
  • Leads financial planning.


  • Undertake complex negotiations on behalf of the University.
  • There is a requirement to explain complex and technical matters in a way that can be understood by non-technical specialists.

Teamwork and collaborative working

  • Works with key internal/external partners and stakeholders, and represents the University effectively across key networks.
  • Ensures that corporate finance teams collaborate positively and work effectively with other faculties and departments across the University.
  • Plays a full role as a member of the University’s senior team.

Initiative, problem-solving and decision making

  • Provide expert advice and guidance on policy matters within and outside the Finance Department.
  • Influences University policy on financial and resource management and planning.
  • Assimilates analyses and interprets complex information to inform own decision making and influence others.
  • Works autonomously under broad direction from Executive.

Work environment

Ensure that the University’s Health and Safety Policy, safe systems of work and appropriate risk management processes are operational within own areas of responsibility.


  • A recognised professional accounting qualification (CCAB/CIMA or non-UK direct equivalent).
  • Experience of leading and managing a finance department in a large complex organisation.
  • Substantial experience of working with and influencing senior management including Board level.
  • Strong people management and change management skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills including motivational, negotiating, influencing and relationship building.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience of managing and controlling budgets, resources and funding.
  • Experience of developing innovative solutions and strategic financial planning.

Able to demonstrate:

  • In-depth understanding of financial management procedures.
  • Ability to assemble and interpret complex financial reports and legislation.
  • Ability to communicate technical and complex matters in a way that can be easily understood by non-technical specialists.
  • Ability to negotiate and coherently present the University’s case.
  • Advanced analytical problem-solving capability.

Special requirements
Able to undertake duties at different premises including any University campus as required. Travel will be necessary to effectively support the Universities interests, attend conferences and events and effectively represent the BCU in key networks.

Expected to work such hours as needed to meet the requirements of the role.

Expectations of all staff

Professional standards
All staff employed by Birmingham City University are expected to exhibit high professional standards which promote and demonstrate the University’s core values of Excellence, People Focused, Partnership Working, Fairness and Integrity.

Equal Opportunities
All staff are expected to understand and enact the University’s commitment to ensuring equality and diversity in all activities. This commitment is enshrined in the Equality Statement and core values.

Dignity at work
Every member of staff has a responsibility to ensure colleagues are treated with dignity and respect.

The University is committed to creating a work environment for all staff that is free from harassment, intimidation and any other forms of bullying at work, where everyone is treated with dignity, respect and professional courtesy.

Health and safety
The arrangements for meeting the University’s health and safety objectives are contained in the Birmingham City University Health and Safety Policy. This includes the responsibilities of key staff and procedures covering the main activities of the University.

All staff are expected to take reasonable care of themselves and those that may be affected by their actions.

Dress code
The University does not operate a formal dress code for its employees, other than for those who are provided with uniform and/or protective clothing. However, employees must ensure that their dress is professional, reasonably smart and appropriate for the situation in which they are working. All staff should ensure that they present a professional image and one that reflects sensitivity to customer perceptions. This may reflect their ethnicity and lifestyle, but should not be provocative or cause offence to those with whom they have contact.

All staff are expected to adhere to good citizenship, being generous with help and support to others, collaborating with colleagues and working for the benefit of the University as a whole. In particular working to provide a positive student experience and achieving excellence in all the University’s activities.

This job description indicates the expectations of staff at this level. Job descriptions are not exhaustive and you may be required to undertake other duties of a similar level and responsibility.

Terms of appointment

This post is offered on a full time, permanent basis.

The salary will be agreed with the successful candidate. In addition, the Director of Finance will be entitled to the following terms and conditions:

  • Pension Scheme Membership  
  • ‘Paid for’ benefits such as childcare vouchers, season travel ticket loans, cycle to work scheme  
  • Relocation in line with HMRC guidelines 

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an employment advisor to the University. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of 3 pages) outlining how you meet the points of the person specification.
  • Please include details of two referees, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.
  • We would be grateful if you would follow this link to complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ533.

The closing date for applications is noon on Friday 7th June 2019

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Ed Pritchard on +44 (0)203 457 0948 or Imogen Wilde on +44 (0)7864 652 633.


Closing date: Friday 7th June 2019
Longlisting: w/c 17th June
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: w/c 24th June
Final Panel Interviews: 15th July TBC